Dons 0-2 Leicester City: Dons sign off pre-season campaign with a loss

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Goals in each half from David Nugent and James Pearson saw Dons slip to a 2-0 defeat at home to Leicester City on Monday night.

The Premier League side looked comfortable throughout against Dons, playing their final pre-season game before the league season proper starts on Saturday.

Nugent’s goal came after 23 minutes, taking a wicked deflection off Kyle McFadzean to send keeper David Martin the wrong way, while there was nothing he could do to prevent Pearson’s screamer from sailing into the net with 21 minutes to go.

Benik Afobe wasted no time in making his first appearance in a Dons shirt, handed a start barely an hour after signing on a season-long loan from Arsenal on Monday afternoon.

Otherwise, it was a full-strength line-up for Karl Robinson’s side - a potential starting 11 for Saturday’s League 1 opener against Gillingham.

In typical pre-season fashion, there was little to spark the excitement among the sparse crowd. Leicester were comfortable if not forward with their play, pinging some nice one-touch stuff around the midfield without much end product.

Dons too tried to get their passing game going, but with Dele Alli playing deep, sometimes between Antony Kay and Kyle McFadzean, there was no energy in the centre of the park.

Afobe showed glimpses of pace, but couldn’t latch on to a lofted ball from Ben Reeves after he beat defender Wes Morgan twice on the edge of the box.

David Martin’s only involvement had been an early save from Joe Schlupp before he was beaten in the 23rd minute by a cruelly deflected David Nugent effort, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Dons’ chances were few and far between, but there were half chances for Ben Reeves, who shot wide, and Alli who hit the upright from a tight angle to no avail before the break.

Dean Bowditch, who barely touched the ball in the opening 45 minutes, was replaced by Daniel Powell at the change, and Reeves was given eight second half minutes before making way for Tom Hitchcock, and the changes seemed to breathe new life into the home side.

With 45 minutes under his belt, Afobe was looking more at home with his new team-mates, and after setting Danny Green through on the right flank, nearly scored his first goal in Dons colours, but a heavy touch took him too wide to challenge Hamer.

But as the Premier League side absorbed what Dons had to offer, James Pearson’s wonder-strike from nearly 30 yards out doubled Leicester’s lead in spectacular fashion with 21 minutes to go, nestling fiercely in the top left hand corner, leaving Martin with no chance.

As the substitutions rolled on, the game inevitably lost its edge, though Robinson’s strongest 11 were given a decent rest before the season opener on Saturday.

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 4,332 (1,217 away)

MK Dons: Martin, Hodson (Baldock 73), Lewington (Tilney 73), McFadzean (Hickford 85), Kay (Tingey 84), Potter (A Trialist 68), Alli (B Trialist 68), Green (Rasulo 79), Bowditch (Powell 45), Reeves (Hitckcock 53), Afobe (Randall 68)

Subs not used: McLoughlin, Burns, Flanagan, Summerfield

Leicester City: Hamer, Pearson (McCourt 71), Morgan, Kennedy (Sesay 79), Hammond, King, Albrighton, Schlupp, Mahrez (Barmby 75), Nugent, Wood

Subs not used: Logan, Panayiotou, Cain, Blyth