Dons suffer Cup KO after dramatic Burnley tie

Burnley 1-1 MK Dons (Burnley win 4-3 on penalties)

A stoppage-time Matej Vydra goal sparred Burnley's blushes of an FA Cup upset against MK Dons as the Premier League outfit squeezed through to the fourth round on penalties.

Cameron Jerome headed Dons in front after 29 minutes, before Richard Keogh was sent off only to have the decision rescinded by VAR on the stroke of half time. It looked as though Dons would be heading into the fourth round draw but substitute Vydra netted in the 93rd minute to send the game into extra time.

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While Ben Gladwin thumped the post for the visitors, Will Norris denied Lasse Sorensen and Gladwin from the spot as Phil Bardsley sent Burnley through 4-3.

After a lengthy spell without a game, Dons made three changes to the side which emphatically saw off Swindon 4-1 in their final game of 2020. Lee Nicholls, who played in both previous FA Cup rounds, returned in goal, while George Williams was available again after self-isolating. Ste Walker also returned to the side after illness. Manchester United loanee Ethan Laird, who signed on Friday, was named among the substitutes.

With two divisions the difference between the sides, it was predictable that Nicholls would be the busier of the keepers, but he was more than a match for Ashley Barnes after the Burnley striker snatched the ball from Dean Lewington on halfway. He then made another excellent stop to deny a strike from Barnes once more, before keeping out efforts from Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Chris Wood.

Despite being under pressure though, Dons did not seem affected and were defending confidently without causing many problems at the other end. When they did though, they would take advantage of Burnley's missed opportunities.

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Ste Walker, popping up on the left flank, cut onto his right foot before chopping back to lose James Tarkowski, and delivering a cross which was flicked on by Scott Fraser to Cameron Jerome to head past Will Norris on 29 minutes.

It breathed life into Dons thereafter, and they were playing a much braver game with the lead while continuing to frustrate Burnley as Wood headed wide, while Tarkowski somehow prodded an effort against the post from a yard out.

Playing with VAR for the first time turned out to be a saving grace for Dons in first half stoppage time though when Richard Keogh was sent off for handball on the edge of the centre circle, only for replays to show he was being dragged down by Wood.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with Burnley gradually getting more desperate as they sought an equaliser. Barnes and Robbie Brady would squander several great chances for the Premier League side, though Nicholls was doing his part between the posts to tip Barnes' effort onto the post.

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Defensively clever though, Dons kept the ball well to extinguish Burnley's momentum, affording to hand a debut to Ethan Laird in the closing stages.

Joel Mumbongo forced a brilliant save from Nicholls in the final minute as it looked like Dons would hold on.

But in the final action of the game, Matej Vydra would poke home from two yards to send the tie into extra time. Dons would restart without manager Martin in the dugout though, sent off during the interval after exchanging words with the referee.

And he cut a frustrated figure in the stands behind the dugout as he watched Ben Gladwin's fierce strike thump the post in the chance of the half.

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While Nicholls denied Vydra from the spot, Norris saves from Sorensen and Gladwin allowed Phil Bardsley to send Burnley into the fourth round.

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Burnley: Norris, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Gudmundsson (Glennon 84), Cork (Benson 72), Stephens, Brady (Lowton 99), Wood (Vydra 76), Barnes (Mumbongo 84)

Subs not used: Pope, Nartley, Thomas, Gomez

MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams (Laird 62), Lewington, Keogh, Poole, Harvie (Sorinola 68), Gladwin, Sorensen, Fraser, Walker (Mason 62), Jerome (Johnson 81)

Subs not used: Fisher, Davies, Jallow, Bailey, Smith

Booked: Fraser, Pieters, Bardsley