Wednesday, 27 February 2013

February Blog

Jonathan Park from BBC Look East and Donovan Blake from ITV Anglia the rival channel Thursday before Barnsley game united on Valentine's day lol.

Dons 0-3 Bournemouth
The first game of the month was against Dorset's finest and a team we know has pots of money and a returning manager who I thought should never have left , at least not when and to the club he left for.

Eddie Howe is one of the bright young managers much like our own but with a promotion under his belt.

I was optimistic before the game but was hopelessly wrong about the outcome.
I thought we did play well for the most part and can not think of any player who had a stinker but for the two obvious culprits.

Otsemobor made a catastrophic back pass to Martin after we had decided to not push forward but go sideways then back.

Lowe then had a mad moment and deservedly got a straight red for an outrageous foul.

I spoke to Robbo at Woughton on Monday and he said Jon just did not see Grabban I did not talk about Lowe as enough had been said and written but Robbo said the players were happy and he was grateful to the fans for not turning on him, he seemed upbeat and we had a good chat about injuries the key players missing and how the season was panning out.

I did get impression he was feeling the pressure and when pressed on the money available to him he wouldn't criticize Winkelman and I felt there had been words between them and Robbo may have not had it all his own way, but I'm just speculating rather than going on anything I heard.

Gary Mac was training hard with Simon Crampton it was all a bit technical for me monitoring heart rate and how he was running and what his load ratio was etc and how many kilometres he had covered.

MK Dons lined up 4-2-3-1 Martin, Otsemobor, Doumbe (Smith 69), Williams, Lewington (c) Potter, Lines (Ismail 79) Bowditch, Harley, Chicksen (McLeod 46) Lowe sent off on 44 which really sealed our fate.

Subs not used: Flanagan, Baldock, Alli.

AFC Bournemouth 4-4-2 which seems to work for them ! Jalal,Francis, Cook, Elphick (c) (Ritchie 45), Seaborne; McQuoid (Hughes 79), Arter, O'Kane, Pugh, Grabban (Tubbs 87), Pitman.

Subs not used: Allsop (GK)David James did not travel for those interested , Partington, Fogden, Fletcher.

Goals: Grabban 9, Pugh 45, Arter 84

Referee: Mick Russell was from Hertfordshire
who I thought was okay 7 out of ten.
Attendance was 9,233 with 1,446 away fans considering the number were not that noisy.

We slipped to 10th and are 10pts from top 5 points from play off's.

Oldham 3-1 Dons

So it was off to relegation zone and manager less Oldham without a win in ten I thought if there was an away game we could win on the road it should be here.

But the doubts started when I saw the team selection.
Now I am no expert but I know from years of watching training that injured players usually take a couple of weeks of first team training to get back to match fitness depending on how serious the injury was of course so I was surprised to see Gary Mac start and Powelly to lesser extent.

I was also surprised to see Chadders on bench after only joining team on Monday for training.

Another shock was seeing McLeod on the bench now I was not at Woughton on Thursday or Friday so don't know if he had a niggle but I could not work out why he did not start.

After twenty minutes Barnard (who must be costing Oldham a pretty penny) put the hosts ahead we never looked like we were ever going to win the game as we just did not look very good, but that is a pattern we are getting used to.
Only now we never had that possession and lapse moments we just looked the second best team.

There was a brief moment of hope when Powell another returning injured player scored but the joy was short lived as we proved the old adage never more vulnerable when just scored correct and we conceded five minutes later.

Even the introduction of Chadwick was not enough second half and eight minutes into the half Iwelumo got the winner we pressed a bit and Williams came close and Izale missed a good chance and as before he has divided the fan base and misses like that will not help.

I have yet to make my mind up on Izale this time round but an Oldham fan on twitter Josh who writes a blog and knows his stuff reckoned we were better with Izale ! so I like to keep an open mind although I did think when it was rumoured Izale was coming here how he would fit into Karl's game plan.

After the game Karl apologised to the fans and in an unprecedented move and to the chairman as well.
Oldham Athletic 4-4-2 which like Bournemouth seemed to work for them Bouzanis, Brown (Byrne 90), M’voto, Tarkowski, Grounds; Croft (Furman 69), Wesolowski (c), Baxter, Obita (Taylor 87) Iwelumo, Barnard.

Subs: Cisak, Murray, Millar, Winchester.

Goals: Barnard 22, M’voto 44, Iwelumo 53 which prompted a comment Dons must be shit if he scored !

MK Dons 4-2-3-1 Martin, Otsemobor, MacKenzie, Williams, Lewington (c) Potter, Lines (McLeod 55); Powell, Harley (Chadwick 46), Bowditch, Smith (Chicksen 67).

Subs not used: Doumbe, Baldock, Flanagan.

Goal: Powell 39

Referee: D Whitstone (Northamptonshire)

Attendance: 4,094 (185 away)

I laughed when some of our fans said they predicted this up to a year ago(we were comfortably in play off spots with a lower budget) as I also remember some also predicted relegation and gloom three years ago when Robbo was appointed lol but we can all say we did when we did not or even just be doom and gloom and hope it comes true eventually.

Point is we all have views on what went wrong or is going wrong I think it is a combination of other teams doing better than expected also in an open division teams are somehow finding money to strengthen as they believe they have a decent chance this season more than other seasons and Robbo wont be given more money and has in fact had the budget cut during this season, having had to get rid of contracted players to bring in loan players.

We know Karl has not been given money from the FA Cup run but we also have to question the players Karl has brought in to replace those he has released ?

We also have to look at those around him and what they actually do when Karl is not at Woughton when manager type work at the Stadium means he is not there full session ?

We do not have a tiny budget probably about eighth start of season(although it is now 9th or 10th),others above us have a smaller budget put it that way.

So have events just conspired against us ? injuries at wrong time to key players ?
Is the squad now too small with release of Jay and Jabo and Charlie? Are the replacements not as good ?

Is Pete's obvious desire to complete stadium work effecting the team or has Pete decided this year is not our year and has stopped anymore funding ?
So many if and buts and conjecture ! Of course the stadium has to be completed this year to keep the council happy as part of the agreement but could Pete have done more ?

The more I look at what I write the more I realise I have not got a clue what if any of the reason's for the current plight are ! other than its probably a bit of all of them.

Doncaster 0-0 Dons

Next up was a trip to Doncaster and a game we needed to win to keep in with a chance of the play off's , who would have believed that play off's are now the dream and automatic is pretty much forgotten about.

The pitch was not a great help to our passing style ! thanks to the egg chasers and away fans have been moved this season to the corner rather than behind the goal due to low away attendances at Doncaster.

Pretty much all our players had the chance to score or so it seemed but the elusive goal never came (for either team) as the game played out to a nil nil affair.

Not a bore draw by any means but the game led to Robbo saying how did we not win that.

Donny were second in the table so a draw away from home was probably a good result but the game was there to be won on the night and we again missed chances the performance was much improved though and I had to think we seem to be a one man team with Chadwick returning and once more most fans choice for M.O.T.M Potter a close second McLeod had a good game but did not do what he was brought in to do which is score but he was not lazy, a criticism often labelled at him.

Doncaster played a lot of long ball (hoofball) and relied on long throws but could not out muscle us and Gary Mac and Williams coped well with the hoof.

Referee was David Webb who played advantage let game flow and was not card happy an 8 out of 10 Attendance was 6,423 with 180 Dons not the 13 fans @awaydays stated whilst showing a stand we did not sit in lol. Teams lined up
Doncaster Rovers: G Woods, Quinn, Spurr, McCombe, Jones (c), M Woods (Sinclair 70), Griffin (Harper 46), Cotterill, Coppinger, Husband, Paynter.
Subs: Maxted, Sinclair, Martis, Harper, Bennett, Wakefield, Fowler.
Booked: Woods

MK Dons: (4-2-3-1) Martin, Otsemobor, MacKenzie, Williams, Lewington (c), Potter, Harley, Powell, Chadwick (Chicksen 74), Bowditch, McLeod.

Subs: Doumbe, Smith, Chicksen, Flanagan, Baldock, Lines.Booked: MacKenzie

The FA Cup fifth round the furthest we have progressed as MK Dons.
MK Dons 1-3 Barnsley

The excellant keeper Luke Steele,Barnsley players arriving Bobby Hassel poses for picture.

So it was time for another historic day as we played in the fifth round of the FA cup the furthest we have come since becoming MK Dons in 2004.
Of course as Wimbledon we won the competition in 1988 as many of our fans remember, and it still annoys me when people forget those fans that despite the troubles of Wimbledon FC stayed loyal and followed the club even when the name change was forced upon them.

Sadly the team did not seem to have the same passion for the day and first half we were awful letting Barnsley not only into the game but gifted them goals as well.

To be fair we were caught cold for the first when Dagnell scored on three minutes but the second from Harewood a former FA cup winner was due to bad defending from the normally reliable Lewington who Harewood just seemed to skip right past.

The third we had gone three at the back chasing an equalizer but the whole defence just stood there waiting for the linesman to flag which he of course did not as he had not kept up with play all game and was awful but the back line should have played to the whistle not what they thought !
Bowditch scored a lovely goal to make things 2-1 and got the crowd rocking in what was a pretty good day noise wise from the home fans Barnsley brought a good crowd and made a good lot of noise and I found them to be a nice bunch generally.

But despite a good second half the poor first half meant we had no realistic chance of getting back into the game against a rejuvenated and in form Barnsley side.

Alan Smith got sent off after just having been announced as M.O.T.M which I also would have agreed with although Chicksen was close but only a sub so hard to give it to him.

I spoke to one of our more knowledgeable fans Lew who like me clapped Smith as he received his M.O.T.M award as he felt like me it was a yellow at best and even Delap agreed it was not an elbow to the head as the hopeless referee said ,an appeal will be lodged but I'm never confident as the FA rarely go against a referee's decision.(Karl agreed apparently and never lodged one)

Teams lined up
MK Dons (4-2-3-1) Martin,Otsemobor, MacKenzie, Williams, Lewington (c) Potter, Harley (Chicksen 46) Powell, Chadwick, Bowditch (Lines 68) Smith.

Subs not used Doumbe, Flanagan, Alli, Galloway, Rasulo.

Booked: Chadwick, Williams

Sent-off Smith 90 Goal by Bowditch on 62 was well taken

Barnsley Steele made an amazing save to deny Smith(c), Wiseman, Cranie, Kennedy, Golbourne, Hassell (Delap 70), Perkins still a menace and close call for M.O.T.M, Etuhu (O'Brien 58), Mellis, Dagnall who was my opposition M.O.T.M, Harewood (Scotland 46).
Subs not used: Alnwick (GK), Foster, Cywka, Rose.
Booked: Mellis Goals: Dagnall 3, Harewood 19
Referee was Mike Jones from Cheshire who let him self down with the red 6 out of 10
Attendance: 14,475 with 3,702 away fans.

Izale McLeod (with parka on)sat just in front of Luke Ashmead and behind Steve Claridge
doing co-commentary as he was cup tied.

We now have to concentrate on our league form and put a run together as this looks like being quite a low points needed for play off season and others will drop points around us.

We are 12th in the league and have two away games ahead of us at opposite end's of the country Carlisle on the 23rd and Portsmouth on 27th and are probably the two most important games so far this season in terms of how the season will be defined, or so it seems ahead of these games to myself and many or our fan base.

Ahead of the Carlisle game we got news Alex Rae had not learn't by his past mistake's and had once again given up his job to join Paul Ince at Blackpool with no sightings of Ian Wright of late, it had the feel of either rats leaving a sinking ship or else cut backs being made already as the club feel the season is already over.
Fact is we were as close to the relegation zone as the play off places.

The stats after the game showed we had 53 percent possession and so it was pretty even but again a game of two halves with us having best of the first and the Cumbrians the second whether it is down to fitness I don't know but we are worse second half this season. Robbo made some changes and at last gave Chicksen a start and was duly rewarded with a goal from Adam.

Carlisle had changed their keeper and Collin was on the bench where he was joined by our own Martin after thirty nine minutes and thankfully after many games without one he had a keeper on the bench.

McLoughlin fresh back from Walsall stepped in and we went into half time one goal to the good.

More bad news was to follow when Gary Mac went off injured to be replaced by Doumbe but it was a corner given away by Kay who has been pretty decent till his red and subsequent ban that undid the goal by Adam and the battle to keep the Cumbrians at bay.

Mixed responses from the fans there as to blame with some saying Ian should have come out shouting for ball others saying Kay should have left it to Keeper
either way the resulting corner was headed down by O'Hanlon and Beck who had only been on pitch six minutes dispatched the goal and two points were lost.

This now meant the Pompey game on Tuesday was a must win and those two points lost need to be made up putting more pressure on the manager and players alike.
Teams lined up:
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Simek, McGovern, Livesey who lost a lot of blood after a clash with Lewie (Murphy 69), Noble, Loy (Beck 80), Thirwell (Symington 46), Miller (c), Berrett, Mutsoe, O’Hanlon. Goal 86 mins by Beck

Subs not used: Collin, Welsh, Cadamarteri, Potts,

Booked: O’Hanlon well he was a Don

MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin (McLoughlin 39); Chicksen, MacKenzie (Doumbe 77), Kay, Lewington (c) Potter, Lines; Chadwick, Williams, Harley (Powell who did not start as he was not fit according to Robbo 64) Lowe.

Subs not used: Otsemobor, McLeod, Baldock, Rasulo.

Booked: Potter

Goal: Chicksen on 36 and was the M.O.T.M so he'll probably be dropped next game !

Referee: Kevin Wright

Attendance: 4,283 with 179 away fans.
We had now played 31 games were 14th in league and had 45 points and seemed to be slipping away from the play off pack and nearer the relegation dog fight !

And so the Robbo out calls came from a wider selection of the fan base and those that never really liked him or are just the doom and gloom type were having a great time mainly to themselves as most of us ignore them for various reason but mainly because we don't think its all down to Robbo.

Point is a loss or even a draw was to most of us the end of the play off hope. Mathmaticaly possible perhaps but I thought that a loss means there is more wrong than I see at the training ground or hear from those I trust who often pick up reliable tit bits.

The game was a huge disappointment for the reason's that 1.We should have beaten Portsmouth 2.There was no passion from the team 3.Play off's can be forgotten 4.We are nearer the relegation zone than the play off zone.
Pompey have some good players amongst the team but they are on short contracts and really have nothing to prove and can hardly know each other.

The few positives I could see were that Chicksen was not dropped as I thought he might be McLoughlin started a game which might stop him moaning and we took a reasonable number of fans a long way on a Tuesday night.
Teams lined up
Portsmouth (4-4-2) Eastwood; Moutaouakil (Webster 65), Rocha, Gyepes, Butler; Wallace, Ertl (c), Racon (Reed 65), Walker (Harris 74); Agyemang remember him ?, Connolly
Subs not used: Smith (GK), Keene, Akinde.
Booked: Gyepes, Wallace, Ertl
Goal: Connolly 22

MK Dons (4-2-3-1) McLoughlin; Chicksen, MacKenzie, Kay, Lewington (c); Potter, Williams (Otsemobor 65); Powell, Chadwick, Harley who was injured (Lines 56); McLeod (Lowe 56).

Subs not used Doumbe, Flanagan, Baldock, Rasulo.

Booked: Potter

Goal: Williams goal to save our blushes was on 27

Referee Keith Hill can not be blamed for another woeful performance came from Hertfordshire.

Attendance was which despite Pompey's woe's is pretty decent at this level 9,815 267 were Don's fans.

March is an incredibly busy month and I am now looking at getting to fifty points rather than anything else, another season in League One is not what most of our fans thought we would be praying for but on current form and the way we are playing its the best we can hope for. I suspect there will be more twists and turn's in March but February has been an awful month and one I'll certainly be glad to see the back of

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