We started the New Year in 7th place in the league on 39 points and twenty five games played and I was hoping we could manage a draw at Notts County.
What happened was we got three points and moved up to sixth and back in the play off's on 42 points and the first goal of season the fifty to safety is nearly upon us though we are really looking beyond that and Auto.
At this stage I was still confident of play off's but dreaming of Auto's though like most fans that changes depending on results lol.
So the year had started well but what was encouraging was the defence held up, particularly in the later stages of the second half when we came under a lot of pressure Kay gave away a penalty after tripping Judge and the menace that is Campbell-Ryce slotted home the penalty.
Kay was again immense and got forward as well as being the rock in defence we are getting used to.
Only downside was Bowditch going off injured and we hoped it was not a bad injury.
This was a great win on the road after two defeats at home, the pitch was not great and we had not had the rest Notts had but we showed great character and deserved the win.
Before the game we had signed on loan from Brighton Ryan Harley as I mentioned in last months blog, Ryan's debut started well with a pin point cross to Potter which Darren duly dispatched
The teams lined up
Notts County: Bialkowski, Kelly (Showunmi 90), Bishop (c), M Smith, Liddle, Judge, Hughes, Campbell-Ryce (Zoko 79, Boucaud, Stewart, Iwelumo (Arquin 46).
Subs: Spiess, Mahon, Labadie, Bencherif.
Goal: Campbell-Ryce (pen) 56
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Chicksen, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Harley; Powell, Bowditch (A Smith 45), Balanta (Kouo-Doumbe 65); Lowe (MacKenzie 90).
Subs: McLoughlin, MacDonald, Alli, Ismail.
Goals: Potter 6, Powell 13
Referee: Graham Salisbury was from Lancashire another eight out of ten.
Attendance: 5,325 with 311 away fans.
Before the Notts game and the days following the talk was about Izale McLeod and the strong rumour he was coming back.
When Portsmouth announced he had been released the rumours turned into reports of sightings and then by 2nd January it was when are the club going to announce it.
I knew he has been at Woughton and on Thursday the third I went over to Woughton to find out that players were at stadium training so I headed over to the hotel where the players had finished the session and were heading off to Northampton.
I spoke to Izale and he confirmed he was cup tied but waiting to see if his five yellows would stop him playing in the next league game I think he was hoping that the cup game would count as his one game ban.
Lewie ribbed Izale and said he got booked for diving and he'd have to stop that here I said I cant believe Izale would dive ! and thought back to Lewie in last game when it looked rather like he went over easily in the Penalty area lol Izale seemed a lot more chatty than when he was here last when I think he was quite shy and I never found him arrogant back then as I have heard some say.
In so many games I have written how we dominated games but lacked the finish and Izale will hopefully get on the end of those killer crosses from Bowditch and Powell etc.
Patrick Bamford was expected to miss the final game of his loan spell and reports he will be out for five weeks probably means we wont see him again, Ibra Sekajja and Angelo Balanta returned to Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers respectively.
We had good news and as I hoped Zeli Ismail loan was extended (or rejoined whatever you prefer)until the end of the season including play off's.
The game itself was not the greatest to watch but there was always that excitement of snatching a goal and getting to fourth round, we had the most procession and out sung the home fans for the most part but again we did not get the all important goal.
Smith was the M.O.M. and we have to do it all over again at S:MK we played a sixteen year old and a fifteen year old due to our growing injury crisis and both did well.
Teams lined up
Sheffield Wednesday: Bywater, Buxton, Taylor (c), Antonio, Maguire (Johnson 68), Mattock, McCabe (Semedo 87), Sidibe (Madine 55), Prutton, Llera an ex Don.
Subs: Davies, Johnson, O’Grady, Corry.
MK Dons: Martin,Doumbe, Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Harley, Ismail (Deli Alli still just sixteen 67), Smith (MacKenzie 71), Chicksen; Lowe and 15 year old Rasulo 90.
Subs: McLoughlin, Galloway.
Referee was Michael Oliver who was okay 7 out of 10.
Attendance was 11, 463 with 1,185 very noisy Dons fans.
Frustrating,annoying,disappointing were the words (amongst some stronger) I would use to describe the performance against Bury who sat second from bottom before the game.
It all looked great early on when Dean Bowditch hit an early goal and we looked dominant before the goal and just after.
I really have know idea what went wrong afterwards and I have had a day to think about it! We seemed to not suit the formation I would not blame Izale as he had a reasonable game although did miss a tap in from a cross I thought he would get something on, to me the subs were brought on too late I thought Smith would have been better sitting behind Izale and Zeli should have come on earlier to make the runs down wing to feed Izale.
As the second half went on I could feel the eqauliser coming and Steven Schumacher duly proved me right with a sweet volley that Martin could not near.
Captain Dean Lewington was presented with a trophy before the game to mark his 400th league appearance but I think like the rest of us he will prefer to forget that game.
We named seven substitutes although no keeper was amongst them and we learnt Ian had gone on a months loan to Walsall I knew Burns the academy keeper had hurt his thumb and we were lucky Martin was not sent off after what looked to me a foul on last man luckily the worst ref this season saw it otherwise and penalised the Walsall player.
Martin made a superb tipping save which prevented Efe Sodje’s header from finding the roof of the net.
Sodje seemed to keep Izale quiet and was Walsalls M.O.M for me Powell was booked for diving which was harsh as he was tripped we again missed chances Kay’s shot was cleared off the line by some last gasp Bury defending and McLeod’s deflected looping effort struck the upright before rolling across the goalmouth.
John-Lewis (remember him)broke free on goal but sent it wide later on and Schumacher also missed a chance.
As Robbo said after the game "a case of two points dropped".
Dons: Martin, Lewington, Williams, Potter, Bowditch M.OM though tired toward end, Chicksen, McLeod (Smith brought on to late 78), Lowe, Powell (Ismail like Smith too late 78), Harley who looks better every game , Kay. Unused subs: Otsemobor, Doumbe, MacKenzie, Smith, Alli, Rasulo.
Goal by Bowditch on 15.
Booked: Powell, Bowditch.
Bury: Carson, Skarz, Worrall, Schumacher, John-Lewis, Sodje good game Walsall m.o.m , Hughes, Hopper (Jones 55), Thompson, Ebanks-Landell, Soares (Carrington our former player 90). Unused subs just Dibble, Wylde on a bench of just four.
Ref was terrible and named Fred Graham made a bad game worse with his petty pulling free kicks back missing the bleeding obvious and generaly bad decision making 3 out of ten as he was bad for both teams.
We had snow in MK the day before but not a great deal and we had heard the undersoil heating was getting its first workout so the game was not in doubt.
The game was quite an entertaining one with Llera providing the comedy.
At MK Dons we are usually happy to see returning players but Miquel bucked that trend by the most ridiculous act's of diving,cheating and failing to bully Alan Smith (who made him look more a muppet than he was)why Llera has decided to bring these tricks to his game I have no idea but it was awful to watch.
The Owls brought a strong side and wanted the win but the Dons defence held firm got some luck and kept a clean sheet.
John Gorman was again here to watch and is in far better health than when he left us last season and he must have been pleased with the youngsters like Powell and Chico who played well.
It was the Dons we love to watch that night and despite the distraction of Blackpool making an approach for Robbo before the game we won 2-0 and face QPR at Loftus Rd end of month.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1) Martin, made saves when needed Otsemobor back from injury bit rusty , Kay another strong game, MacKenzie knackered when he went off(Doumbe 71), Lewington (c); Potter, Williams; Powell who really should have gone down after he was tripped in the area but bravely or stupidly ! tried to score, (Alli 88), Smith who won sponsors and my M.O.T.M, Bowditch (Chicksen 78) Lowe.
Subs not used: Harley, Rasulo, Ismail.
Goals: Williams (pen) 28, Bowditch who won pen after his shirt was tugged 76
Sheffield Wednesday Bywater, Buxton, Taylor (c), Semedo, Madine, Johnson (Mayer 13), Mattock, Pecnik (O'Grady 55), Lee was the player who stood out to me (Antonio 62), Corry, Llera.
Subs not used: Davies (GK), Sidibe, Jones, Coke.
Referee was L Collins who was pretty good and not fooled by Llera's antics 7 out of ten as he did miss a clear booking of Semedo who got away with too much I thought.
The next game was an away against Crewe but it was snowed off so back to the FA cup it was.
As we know it was last season all over again as we drew Q.P.R for the fifth round in what was the furthest we have progressed as MK Dons.Queens Park Rangers 2-4 MK Dons
Last time round it was the fourth round we lost to a Gabbidon goal after a Wright-Phillips' corner but that replay was earnt after we were robbed at S:MK by an offside goal and a penalty not given.
As well as reaching the fourth round as MK Dons we took a record away attendance and in act sold our allocation.
Some fans moaned that the away fan ST and ST holders were not given first dips before tickets went on general sale, but even though I would have benefitted I thought due to the time involved between tickets becoming available and time to the game it was the right decision to go straight to general sale.
The game started in the best possible way when somehow the ball ended up in the QPR net at the time some said Lewie got a touch others reckoned it was an own goal either way the Dons fans were ecstatic QPR then went through a quiet few minutes before getting back into the game.
We were under a bit of presure but soaked it up and Martin made some good saves when Lowe broke free after a Kay pass and slotted ball home to make it two nil and it stayed that way till half time.
The second half started in spectacular fashion when on fifty minutes Lowe got down the byline and made a sweet cross to Harley who mereley had to slot home for the third and the Ryan to Ryan show was really having a great time.
But we were not finished there when Potter found himself through on goal to cooly slot home the fourth and there was an exodus of QPR leaving the ground and an hour had not been played.
Now as you know I dont usauly do match reports as such but this was an historic and cracking game so Im making an exeption for this game so excuse my ham fisted way of doing it.
QPR were not at the races after the second goal and with the fans on there back seemed to get worse yes they had made nine changes but this was a Prem team with some big names and cost a darn sight more than ours and also had the luxury of bringing on Bobby Zamora at four down.
After a great workmanlike performance Smith was replaced by new loan signing Chris Lines with fifteen minutes left and all Dons fans were thinking can we keep a clean sheet as well as go through to the fifth round !
Sadly it was not to be when Zamora found an unmarked Bothroyd who nodded the ball in with seven minutes to go.
Chicksen came close just after that and tried to lob the keeper but he took a knock before his shot and again a lesser player might have gone down in the box.
Zamora and Boothroyd continued to provide us with some scary moments when our academy product Deli Ali was given a run out against the Premiership outfit.
In the dying moments Da Silva got another one back and it was getting to be a nervious time but I was worrried unnecessarily as we went on to win the game and more history was made as we looked forward to the draw for the next round.
QPR (4-4-2): Green; Fabio, Ferdinand, Ben Haim, Traore; Mackie, Fairlin, Granero, Park (c) (Zamora 67); Campbell, Bothroyd.
Subs: Murphy (GK), Derry, Hill, Onuoha, Ephraim, Mbia.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Otsemobor, MacKenzie (Harley 20), Kay, Lewington (c); Potter, Williams; Bowditch (Alli 90), Smith (Lines 75), Chicksen; Lowe.
Subs: Kouo-Doumbe, Flanagan, Rasulo, Ismail.
Goals: Lewington 4, Lowe 40, Harley 50, Potter 56
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral) Attendance was 17,081 with a record Dons away crowd of 3155
In other news we said goodbye to fan's favourite Jabo Ibehre (who scored on his return to Colchester) and also to Jay O'Shea.
Charlie McDonald also left the club to go to Orient (where Jabo was rumoured to be a target).
We welcomed to the club on loan Ryan Harley from Brighton and Chris Lines from Sheffield Wednesday who we seem to have a lot of ex players from.
So it was back to the bread and butter of the league and a trip to Yeovil Id call them a bogey team but we seem to have so many of them I just wont bother.
There was a late pitch inspection as it had been raining heavily but the match was on.
We were now outside the play off's spots but with games in hand but a loss would mean even if we won the games in hand we would still be outside them.
The conditions helped neither team but Yeovil coped better and went a goal ahead when on loan Paddy Madden scored mid way through the first half Kay made it level after he converted a header from Harley.
Kay then went from hero to villain when he was sent off second half after a spat with Madden who then went on to score after what was seen by many to be a controversial red card.
Yeovil held on despite some pressure from the Dons but really it was another two points thrown away and the Auto spots can be forgotten and the play off's also are looking a bit dodgy as well.
Dons manager Karl Robinson told BBC Three Counties Radio:"I got told by an official today that I'm too honest and my players are too honest.
"Shaun Williams almost got his leg broken in the middle of the park, jumped back up and hobbled around. There wasn't even a booking for it.
"Izale McLeod got punched - twice. Luckily for us we've got fantastic video footage of all the incidents.
"I need to make sure there's some charge on my battery for when I phone the PGMO (Professional Game Match Officials) - whatever their job is - but you have a go at them and you get yourself done." Karl was not a happy man but I doubt anything will be done and I think he is feeling the pressure despit the good cup run he knows if promotion is not acheived this season his budget next will be cut and I think it will be bye bye Karl.
Yeovil: Stech, Ayling, McAllister, Webster, Upson, Hayter (Appiah 59), Foley, Madden, Burn, Dolan (Edwards 59), Dawson. Unused subs: Hinds, Blizzard, G.Williams, Stewart, Young.
Dons: Martin, Otsemobor (Smith 80), Lewington, S.Williams, Kay, Bowditch, Lowe (Lines 30), Harley (Doumbe 64), McLeod, Potter, Chicksen. Unused subs: Flanagan, Baldock, Alli, Ismail.
Attendance was 3,152 with 99 peed of wet and cold Dons faithful.
The rest of us are left wondering why it has all gone so wrong despite the players we have who I think are in the main as good as any in League one and many could fit in a championship side.
We all have our theories and some say we are too good for the league I can not quite see that but understand what they mean as the Football we play at times looks on another level.
But we dont play it for the whole game and shut off at times also we get caught by counter attacks after we have kept possession for long periods and do try to play the ball into the net, this coupled with fact we dont seem to be able to adapt to league one type football and fact we had strikers missing gift passes and chances means we are now a mile away from where we thought we would be.