Carlisle 2-3 MK Dons: Brilliant Dons make it two in a row

Match Report
Match Report

More than 10,000 Carlisle fans were sent home unhappy as MK Dons made it back-to-back away win with a brilliant 3-2 win at Brunton Park.

Conor McGrandles capped a brilliant performance in midweek with a fine opener on 12 minutes to silence the home fans, but Carlisle were level within two minutes when Baily Cargill brought down Stefan Scougall in the box, with the Carlisle man converting his penalty.

Chuks Aneke was introduced in the second period as Dons looked to shut down the Carlisle channels and it paid dividends as he set up both Jake Hesketh and Kieran Agard to give Dons a 3-1 lead. A late Hallam Hope goal threatened to give Carlisle a late lifeline, but it was not to be as Dons held on, moving within two points of automatic promotion, having dropped out of the play-off spots this time last week.

After picking up their first away win since November last Tuesday, Paul Tisdale made just one change to the team which started at Rodney Parade, replacing David Wheeler for Jake Hesketh, who played a key role in Chuks Aneke's winner in south Wales.

With more than 8,000 inside Brunton Park thanks to a social media campaign from the home side, it made for a lively atmosphere in the opening stages, and they were in for an equally lively opening 15 minutes as both sides found the net.

Dons took the lead on 12 minutes when Conor McGrandles, the stand-out man for Dons on Tuesday night, brilliantly brought down a ball on his chest, taking it past defender Anthony Gerrard before lashing across Adam Collin.

But barely two minutes later the home side were level from the penalty spot. Baily Cargill's lazy challenge on Stefan Scougall offered referee Peter Wright no choice but point to the spot, and Scougall did the business to beat Stuart Moore.

With both side shaken by conceding, it allowed them to settle thereafter and take the pace out of the frantic opening. While the home side had more of the ball and certainly looked the more threatening, it was Dons who had the better chances to retake the lead. Kieran Agard needed to do better at the near post when he left his marker, and a touch would have taken it past keeper Adam Collin, while the ball was cut out just before it got to him after a great cross from Alex Gilbey.

A stop-start half from Jake Hesketh saw his cross deceive Collin and bounce off the bar, but a moment of petulence on the left touchline saw him kick the ball away in disgust, incurring the referee's wrath after he was not awarded a free kick.

Chuks Aneke was introduced to the action at the break for Cargill as Dons switched to a flat back four, and it gave the visitors significantly more rigidity, and it meant they looked a much better unit. Alex Gilbey stung the palms of Collin with a chance early in the second period, while Agard too had a good effort blocked by the keeper.

And their pressure paid off on 66 minutes when, thanks to a little bit of luck, Hesketh fired Dons back in front. Picking up Aneke's cross after a slip from Gerrard, the on-loan Southampton man bent a wonderful effort past Collin's dive to silence the 10,000 plus home fanbase.

It was made even better with 14 minutes to go when Agard tapped home a wonderful team-move, involving Aneke and Gilbey to make it 3-1.

Far from doing things the easy way though, Dons gave themselves a nervous final five minutes when Hallam Hope lashed home from six yards to give Carlisle a lifeline heading into stoppage time, but it was too little too late as Dons secured back-to-back away wins.

Referee: Peter Wright

Attendance: 10,459 (329)

Carlisle United: Collin, Miller, Liddle, Gerrard, Hope, Slater (Cullen 66), Thomas (McCarron 66), O'Hare, Grant, Etuhu, Scougall (Kennedy 81)

Subs not used: Gray, Jones, Glendon, Simpson

MK Dons: Moore, Cargill (Aneke 46), Walsh, Martin, Lewington, Brittain, Cisse, McGrandles, Gilbey, Hesketh (Walker 88), Agard (Wheeler 80)

Subs not used: Nicholls, Baudry, Houghton, Harley

Booked: Cargill, McGrandles, Moore, Aneke