Grant fires Dons into the second round of the Carabao Cup

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MK Dons 1-0 Sutton United

Conor Grant scored MK Dons’ first goal of the season to help them into the second round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, beating Sutton United 1- at Stadium MK.

On a night where winning was the most important thing for Liam Manning’s side after two defeats to open their League One account, Grant’s first goal since moving from Rochdale in the summer just before the break eased the nerves going into the second half.

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The impressive Darragh Burns came close to doubling the lead just after the restart, and forced keeper Jack Rose into a stop later too as Dons tried to add to their lead, while Sutton almost forced penalties at the death but Luke Gambin volleyed over the top.

It means Dons go into the hat for Wednesday night’s second round draw.

The big team news came in amongst the seven changes Liam Manning made to his side, with Dawson Devoy handed his appearance start for the club after moving from Bohemians in the summer. The Irishman had not featured in a matchday squad until that point, but there was also a return for Zak Jules too who had not featured for Dons since January 4.

Taking on the League Two side, Dos established themselves on the front foot early on, but found breaking the deadlock hard to do as they sought out their first goal of the season.

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Matt Dennis, making his first start for the club, looked a handful for Louis John and Coby Rowe to have to deal with, while most of Dons' defensive problems came from their own making, though Jack Tucker got Zak Jules out of jail twice when he left Enzio Boldewijn free to take aim.

With all eyes on Devoy's performance, the Irishman did not disappoint with a string of good passes and clever dribbles, but it was his delayed ball to Conor Grant just before the break which finally opened the scoring, with the former Rochdale man beating the offside trap to fire low past Jack Rose into the bottom corner.

With the lead in tact in the second half, Dons looked to add to their advantage in the second half, but for all their attempts, were unable to do so. Dennis continued to be a threat for the hosts, but the lively Darragh Burns had the pick of the bunch early in the half, guiding a header just wide of the mark.

Devoy and Grant continued to impress too with their work-rate and clever touches in midfield, all afforded by the industrious work of Ethan Robson who kept them in check with a solid showing at the base of the midfield.

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Sutton were keen not to go down without a fight though, and Alistair Smith forced Jamie Cumming to scramble to his left to deny them an equaliser, while Luke Gambin could have forced penalties in spectacular fashion with the final kick of the game, but his volley sailed over the bar as Dons made their way into the second round.

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 2,263

MK Dons: Cumming, Lawrence, O'Hora, Tucker, Jules, Robson (Smith 78(, Devoy, Grant, Burns, Kemp, Dennis (Barry 61)

Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Oyegoke, Ilunga, Gyamfi, Tripp

Sutton United: Rose, Rowe (Barden 45), John, Boldewijn (Gambin 77), Smith, Bugiel (Thomas 77), Eastmond (Beautyman 60), Neufville, Kizzi, Milsom, Wilson (Kousassi 60)

Subs not used: House, Ridley, Lovatt, Fadahunsi

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