Colchester 0-1 MK Dons: Dons climb back into the automatic spots

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Dons bounced back to winning ways in unspectacular fashion against Colchester on Tuesday night with a 1-0 win at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

The result sees Dons climb back into the automatic promotion spots at the expense of Swindon Town.

Monday’s loan signing George Williams was Tuesday’s starter as he went straight into the team against Colchester. Will Grigg also returned to lead the line, with Devante Cole dropping to the bench, and Keith Andrews out of the squad entirely. With first choice keeper David Martin still out injured, Ian McLoughlin remained between the sticks.

On a consistent surface, Dons looked far more at home with the ball than in their previous two outings at Bradford and Gillingham, and it showed. Comfortable in possession, the visitors were by far the better of the two sides in the opening half an hour, without creating anything clear cut.

Behind Grigg, the trio of Carl Baker, Daniel Powell and George Williams were rotating with regularity and enjoying time on the ball. But with Colchester getting bodies back en masse, it made life difficult for the away side to make room for a shot.

Their best chance came from a Jordan Spence header over the top from a corner, but two minutes before the break, the £5 million man fired Dons into the lead. As another unsuccessful corner was only half cleared by the home side, Antony Kay hooked the ball over his shoulder and back into the mix. Evading the offside trap, Dele Alli stayed cool to beat Sam Walker and put Dons ahead.

Colchester had a fire lit under them in the second half, and fancied an equaliser in the early stages. And but for under fire keeper Ian McLoughlin, they’d have been level 12 minutes after the restart, as he made a fine diving save to keep out Gavin Massey’s well-struck effort across the face of goal.

After receiving one too many kicks for Karl Robinson’s liking, Alli was withdrawn just after the hour mark, replaced with Ben Reeves. But unlike on Saturday when last season’s Player of the Year dramatically changed the game for Dons, his influence was far more muted as Dons looked happy to sit on their advantage.

And the longer the game when on, the more comfortable Dons looked. Colchester barely threatened in the last 20 minutes, despite seeing more of the ball than their opponents. With the final ball lacking, Kay and McFadzean mopped everything up with ease, while Spence looked far more assured than in his previous two outings.

Despite a late flurry or pressure from Colchester, Dons eased over the line to wrap it up, and with it move up the table.

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 2,974 (248)

Colchester: Walker, Clohessy, Wynter, Eastman, Briggs, Fox (Gilbey 45), Lapslie (Moncur 63), Hewitt (Sembie-Ferris 76), Szmodics, Massey, Porter.

Subs not used: Lewington, Harney, Marriott, Healey

MK Dons: McLoughlin; Spence, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Potter, Alli (Reeves 64), Powell, Baker, Williams (Carruthers 74) , Grigg (Cole 80)

Subs: Burns, Hodson, Flanagan, Green

Booked: McFadzean, Potter, Lapslie