Daggers cut apart as Dons hit back

MK Dons 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

JABO Ibehre fired Dons into the second round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday night with a second half brace against League One rivals Dagenham & Redbridge.

Dons fell behind to a magnificently taken Damien McCrory free-kick in a first half that was largely bossed by the visitors, who smothered Dons in midfield.

But the hosts rallied in the second half, and nearly pulled level through a Jermaine Easter header, but referee Gavin Ward had adjudged that the striker was pushing and the goal and celebrations were quashed.

But Dons fans finally had something to cheer about shortly afterwards, when Easter's powerful run and pass left Ibehre with a simple finish past veteran keeper Tony Roberts.

And the tie was turned on its head with 11 minutes to play when a short back-pass by Daggers defender Scott Doe let Ibehre in again, and the powerful striker smashed home emphatically from 12-yards to put the result beyond doubt.

After the game boss Karl Robinson said he was pleased with his side's second half performance, but admitted he had to lose his temper with a few players during the half-time interval.

He said: "Everyone pulled it together in the second half. We didn't move the ball about well in the first half, but it wasn't down to a lack of effort. They had one shot on goal in the first half - it was a free-kick that wasn't a free-kick and it went in.

"For the first time in this job, I had to have a go at people at half time and make them raise their game. We moved the ball about much better in the second half and made it difficult for them to play.

"I felt Easter was a threat dropping into the hole and Ibehre was a threat in behind. It shows that we can change our starting line-up and we can still perform well. It's extremely pleasing."

Dons now face League One favourites Southampton on Saturday at stadium:mk. The Saints dished out four defeats to Dons last season, but Robinson is keen to show more muscle against Alan Pardew's men.

"We will be extremely precise in our preparation - there won't be another team that prepares like us," Robinson said. "We work extremely hard, everything we do is to a Premier League level.

"Let's bring it on. Let's stand toe-to-toe with them and see what happens. We have respect for them - they're a good side. David Martin will have to make some saves."