Harford: Dons deserved to go through

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THE goalless draw against non-league Cambridge City epitomised MK Dons’ season to far, according to assistant manager Mick Harford.

In a game dominated by the away side, City defended stoutly and stopped Dons at every attempt as they threw everything they had at Zac Barrett’s goal to no avail.

Dons twice hit the Pro Edge Stadium woodwork and came close with a number of other chances, but such has been the story throughout the season, it just didn’t come off on the night, and now means they must play another midweek game.

“The game typified our season really. We dominated, but couldn’t kill them off, and we didn’t get the goal I think our play deserved. It is a game we could do without, but it’s the magic of the FA Cup,” said Harford.

“Cambridge set out their stall and defended very well. You’ve got to give them credit, and to their goalkeeper in particular. We created numerous opportunities, we were never in danger of losing the game, but we had to be wary of a set piece or a counter attack.

“They played with a lot of heart and spirit. They knew what was coming and they did a job. They’ll be delighted. It’s another pay day for them and a replay at our place. It’s a game hopefully we can get through.

“I wouldn’t say they deserved a draw, but their effort and commitment will take them a long way. But we’re still in the hat.”

Barrett’s performance between the City sticks was arguably the reason Cambridge are still in the second round hat, and he impressed Harford.

He said: “There was that many saves, I can’t really remember them all. I know Zac from my Luton days and he was brilliant for Cambridge.

“He had an unfortunate injury and got released, but fair play to him, he has come back, made some great saves and hopefully a lot of people will have watched him and take a shine to him.”

While the result may not look favourably on Dons, one particular shining light was the performance of 16-year-old Dele Alli. Almost scoring with his first touch, and boldly taking shots from range, the midfielder has a bright future at the club.

“He’s very good, one of many good youngsters we’ve got at the club,” said Harford. “Dele has been doing well training and in the youth team.

“If they do that, Karl will reward them with an opportunity. He didn’t look out of place, he did what we told him to, he got forward, he got in the box and nearly scored with his first touch. We’re delighted with his progress and I thought he was excellent.”