Brighton's youngsters thrash Dons to send them out of the Trophy

MK Dons 0-4 Brighton & Hove Albion U21

It would be a humiliating exit from the Bristol Street Motors Trophy for MK Dons as they were thumped 4-0 by Brighton & Hove Albion U21s at Stadium MK.

Despite naming a team heavily influenced by fringe first-teamers, Dons turned in a significantly sub-par performance, capitulating in the second-half as they tumbled out.

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Despite holding it level at the break, the hosts fell apart when Sammy Chouchane opened the scoring from the penalty spot five minutes after the restart, before Joe Knight doubled the lead with 22 minutes to go.

Dawson Devoy was sent off when he hauled down Jamie Mullins with 10 minutes to go, sparking two more late goals for Brighton, with Ruairi McConville and Sahil Bashir completing the humiliating night for Dons.

It was an attacking line-up named by Mike Williamson, with four recognised strikers in the team to face the young Seagulls. Jonathan Leko would take up a spot as a wing-back, behind Mo Eisa, Matt Dennis and Ellis Harrison leading the line. There was room for youth though, with both Albert Wood and Keon Lewis-Burgess keeping their places in the side from the previous Trophy game against Northampton Town.

While that game against the Cobblers had an air of excitement with the youth element, the game with Brighton distinctly lacked the same enthusiasm. The Dons team, largely made up of the first-team fringe, did not look on the same page, did not look like they were keen to take on the youngsters of Brighton, and the performance in the first 45 minutes reflected as such.

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Passing was poor from the home side, possession was gifted away easily, and while Brighton had by far the better of the chances in the first-half, they were mostly created by Dons' own hand.

On more than one occasion, keeper Michael Kelly's distribution put his side in danger, but had Anthony Stewart to thank twice for letting him off the hook, but he looked on hopefully as Louis Flower's strike thumped the bar after 17 minutes.

The young Seagulls, who first put Warren O'Hora on Dons' radar back in 2018 in the same competition, looked far more comfortable on the ball and in their surroundings, looked by far the better side, and were perhaps unlucky not to go in ahead at the interval.

Things did not get much better for Dons in the second-half, in fact after just four minutes they were much worse as Ellis Harrison was adjudged to have fouled a Brighton man in the penalty area, earning the visitors a spot kick which Sammy Chouchane dispatched firmly to give them the lead.

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Dons continued to create problems for themselves with loose passing and cheaply giving up possession to afford Brighton with chances they barely had to work for.

And it would be the case when the Seagulls doubled their lead on 68 minutes when substitute Joe Knight was able to skip past two challenges before firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

With so many of the first-team fringe players failing to make a mark, it would end up being a humiliating night for Dons, starting with another sloppy pass from keeper Kelly, finding Jamie Mullins 20-yards from goal, leaving Dawson Devoy with little option but to bring down the Brighton man on the edge of the box, earning him a red card and an early bath with 10 minutes to go.

From there, the wheels would completely fall off as Ruairi McConville and Sahil Bashir would find the back of the net to further hammer home Brighton's advantage and heighten the embarrassment as Dons emphatically exited the Trophy.

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 789 (55)

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MK Dons: Kelly, Smith (Stirland 83), Stewart, Wood, Leko (Anker 840, Burns, Lewis-Burgess, Devoy, Dennis, Eisa (Scholtz 64), Harrison (Silver 63)

Subs not used: MacGillivray, Boyce, Adepoju

Brighton U21s: McGill, Hinchy (Knight 46), Chouchane Jackson, Nilsson (Tasker 82), Mullins, Duffus (Bashir 90), McConville, Slater, Peart (Ifill 74), Flower (Gorman 74)

Subs not used: Cahill, Atom

Booked: Duffus

Sent off: Devoy