AN acrobatic late winner from Andre Amougou ended Dons’ Carling Cup run with a 2-1 defeat to Burnley at Turfmoor.
Dons got off to the best of starts as Daniel Powell gave the visitors the lead after just five minutes, but they were guilty of missing too many chances while leading, and were made to pay in the second half. Kieran Trippier pulled Burnley level with a freekick after an hour before Amougou’s bicycle kick deflected off Tom Flanagan past David Martin to break Dons’ hearts with two minutes remaining.
Karl Robinson made a number of changes to his side after the 1-1 draw with Huddersfield on Saturday. Tom Flanagan replaced suspended Gary MacKenzie, while Shaun Williams returned to the heart of the defence in place of the cup-tied Mark Beevers. Jabo Ibehre also returned from suspension, but it was a young bench named by Robinson, which boasted two youth team players in Stephan Powell and Joel Gyasi. Mathias Doumbe also appeared for the first time after damaging his ankle ligaments in pre-season.
Despite the league difference between the sides, Dons made a comfortable start to the game, getting their passing style straight from kick off as Burnley struggled to settle. And it was with their first attack that Dons took the lead. Jabo Ibehre did well to hold up the ball as Daniel Powell raced on ahead of him. Ibehre timed his ball to perfection as Powell found himself 15 yards out to rifle low past Lee Grant, putting Dons into the lead after just five minutes.
The early stages were dominated by the visitors, with everything moving through Darren Potter, who was orchestrating the play, while Ibehre was winning everything played up to him.
And they could easily have been two goals to the good after 17 minutes when Burnley’s defence went to sleep completely, allowing Luke Chadwick to ghost in on the right, before Powell lashed his shot wide.
Slowly but surely though, the home side began to get a footing in the game, sending a number of crosses into David Martin’s penalty area, but never really making the keeper work for his evening.
Burnley had a glorious change to draw level after 25 minutes when Lewington took his eye off the ball, allowing it to slip under his foot as Dean Marney pounced and raced into the box. Rather than pulling the trigger, he pulled it back to Jay Rodriguez, but he rushed his shot, dragging it well wide of Martin’s goal, but he really should have done better.
Dean Bowditch nearly doubled the lead though for Dons after some great interplay between Ibehre and Powell, but the former Yeovil man couldn’t quite get enough bend on the ball as it flew narrowly wide of Grant’s far post. George Baldock also sent a shot high over the bar as Dons continued to play without fear against the Championship side.
Rodriguez really should have done better with a free header in stoppage time – Burnley’s first real shot on target, but it was dons who squandered the best chance of injury time when Bowditch’s corner pinged around the box, and fell to Powell just two yards out but Lee Grant made a brilliant reaction save to spare his sides blushes, though they still went in 1-0 down.
Burnley burst out of the box in the second half, forcing an early corner and really taking the game to Dons, but the back four were standing strong.
The visiting side really should have booked their place in the fourth round though early in the half when Ibehre pounced on a weak back pass, but his shot was blocked. Fortunately, it fell into the path of Powell, but Brian Easton bravely threw himself in front of the shot when it looked for all the world that Powell would knock it in.
Keith Treacy forced Martin into his first decent save with a shot from range, but Burnley were struggling to create clear inroads through the Dons busy midfield.
And it took a set piece from the edge of the box to finally beat Martin, and get Burnley back in the game. Chadwick was adjudged to have handled on the edge of the box and Kieran Trippier bent the ball in left footed for his first goal for Burnley, bringing his side right back in it.
Dons though continued to play their game, but were beginning to feel the rough end of a few Burnley challenges. Lewington and Chadwick were both subjected to some ugly looking attempts to win the ball, with Robinson livid on the touchline at the treatment of his already threadbare squad.
The home side, buoyed on by the suddenly rejuvenated home crowd, sensed a victory for the first time and threw everything at the League 1 side.
George Baldock cleared off the line from another Burnley corner and substitute Charlie Austin looked eager to get in on the action with some smart runs off the back of Tom Flanagan, though was caught out too often by the linesman’s flag.
Dons though weren’t out of it, and Anthony McNamee brought out a terrific save from Lee Grant 12 minutes from time when his shot looked destined for the bottom corner. And when Bowditch narrowly missed getting on the end of Baldock’s cross with five minutes to go Dons were looking like the most likely to score a late winner. Bowditch though injured himself in the move and had to be replaced by Charlie Collins.
But Dons’ hearts were broken with two minutes to play, and it came from a spectacular volley from an unlikely source. Ross Wallace found space from a cleared corner on the right flank, and cutting inside put in a cross which was acrobatically by centre back Andre Amougou, cruelly deflecting off Flanagan, and wrong footing Martin as it flew into the net for 2-1, and a place in the fourth round of the cup.
Dons though will be pleased with the performance, particularly in the first half, though their Carling Cup aspirations are over for another year.
Referee: Scott Mathieson
Burnley: Grant, Wallace, Marney (McCann, 60), Edgar, Hines (Austin, 60,) Bartley, Easton, Amougou, Rodriguez, Treacy, Trippier
Subs not used: Stewart, MacDonald, Knowles, McCartan, Hewitt,
MK Dons: Martin, Chicksen, Lewington, Williams, Flanagan, Chadwick, Baldock, Potter (McNamee, 60), D Powell, Ibehre, Bowditch (Collins, 88)
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Milton, S Powell, Gyasi, Doumbe