Saturday, 29 September 2012

September Blog Part Two

The month of September so far up to the Yeovil game had been commented on a lot and on reflection there was almost a sense of mid season pessimism about our progress.
I was probably amongst the disappointed but not in the were doomed club, after the Glovers game I looked at the table and results and it did not look so bad ! six games in with ten points and only four behind the leaders who were not Bournemouth or Sheffield Unt as some had predicted.

In fact Bournemouth were nearer the bottom than the top of the table and that is with Harry Rednapp there giving his services for free .. allegedly.

So after the euphoria of the Glovers win had subsided and I was in more reflective mood I thought really the only bad result was Walsall, a draw at Bournemouth and the loss to Swindon over the season are probably the kind of results one would expect.
Of course the sore point is the red cards and I think that more than the results was what most of us were upset about.

The first game of the second September blog is the home game with Notts County a team who have spent a bit and seem to have a decent budget and are also ahead of us at this early stage in the league table they also have 29 players which is a big squad these days.

Looking at Notts recent past with Allen and Ince and now Curle it seems we have an old established set up with the same manager through their managerial crisis's in fact it seems like Robbo has been here forever.

The fact we are the youngest League club and they are the oldest in the world does seem to laugh in the face of the old traditionalists that say history is all in important , when you consider the recent problems Notts have had with the phoney businessmen and banks promising them Prem in three years the arrival of Sven and Sol and even hastier departure our grumbles about cladding and car parks seem quite petty.
The Infamous Lee Hughes arrives at SMK

The manager Kieth Curle arrived with the players but sat on the coach for over twenty minutes before getting off in fact I got bored waiting and went for a coffee I remembered Warnock did the same thing when he came with QPR and Curle who was his assistant must have learnt that off him lol.

The game itself was Id imagine for the neutral quite good Jamal Campelll-Ryce being the pick of the Notts players for me which was annoying as the BBC said he was unlikely to play.

Both teams had their chances and both keepers made crucial saves and overall Id say the draw was a fair result Notts seemed to be happy with a draw from the off with the keeper lucky to not be booked for time wasting we again were not clinical in front of goal and this is really the story of the season so far.

Karl said after the game much the same thing and that the boys got him out of trouble and reverted to a 4-4-2 with Lowe and MacDonald up front something the fans have been saying we should play for a while and especially on the road,so it was strange to hear Robbo say that for home matches! at home we have more room and if the 4-2-3-1 system was going to work that is where it would be most effective.
Notts star player Jamal Campell-Ryce

The teams lined up MK Dons 4-2-3-1: Martin; Otsemobor, MacKenzie, Kay (O’Shea 54), Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Powell, Williams, Chadwick (Lowe 64); MacDonald (Smith 81).
Subs: McLoughlin, Bowditch, Chicksen, Bullard.
Booked: Lewington, Potter ,Otsemobor and OS only listed two bookings !
Goal: O’Shea scored on 68

Notts County: Bialkowski, Kelly, Bishop (c), Leacock, Liddle, Judge, Zoko (L Hughes 78), Arquin (Showunmi 87), Labadie, Campbell-Ryce (G Hughes 65), former Don Regan.
Subs: Bencherif, Spiess, Wholey, Hollis.
Goal: Bishop 21
The OS didnt list the Notts bookings but BBC listed the appropriatly named LaBadie
I thought there was at least another booking but hey ho.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton who was average and not helped by his linesmen who missed a lot of offsides and saw a few non offsides as off.
Attendance: 7,121 with 650 away which was not too bad considering it was champions league night on the telly.

Next up was an away trip to bottom of the table Bury and we were all hoping for our first away win of the season.

In truth the Dons were never troubled by the Shakers and dominated the game throughout, there was a nervy few minutes after the never knowingly undersold John-Lewis (sorry couldnt resist)got a late consolation goal in the 80th minute
but when Bowditch scored just after we had played half an hour and Bury needed to come forward more the result was not in much doubt.

Bowditch then added two more goals second half to put the game to bed and I was then hoping for the clean sheet which never knowingly put the damper on.
Chadwick our top goal scorer not to be outdone grabbed an injury time goal to make the score 1-4 and take us up to fourth in the League at this early stage of the season.

Bury were managerless and bottom of the table but we beat them comfortably and thats all you can ask for.
But more importantly we have our first win of the season away from home and that is always a nice thing to get before heads go down and it becomes a monkey on the back.
The teams lined up
Bury: Carson who probably saved it from being seven , Skarz, Lockwood who was injured in clash with Charlie Mac(Marshall 39), Sweeney (Worrall 59), Schumacher (c), Carrington former Don was kept quiet, Sodje, Hughes, Jones, Healy, Hopper.

Subs not used: Byrne, according to OS John-Lewis which is strange as he scored, Elford-Alliyu, Cullen, Belford.
Goal was by John-Lewis on 81 even though he was an unused sub lol

MK Dons lined up 4-2-3-1: Martin; Otsemobor who pulled up injured on 45(Kouo-Doumbe , Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Bowditch was subbed to take the applause (Powell 71), Chadwick, O’Shea; MacDonald who got a gash that could not be stiched in time(Lowe 41).
Subs not used: McLoughin, Smith, Chicksen.

Chadwick the only booking.

Goal times were Bowditch 33, 55, 67, Chadwick 90

Referee was Mark Haywood who was for a ref pretty decent

The attendance was a lowly 2,321 with 179 Dons fans.
The game itself was Id imagine for the neutral quite good Jamal Campelll -Ryce being the pick of the Notts players for me which was annoying as the BBC said he was unlikely to play .
Both teams had their chances and both keepers made crucial saves.

Martin O'Neill signing Autographs for a couple of lucky fans.

On Tuesday 25th the much anticipated game with Sunderland was upon us and I have to admit that I did not think we would win this one.
Sunderland under Martin O'Neill put out a strong side and I think want to go as far as they can in the Capital One Cup and unlike some Prem teams O'Neill has respect for the League Cup as I still like to call it.

For Cup games I like to go in club red as a little treat to myself and while I was there I ran into Peter Leven who actually remembered me and said hello and he told me he was still living in MK and had been injured recently so had not been playing, he was there as guest of Gary McKenzie I said are you keeping him out of trouble and he laughed and said that's impossible ! before anyone gets the wrong idea it was a joke and Gary is quite the gentleman off the pitch.

Also floating about was Jabo but I never got to speak to him but he was not in Bury as some had suggested.

As for the game I thought we played well first half and did not look like a team two division below in fact I heard some reports from various media sources saying we looked the better team.

When Cattermole was sent off after just half an hour I thought we could win this and knowing that it was likely we would go two up front second half a cup upset was on the cards.

But then just nine minutes into the second half Gardner scored from a free kick that left second choice keeper McLoughlin rooted to the spot this seemed to be the catalyst for the Dons to fade from the game and despite changing the formation to two up front we never looked anywhere near as good as we did first half.

The second goal came and although did flatter the visitors we never looked like we were going to score but a one nil defeat would have reflected the game better I thought, we were not for the first time this season toothless in front goal and we really need to find someone who can take the chances we create personally unless we can get someone in on loan or buy in January Id play Bowditch up front.

So we are now out of the cup both JPT and League and await the FA draw though realistically it is not a competition we are ever likely to win or go past the fourth round in and will probably field a weakened team and concentrate on the League campaign.
The teams lined up
MK Dons 4-2-3-1 McLoughlin, Chicksen, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Powell (O’Shea 78), Chadwick (Lowe 62), Bowditch; Smith (MacDonald 62).
Subs not used: Burns, Kouo-Doumbe, Alli, Spence. Kay was booked.

Sunderland lined up Westwood,Rose, Cattermole (c), Kilgallon, Colback, Vaughan, Meyler, McClean, Saha, Sessegnon (Johnson 85).
Subs not used: Mignolet, Campbell, Wickham, Dong-Won, Fletcher, Egan. The captain Cattermole was sent off on 31 and Colback was booked the goals were scored by Gardner on 54 and McLean on 82 the referee was Stuart Attwell who I thought was pretty good to be fair.

The attendance was 10,489 bolstered by a very good turnout from Sunderland listed as 2,978 but looked and sounded more Sunderland have loads of fans in the South of England and a large supporter club in London but Id imagine a fair few travelled down from Sunderland as well.
Sunderland's Craig Gardner

Sunderland's second goalscorer James McLean.
Adam Chicksen Dons M.O.T.M just after getting the award.

On Thursday we were told that "Jabo Ibehre’s chances have been limited this season and that manager Karl Robinson felt it best to allow the 29-year-old to link up with the U’s on a 93-day loan, which will run until 27th December" we will play Colchester before his loan deal is up but Jabo will not be allowed to play I'll miss seeing Jabo around he was always cheerful and always said hello.

Rochdale trained at Woughton ahead of their game against Gillingham.

On the Friday before the Crewe game I was over at Woughton and managed to speak to Karl before the players trained he was still looking for players and I mentioned Jabo but he did not expand on the loan deal anymore than the OS had told us already.

Friday before a game is usually a light session with some shooting practice at the end, earlier in the week Karl had his windscreen broken by one stray shot and he had moved his car from its usual spot, Paul Heald was even more cautious and left his in the public car park.

Just as I was about to leave the Rochdale team turned up which was not that unusual as they have been here before and were using Woughton to train ahead of their game with Gillingham last time they came it was before their game with Crawley but it still seems weird seeing another team on our hallowed soil !

But as they say onwards and upwards and our next game and last of the month was against Crewe and I think Karl can put it far better than I could when after the game he said to MK News " the first half we were like Brazil, the second more like Bridlington".

It was the strangest game to watch as both halves were so totaly different.

Before the game we learnt we had signed signed West Bromwich Albion and Scotland U-21 midfielder (yes another International player )Scott Allan on a one-month loan deal.
The 20-year-old looked very lively when he came on and had a shot on goal which second half we seemed to be lacking.

Allan has made 10 appearances for Scotland U-21s and will be available for the games with Coventry City, Portsmouth, Preston North End and Stevenage before playing his last game away at Crawley Town on Tuesday 23rd October .
Sadly he could not inspire us to score again but I thought for a debut and considering he had only just met the team let alone train with them he looked pretty good.

To make matters worse after the goal drought against Crewe I heard that Jabo had scored twice at Colchester, I thought why could he not do that here we had again failed to capitalise on the numerous chances we created and were lucky to get all three points with Crewe hitting the post and Martin blocking a certain goal in a one on one situation.
Teams lined up
MK Dons (4-2-3-1) D Martin, Chicksen, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter got MOM, Gleeson, Bowditch, Chadwick (Allan 71), O’Shea (Powell 61), MacDonald got our first half goal (Lowe 82).
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Otsemobor, Kouo-Doumbe, Smith.

Crewe Alexandra A Martin, Tootle (Turton 79), Davis, Ellis, Clayton (Colclough 68), Murphy (c), Leitch-Smith (Pogba 63), Moore, Mellor, Robertson, Bond.

Subs not used: Garratt, Guthrie, Ray, Daniels.

Attendance: 11,037 with 768 away.

The Referee was James Adcock from Nottinghamshire who was one of the better ref's I have seen and I dont think he booked anyone either.

Anyway overal not a bad month we are up to third with seventeen points one behind Notts and just four away from Tranmere with nine games gone, not in the Auto spots but pretty damn close.

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