Dons out-muscled by strong Aston Villa side in Papa John’s Trophy
MK Dons 2-4 Aston Villa U21s
MK Dons suffered defeat again as they were beaten by a really strong Aston Villa U21s side on Tuesday night
Keinan Davis, who has made more than 80 appearances for the Villains’ first team, fired the visitors in front after 13 minutes, but Dons responded excellently with goals from Troy Parrott and Max Watters to put them in front 12 minutes later. However, Cameron Archer, who has been prolific in this competition already, headed home on the stroke of half time to send the sides in level.
After what was a thrilling first half, the pace left the game in the second, especially when Aaron Ramsey fired in Villa’s third on 57 minutes after Davis’ break saw his effort rebound off the bar.
Troy Parrott hit the bar for Dons in a half which saw them create precious little, before Archer nabbed his second in stoppage time to wrap it up, giving the 1,200 travelling Villa supporters reason to cheer.
With the game effectively a dead-rubber, Liam Manning rotated his squad heavily for the Papa John's Trophy with just two players -Zak Jules and Hiram Boateng - keeping their spot after the 3-0 loss to Rotherham on Saturday.
The first 45-minutes did not play out as a game with nothing riding on it though. Both sides had their sights set on Group C's top spot, and with some big hitters in the Villa side, including Kienan Davis who already has 85 first team appearances under his belt, there were bound to be chances. Manning won't have been pleased with Villa's first though as it came from Brooklyn Ilunga's mistake, allowing Davis to get in-front of Jules to poke past Franco Ravizzoli after 13 minutes.
Dons' response to going behind in games has been good this season though, and within six minutes they were level when Troy Parrott lashed home after Josh Martin, who looked in swashbuckling form, foudn him on the edge of the box.
Parrott would then play a key role in Dons' second as his backheel found Hiram Boateng to cross for Max Watters to beat Viljami Sinisalo at the near post to make it 2-1 on 25 minutes.
Charlie Brown had a glorious chance to make it a two-goal cushion just a few minutes later but fired wide, while Sinisalo made quick-fire saves from Martin and Watters to keep the margin at just one.
And it would be key as Villa drew level on the stroke of half time when an unmarked Cameron Archer headed home Davis' cross just inside the six-yard box.
While the first half would have pace and vigeour, the second was far more patient from both sides but as in the first half, it was Villa who started the brighter and retook the lead 12 minutes after the restart. A hopeful long-ball found the dangerous Davis as he brushed off the attentions of Baldwin, but his effort hit the crossbar, rebounding calmly into the path of Aaron Ramsey who finished into the empty net.
Rather than chasing after another to extend their lead again though, Villa instead looked intent on stopping Dons from getting back into the game. And unlike in the first half, Dons' chances dried up as a result. Troy Parrott tried to drag something from the game though and clipped the top of the crossbar with a great free-kick 25-yards out before being replaced by Mo Eisa.
Dons threatened to get back on level terms on a few occasions, but looked a bit shot-shy at times, with Eisa and Brown both getting into good positions but failing to pull the trigger.
With time running out, Villa made sure of top spot when Josh McEachran, who had been excellent all evening, was dispossessed to easily in the centre of the park by Carney Chukwuemeka and as he drew out Tennai Watson, it allowed Archer space and time to thrash in Villa's fourth.
Referee: Tom Nield
Attendance: 2,682 (1,200)
MK Dons: Ravizzoli, Watson, Jules, Baldwin, Ilunga (Johnson 86), Martin, McEachran, Boateng (O'Riley 77), Parrott (Eisa 66), Brown, Watters
Subs not used: Walker, Darling, Twine, Harvie
Aston Villa U21s: Sinisalo, Chukwuemeka, Archer, Bogarde, Davis (Goodridge 72), Ramsey, Iroegbunam, Lindley, Swinkels, Ealing, Thorndike
Subs not used: Zych, Hart, O'Reilly, Zito, Rowe, Afoka
Booked: Davis, Lindley