THEY were made to work for it, but MK Dons’ 100 per cent home record continued on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Yeovil.
Charlie MacDonald’s 74th minute strike, his first in 19 appearances, was enough to separate the two sides at stadium:mk, though once again it was the home side who dominated.
Chances came at a premium, particularly in the first half, but things changed in the second as both sides went in search of the winner. But it was to be a quiet afternoon for Dons keeper David Martin, who barely touched the ball.
After Dons missed a handful of decent chances it was substitute MacDonald who broke the deadlock with 16 minutes remaining, latching on to Darren Potter’s ball over the top, coolly slotting past Marek Stech.
Karl Robinson only made one change to the line-up which lost 1-0 a week earlier at Walsall. Gary MacKenzie returned to the heart of the defence after his international call-up to the Scotland squad, with Antony Kay dropping to the incredibly strong Dons bench.
But MacKenzie’s return lasted just 11 minutes as he was forced to hobble off down the tunnel, with Kay replacing him at centre back.
Before then, Dons had enjoyed a bit of a purple patch at the beginning of the game. Winning a handful of corners and penning Yeovil into their own penalty area, the home side looked up for the occasion and determined to keep their 100 per cent home record going.
They certainly looked the more likely to open the scoring, and came close on 20 minutes when Daniel Powell and Luke Chadwick linked up well to allow the latter to fire in on goal. And but for an acrobatic Stech save, Dons could well have been in the lead.
Once again though, for all Dons’ pressure, they were unable to create anything distinctly concrete. Potter sent a shot high over the bar, and Ryan Lowe should have done much better with the straight-from-the-training-ground corner routine which saw him free 12 yards from goal, only to miss the ball completely. Even when the ball broke loose between Lowe and Chadwick with only the keeper to beat, Stech was quickest to react to clear away from just outside his box.
Arguably Dons’ biggest obstacle to overcome was the wise Yeovil defence who played the offside trap to perfection during the first half, catching the hosts out on several occasions.
Lowe was left to ponder yet another lonely half up front on his own. He was furious when Powell couldn’t pick him out as he ghosted in at the far post, but should have done better on the stroke of half time when his strike on the turn was blocked by Stech. Stephen Gleeson’s follow-up was well over and Dons had to settle for a goalless opening 45 minutes.
There was almost an immediate blow for Dons at the beginning of the second half, when first Dominic Blizzard forced a great save from Martin, and from the resulting corner, Byron Webster’s header was cleared off the line by Potter.
But as Dons settled, it was back to business as usual. Chadwick hit the upright 10 minutes after the restart when he tricked his way into the penalty area, but the angle was better suited to a cut-back rather than a shot.
After an anonymous first half, Lewis Young terrorised the Dons defence when his rapid break through the centre left the men in white trailing in his wake. But laying the ball on a plate for Sam Foley, the Yeovil man could only spoon his shot high over the bar.
As has been the trend of late, Robinson replaced Lowe with MacDonald. And he almost made an immediate impact as Powell beat two defenders for pace and picked him out in the centre. However, MacDonald swung a leg at it and only found fresh air.
As the game wore on, chances were beginning to come at a more regular rate. And it was Potter, usually the man behind the scenes, who was making the most nuisance of himself. First, he put a diving header just wide before forcing a fine save from Stech after a great cross from Jon Otsemobor.
But the deadlock was finally broken with 16 minutes to go. Chasing Potter’s long ball over the top, MacDonald almost had too much time to take aim, but he coolly slotted past Stech for his first goal in 19 appearances. The whole team joined in the huddle in front of the celebrating home support.
From there, Dons looked intent on increasing their lead. Dean Bowditch came close to scoring against his former club but could only scoop his shot up and over the bar.
Powell was desperately unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet with just three minutes remaining following a brilliant give-and-go with MacDonald saw him shoot first time. But despite his left-footed curling strike forcing Stech to dive at full stretch, it rose just over bar.
Chadwick should have doubled the lead in stoppage time, but instead chose to pass to MacDonald in an offside position to slot home – though he was never going to beat the linesman’s flag.
The victory ended Yeovil’s 100 per cent away record this season, and lifts Dons to eighth in the League 1 table after six games.
Referee: Carl Boyeson
MK Dons: Martin, Otesemobor, Lewington, MacKenzie (Kay 11), Williams, Potter, Gleeson, Bowditch (Bullard 83), Powell, Chadwick, Lowe (MacDonald 67)
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Alan Smith, Chicksen, O’Shea
Yeovil Town: Stech, Ayling (Marsh-Brown 76), Hinds, Webster, Blizzard, Upson, Hayter (Korey Smith 61), Foley, Young, Ralph, Ugwu (Reid 61)
Subs not used: Stewart, Ince, Nkumu
Booked: Ayling, Ugwu, Williams, Webster