Late show saves Dons’ Cup campaign

Dale Jennings gets airborne against Leyton Orient
Dale Jennings gets airborne against Leyton Orient

It was far from vintage for MK Dons, but two goals in the final two minutes against Leyton Orient ensured their passage into the second round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

The game hinged around two own goals - both at the same end but one for each side as the Championship table toppers edged past their League 2 opponents 2-1.

It was a scoreline that bookmakers would have forked out a lot of money on just five minutes before the final whistle though, and it certainly wasn’t one Dons boss Karl Robinson predicted.

“From the first minute to the 88th minute!” he answered when asked whether there was a time he felt his side wouldn’t score.

“I couldn’t see us scoring tonight. But somehow we did. In fact they scored it for us!”

But it appeared Leyton Orient captain Mathieu Baudry’s 88th minute bullet header into his own net was simply repaying a similar feat offered by Dons skipper Dean Lewington nine minutes before half time.

Lewington was the only surviving starter from the game against Rotherham as Robinson rung the changes, introducing Matt Upson, Sergio Aguza and Cristian Benavente for the first time in Dons colours, while Cody Cropper and Simon Church made competitive debuts.

But the changes brought about an unfamiliar feel to the side, and with the sky above still bright, there was a distinct pre-season feel about the game.

Chances were sparse, with Carl Baker the only one to test keeper Alex Cisak in the first period.

Orient too barely threatened, but when Lewington converted Dean Cox’s cross into his own net 36 minutes in, the visitors were ahead.

Twice Orient would hit the post too in the second half in rare breaks up the field, but Dons looked content to keep the ball in the midfield, giving their new Latin duo a feel for football in England, while allowing Giorgio Rasulo time to settle in a new role at the base of the midfield.

But trailing and the threat of going out of the competition at the first round stage didn’t bring about an urgency from the home side.

In fact, there was no real urgency until the final 10 minutes or so.

But Cisak remained untested from a Dons perspective, but he couldn’t stop Baudry’s bullet header in the 88th minute as he sought to get in ahead of Sam Gallagher.

Extra time loomed, but Dons were in no mood to play an extra half an hour so early in the season.

Forward they flowed once more, and after a strong run from Church, who had been inconsequential in the previous 90 minutes, Carl Baker nestled home his second in as many games to put Dons into the second round.

It could have been more had Church had the legs to beat the Orient defence for pace a minute or so later, but the name was already in the hat for Thursday’s draw as Dons’ League Cup adventure continues.