Bizarre own goal adds to discontent as Dons beaten by Harrogate
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A bizarre own-goal from Warren O’Hora four minutes before half-time almost perfectly epitomised Dons’ hapless afternoon, which saw them have 20 shots on goal, and hit the post, as nothing seemed to go their way.
The fans, who lauded the head coach a month ago for leading them to four wins from five in August, were baying for him in the second-half though as Dons suffered their fourth defeat of the season, dropping to 11th in League Two.
After making significant changes to his side for the trip to Sutton United last week, Graham Alexander stuck with the same team for the most part again for the visit of Harrogate - the only change came in defence as Daniel Harvie returned in the centre of defence, replacing Dean Lewington who did not feature in the squad.
Alexander was dealt a blow pre-kick-off though when Cameron Norman limped out of the warm-up, meaning Brooklyn Ilunga was put into make his first league start for the club.
Desperate to end their run of poor results in September, Dons started brightly and twice tested keeper Mark Oxley in the early knockings, both courtesy of Mo Eisa. On both occasions, the Dons leading scorer hit the ball on the turn arrowing for the top corner, and both forced Oxley to be at full-stretch to deny the striker with fine stops.
Harrogate seldom threatened in the opening 20 minutes, but when Sam Folarin showed Anthony Stewart a clean set of heels, he should have taken aim when he burst into the box but instead pulled back for Abraham Odoh, and misplaced the pass entirely.
Folarin did the same again when he escaped Stewart's challenge for a second time, but then fired straight at Craig MacGillivray as he squandered a second chance.
While Dons looked the more threatening going forwards, they could not find the back of the net. Daniel Harvie had a shot saved, and Joe Tomlinson saw an effort come off the post after hitting it from range.
But it would be Harrogate going in at the break ahead in the most bizaaare of circumstances. Neither MacGillviray nor O'Hora seemed to communicate as the ball bounced towards the keeper four minutes before the interval, and the former Burton man fired the ball clear but into the back of his team-mate, watching it bounce over the line and into the net.
Without a league win throughout September, the discontented voices in the Cowshed grew ever louder in the second-half as Dons tried in vain to work an equaliser. Chants aimed at Alexander, his style of play and even his future employment were all heard from the increasingly annoyed home support as the team on the field were a day late and a dollar short.
Payne, Harrison and Harvie all had speculative efforts miss the target in the second-half, while Conor Grant came off the bench with 22 minutes remaining and gave Dons a different outlet but nothing stuck for the hosts as they suffered yet another defeat.
Referee: Martin Coy
MK Dons: MacGillivray, Stewart (Tucker 46), O’Hora (Grant 68), Harvie, Tomlinson, Ilunga, Payne, Gilbey, Williams (Leko 68), Eisa, Harrison (Dean 81)
Subs not used: Kelly, Robson, Dennis
Harrogate Town: Oxley, Falkingham (Burrell 81), Thomson (Daly 81), Odoh, M Daly, Folarin (March 65), O'Connor, McDonald, Sutton (Cornelius 74), Ramsay, Gibson
Subs not used: Thomas, J Daly, Muldoon, Foulds
Booked: Oxley, Williams