Early FA Cup exit for MK Dons as Port Vale progress

Russell Martin's tenure in charge of MK Dons got off to a losing start on Saturday as League Two Port Vale were 1-0 winners at Stadium MK.

Saturday, 9th November 2019, 4:58 pm

There was no 'new manager bounce' for Dons, who parted company with Paul Tisdale a week ago, with David Worrall's 19th minute header enough to separate the sides, ending Dons' FA Cup campaign at the first hurdle.

Russell Martin's first team selection saw Dons go to a 4-4-2 formation, but he was left facing the same problems of former boss Paul Tisdale. With Kieran Agard suspended, Sam Nombe and Rhys Healey injured, Jordan Bowery led the line alongside Brennan Dickenson. Positive news for the new manager though saw him name Joe Mason on the substitutes' bench.

And with those same problems, Martin could only watch on as his side looked second best for the opening half-hour and found themselves trailing after 19 minutes. With Dons unable to clear a cross into the box, Conor McGrandles' clearance could only reach James Gibbons, who picked out David Worrall at the far post to give Vale the lead.

Despite the goal, Dons played decent enough football, but as usual they came unstuck in the final third. Poor passing in key positions, crosses to empty spaces and poor shots on goal meant Scott Brown had an uneventful half in the Port Vale net, though Lee Nicholls did not have an awful lot more to contend with.

Dons looked a lot more lively early in the second half as they came out seeking an equaliser. Chances came the way of Dickenson, Bowery and Brittain but none troubled Brown's goal.

Mason was introduced to the fray with 28 minutes to go to make his debut for the club, but there was little he could do as scant opportunity fell his way.

The best of the second half chances fell to Reeves when Jordan Moore-Taylor roamed forwards, and after his cross towards Bowery was cleared as far as Reeves, he could only slam the ball into the stand behind the goal.

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 3,598

MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Poole, Moore-Taylor, Brittain, McGrandles, Kasumu (Boateng 70), Gilbey (Houghton 84), Reeves, Dickenson (Mason 62), Bowery

Subs not used: Moore, Cargill, Sorinola, Freeman

Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Montano, Smith, Taylor, Amoo, Burgess (Evans 87), Bennett (Pope 68)

Subs not used: Maddison, Cullen, Browne, Brisley, Archer

Booked: Joyce