Sunday, 30 December 2012

December Blog

Man of the Match Dean Lewington

AFC V MK Dons 2-1 Sunday 2 December 2012
The first game of the month was the much anticipated match against the team from Kingston upon Thames formed in 2002 after the FA had given permission but not made mandatory the move to MK. AFC were started by over two thousand fans of Wimbledon FC who protested at the moves announcement.

The game was as we thought full of inaccurate articles in the press and media with dates of the AFC formation changed and a general MK Dons bashing was the easy lazy journalistic view of the whole move to Milton Keynes by Wimbledon FC in September 2003.

Little mention anywhere of the FA commission report or Sam Hammam the Crystal Palace twelve year ground share or the fans that did actually follow the club to MK.
No surprise the fact was not mentioned anywhere that Wimbledon directors owned MK City back in the eighties and were thinking of moving the club back then when even then Merton council were showing the club they did not want then in the borough.
At least Winkelman finally stood up for himself and said the club was in administration for seven weeks and he wondered why AFC never bought the club.

With the recent outcry over press lies about Hillsborough and phone hacking and the BBC cover up over Jimmy Savile I took the view that I would rather we were not the
darlings of the press and media and also that we are never going to be popular with them but who care's.
MK Citizen

With various AFC trust members and fans working for or friends with the press they are always going to win any media war.
But as residents of Milton Keynes we are used to being knocked and having bad press and I think that may have had a major influence on the sell out of home ends.

What did annoy me though was the vandalism that happened at the stadium and despite MK Dons emailing AFC some of the Kingston clubs officials put it down to rumours.
They also refused to refer to us by our full name(so I wont them).
Picture from MK Citizen

We all saw the pictures of the vandalism and a simple apology for the minority of their fans behaviour would not be seen as a softening of the hatred they have for the people of Milton Keynes but merely a condemnation of vandalism and football hooliganism generally they could have even worded it that way but they chose not to !

The game itself was played in the right way the players were professional and manager Neil Ardley acted with dignity in defeat as did the majority of the AFC fans.
It was a game between near top of league one and near bottom of league two so the 2-1 result was perhaps no surprise.

It was not one of the MK Dons greatest performances and judging by their league place probably one of AFC better one's but we hung on and ground out the win.

It was one of the strangest games I have ever been to, outside before the game the atmosphere was very tense but not that aggressive I have been at more aggressive atmospheres put it that way back in the bad old days of eighties.

I found it more a case of people walking on egg shells I never saw fans of either team talking to each other although not a member I know and spoke to the M.K.D.S.A Chairman John Brockwell who said he had been to the away end and welcomed the AFC fans with no problems and some even shook hands with him ,he was a braver man than me that's for sure.

I was surprised at the amount of fans AFC brought nearly their average home gate and whilst grateful of the money they spent I could not help but think it was hypocritical of them to come after the years they have been calling on other fans of other clubs to boycott us and in fact even persuaded their tenants at Kingsmeadow the FSF to call for boycotts in the National Hockey Stadium days despite FA and FL giving move all clear..
The teams lined up and were watched by former Wimbledon directors Reg Davies and Peter Cork still directors here at MK ,MK Dons 4-2-3-1 Martin a former Wimbledon player, Otsemobor who's heel of god goal will live in our memory for ever, Kay, Williams, Lewington former Wimbledon player(c); Potter, Gleeson who scored a screamer; Bowditch, Chadwick, Balanta (Ismail 66); Lowe (Smith 80).
Subs: McLoughlin, Kouo-Doumbe, MacDonald, Chicksen, Sekajja.
Goals: Gleeson 45, Otsemobor 90
AFC : Sullivan a former Wimbledon player , Osano, Long, Harrison (Strutton 72), Midson, Moore (Johnson 81), Fenlon, Gregory (c), Antwi, Mambo, Ajala.
Subs: Jaimez-Ruiz, Mitchel-King, McNaughton, Djalali.
Booked: Moore, Midson, Ajala
Goal: Midson 59
Referee: Scott Mathieson Attendance: 16, 459 With 3030 away fans.

Brentford 3-2 Dons
The next game up was away to Brentford a team who had been in a good run of form.
It was always going to be tough and after the FA Cup game the team looked out of sorts and we needed all of them to be on form.

Sadly on the day Ishmail had to be subbed early to save him getting sent off.

Balanta and Powell were having bad days Potter didn't seem to get into the game and when Semi got injured we had used all our subs the draw we deserved was not to be and we conceded a last gasp goal.

Lowe got a welcome goal and Gleeson again got on the score sheet Martin made some good saves but the Bee's were quick to punish any loose balls or mistakes we made Donaldson being the pick of the Brentford players and Lewington the M.O.T.M for the Dons.

We slipped down to sixth still in the play off spot and still within spitting distance of automatic spots.

Not a disaster as a point was all most of us thought we'd get but the point would have been easier to take.
The teams lined up
Brentford: Moore, Forshaw (Reeves 77), Craig, Dean, Douglas, Donaldson, Logan, Forrester, Diagouraga (Kiernan 62), Trotta (Hodson 90), Bidwell.
Subs: Lee, Saunders, Dallas, Hodson, Hayes.
Booked: Bidwell
Goals: Donaldson 43, Forrester 71, Donaldson 90
Teams lined up
MK Dons 4-2-3-1 Martin, Otsemobor, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Ismail (Powell 25), Chadwick (Smith 77), Balanta; Lowe (MacDonald 77).
Subs: McLoughlin, Kouo-Doumbe, Chicksen, Sekajja.
Booked: Ismail, Chadwick
Goals: Lowe 15, Gleeson 53
Referee: L Collins Attendance 5833 445 Dons fans

MK Dons 1-0 Hartlepool
This was a game I thought we would win by a good three goals but my confidence was unfounded and we made hard work of it.

The first half we were totally dominant and should have gone in to half time at least two up but one clear goal was disallowed although I thought Lowe's goal looked offside replay's showed he was on.
Hartlepool Manager John " yogi" Hughes who said after game “We wanted to frustrate in the first half and have a go in the second.”
Defender Evan Horwood who limped off early in game.

Defender Darren Holden
The second half Hartlepool got more into the game and were nowhere near as poor as they were in the first and could quite easily have have grabbed a point but Martin again saved any blushes.

Balanta was again not having a good day and the normally reliable Gleeson by his own admission had a bad game Potter missed a sitter and the crosses Bowditch kept putting in nobody could get on the end of any of them Chadwick was the pick of the bunch and got mine and sponsors M.O.M award.

The attendance was 7,164 with just 111 Poolies who had only sold 25 tickets before matchday and had no supporters coach booked to arrive on the day those that bought on the day were most likely localish.

The referee was Roger East from Wiltshire an 8 out of ten Ryan Lowe scored on 16 we had no bookings but Pool had three Antony Sweeney 44 Jack Baldwin 65 the confusingly named Greg Rutherford not the MK Athlete 86 and we move up to 5th 2 points behind Tranmere.
Teams lined up
MK Dons 4-2-3-1 Martin,Doumbe, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c) Gleeson, Potter; Bowditch, Chadwick, Balanta (Ismail 61); Lowe (MacDonald 83).

Subs not used: McLoughlin , Smith, Chicksen, Powell, Sekajja.

Hartlepool United with some very familiar names 4-4-2 Flinders; Richards, Collins, Baldwin, Horwood (Holden 5); Franks (Poole 71), Sweeney, Humphreys, Monkhouse; Wyke (Rutherford 81), Howard.

Subs not used: McHugh (GK), Murray, Johnson, Boagey.

On Wednesday 30th the Dons played in the Berks and Bucks senior cup quarter finals under the control of player manager for the night Alan Smith we comfortably beat Aylesbury Unt 4-0 the goals came from Dan Powell, Charlie MacDonald and two from our England U16 midfielder Giorgio Rasulo and put us in the semi-final with Beaconsfield SYCOB.

Smith was given the role by Karl Robinson who watched from the stands and Alan was assisted by Ian Wright.

The side for this competition will be made up of youth players and more senior squad members in need of playing time although quite why we did not start Sekajja or even give him a run out puzzled me.

Meanwhile at Tamworth the Lambs George Baldock has been scoring goals and getting many accolades from the Lambs supporters who seem keen to extend his loan.

Charlie Collins was an unused substitute during the last match.

Before the Doncaster match I spoke to Jon Otsemobor about his goal in the FA Cup and asked him if was deliberate he laughed and said he knew the ball had pace on it and stuck is leg out to make contact but was not expecting it to go in I told him we called it the heel of god and they were making T shirts he said he had heard and was going to get one.

He also said he did not know much about the rivalry between the two clubs and that Pete Winkelman had talked to the players and told them how the move came about and given the players the history Jon said he remembered Wimbledon but was just a kid when they were in Prem and I felt very old and forget how young these players are and that they probably dont know much about Wimbledon FC as it was so long ago now.

The players were due to leave for Doncaster on Friday afternoon so had a light training session or so it was meant to be but Gleeson picked up a nasty ankle injury
and was carried off leaving myself and another fan to worry about the game twenty four hours longer than most of our fans, it was a nothing looking tackle, well not even a tackle just both players going for loose ball.

The game as we know was postponed due to the rain but it seemed very odd the way Rovers said there was to be no inspection yet the referee turned up early and called the game off at 12.30 just an hour after Rovers official site said the game would be on ! I thought surely the referee must have inspected the pitch to call the game off ? A lot of our fans were rightly peed off as they thought it could have been called off earlier as rain was forecast all day in Doncaster area I'm no weather guru but Id said to mates earlier I thought it would be off looking at forecast early morning.

I was further confused when I read on the Donny site "There was no planned pitch inspection, however when the referee arrived at the ground at his normal time, 11.50am, he went out to inspect the pitch and after consulting both managers decided to call the game off on the grounds of the players’ health and safety due to a rapidly deteriorating pitch with no sign of any improvement in the weather".

As we found out after the Doncaster non game the Gleeson injury was worse than even I thought having seen it happen. Also Chadwick had picked up an injury in an earlier training session that I was not at and both players were reported to be out for weeks and probably not till March.

Personally I think it will be the difference between going up and not as Chadwick is such an inspirational player and on his day Gleeson can be a match winner.

Potter has not lived up to last season's expectations and Williams is better and now more used to being a centre back and a I don't think they will or can fill the voids left by Luke and Gleeson.

My pre match thoughts were proved to be correct and I thought we missed both players in particular Chadder's and Potter and Williams as I thought did not fill the void.
Balanta again was well.. crap, he looked disinterested and I would not be sad to see him go back to QPR.

Powell just does not seem to get the balls that lead him to make those worrying for defender run's Chicksen Lowe Bowditch and my M.O.T.M Kay could not have been the player's Robbo referred to in his comments after the match when he said “It’s easy to pick on certain players but there was a few that weren't at the races today and didn't deserve to wear our shirt, it’s as simple as that and they won’t be again if they continue like that. he went on to say “I’ll make changes on Saturday. We’re a better side than what you've seen today and we've got plenty more gears. This is a bad day at the office and you won’t see that performance on the weekend.”

There was plenty of doom and gloom amongst the fans and I think without Chadwick and Gleeson we will not be in the automatic spots come end of April the team looked disjointed and tired especially after Walsall scored the second goal.

The defence rightly got the blame but it was mistakes and loss of procession in midfield that lead to the fragile defence being put to the test.
Walsall were not a very good team, yes a bogey team for us but one we should have beaten at home Brandy and Grigg took their goals very well but apart from that the saddlers only had about six shots on goal all game and they scored four of them.

A bad day at the office yes but I fear more to come even with Jon Otsemobor and Gary MacKenzie back in defence we move down into 6th place with a game in hand over most others.
Teams for the day Dons (4-2-3-1) Martin, Chicksen who you know will get dropped when Jon is back , Doumbe who seems to be Robbo's whipping boy and out of favour (Smith 73), Kay, Lewington who had a real off day (c), Potter, Williams, Powell (Ismail 59), Balanta (Bamford 46 who again limped off injured and seems destined not to feature much for us), Bowditch, Lowe.

Subs: McLoughlin, MacDonald, Smith, Alli, Sekajja who might as well go back to parent club as he ain't going to get a game for some reason.

Booked: Potter, Smith, Ismail

Goals: Lowe 6, Bowditch 31

Walsall (4-4-1-1): McCarey; Purkiss, Downing, Butler, Taylor; Westcarr (Cuvelier 71), Mantom, Chambers, Paterson; Brandy; Grigg the M.O.M for Walsall.

Subs: Grof (GK) Holden, Hemmings, Bowerman, Benning, Baxendale.

Booked: Brandy, Butler

Goals: Brandy 15, Grigg 25, 43

Referee: Stuart Atwell was from Warwickshire not bad missed a few and was a bit inconsistent 6 out of ten.

Attendance was 8,700 and 354 quiet for the most part away fans.
Winning manager Coventry's Mark Robins.

MK Dons 2-3 Coventry
The next game was against Coventry a team we drew 1-1 against back in October and a team I said back then would not be at the bottom end of the table (as they were back then)come end of season.
Also before the Coventry game I noticed that they had signed one of our academy prospects Leon Lobjoit quite how they managed to do that while in same league as us and without the attraction of being a big Prem club I don't know, but it is worrying that we are losing future prospects to rival teams on a "technicality" as Coventry OS put it.

The game had already sold over three and a half thousand away tickets the day before the match and Coventry had managed to climb the table to within a few points of us since our last meeting whilst we have been less than convincing in our last few games.

Losing to Brentford and Walsall and narrowly beating bottom of the table Hartlepool
I don't think many of us were feeling very confident especially knowing Chadders and Gleeson were out and Jon and Gary were still a week away at least in Gary's case.

As for the game I thought we looked a lot better than the woeful performance on boxing day and probably deserved a draw but two long or hoof balls if you prefer were our undoing along with some poor defending not having seen the replays I will go on memory alone and I thought at the time of the goals Martin was at fault for one could have done better with another but was let down by defence all three times.

Lewie again was at best average Williams looked lost for the third Kay was again my M.O.T.M and must have been fuming at his three teamates.
Chico had another good game but is often to far up field when opposition attack as is Lewie.
Potter seemed to be better but not at his best young Deli was a ray of sunshine on a gloomy rainy day and I again thought he did not look out of place a great prospect if we can hold on to him.

Powell was better, Bowditch guilty of too many wayward passes Ishmail came on to late I thought and when Balanta and MacDonald came on I knew the game was up.
Teams lined up
Dons 4-2-3-1 Martin, Chicksen, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c), Potter, Alli (Ismail 71); Powell, Smith who was solid and got his usaul yellow (Balanta 58 please go back to QPR), Bowditch, Lowe (MacDonald 78).
Subs: McLoughlin , , MacKenzie, Sekajja Ibra Robbo just don't like you mate go back to Palace.

Booked: Smith, Lewington so no surprises there then.

Goals: Powell 15 well taken , Lowe 27 back to his fox in box best !

Coventry City 4-5-1 which looked like our formation tbh: Murphy, Baker (c), Fleck, McSheffrey pretty much did what he wanted(Barton 79), Elliott really good game (O'Donovan 73), Jennings, Christie, Wood, Edjenguele do not mess with the big fella , Moussa who was quality to be fair and his goal was a joy to watch, Adams.
Subs: Dunn (GK), Clarke, Thomas, Cameron, McDonald.
Booked: McSheffrey
Goals: Moussa 27, Elliott 49, 51 from long balls as I remember

Referee: Andy Woolmer who was half decent 8 out of ten from Northamptonshire.

Goal-Don Goal: 1st goal – 14.51; 2nd goal – 26.38; 3rd goal – 37.46; 4th goal – 48.11; 5th goal – 50.16

Attendance was a brilliant 13,660 made possible by the excellant and very loud at times 4,988 Coventry fans.

With the addition of Ryan Harley from Brighton I think we can push on and at least be in contention for the second Auto spot, with the addition of a hungry keen to impress winger/forward (and we need to keep hold of Ishmail) I think there is still hope.
Realisticaly I think it will be play off's again but still a long way to go as they say.
The blog has now hit 8thousand views and 747 last month, despite only ever getting about six followers on twitter to retweet it lol
Happy New Year to everyone who reads the blog and especialy those who promote it most views are direct from google at the start of month so thanks to everyone for bookmarking or favouriting it.

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