Poor Dons well-beaten by Barnsley to fall further adrift

Barnsley 3-1 MK Dons
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A lacklustre MK Dons were soundly beaten 3-1 for a second consecutive game as they went down with little fight against Barnsley on Saturday.

In grim conditions at Oakwell, Dons fell behind to Jordan Williams' 18th minute strike, and it should have been 2-0 before the break , but Devante Cole flashed his strike across the face of goal.

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Mo Eisa, making his first league start since April, then drew Dons level with a rare attack five minutes before the break.

But the joy would be short-lived as Barnsley took up where they left off in the second-half, retaking the lead five minutes after the restart through Adam Phillips, before Herbie Kane's strike on 68 minutes put the game to bed.

Mo Eisa and Tennai Watson made their first league starts of the season as Liam Manning makes two changes to his side to face Barnsley. Louie Barry is declared fit after going through concussion protocol too and keeps his place in the side while Will Grigg and suspended Daniel Harvie missed out.

After piecing together some strong performances of late, the first-half at Oakwell was not what Liam Manning ordered.

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Struggling in the cold, wet conditions from the opening whistle, Dons were distinctly second-best to the Reds, looking on shaky ground as the hosts pressed a high line and put the visitors under pressure.

Dons barely had the ball out of their own half before going behind after 18 minutes when Jordan Williams fired past Jamie Cumming when picked out at the far post by Herbie Kane's cross.

It could have been worse for Dons, and they could have had no arguments, when former Dons loanee Devante Cole fired the ball across the face of goal looking for a touch which never came.

The visitors barely threatened in the run up to half-time, but incredibly drew level five minutes before the break. In a rare jaunt into the opposition half, Nathan Holland fired the ball towards Louie Barry, who took a touch inside the penalty area before feeding Eisa, who nutmegged Mads Andersen before poking in his first league goal of the campaign.

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While the roles were reversed from the 3-1 defeat a week prior to Derby, with Dons snatching a late equaliser this time, the second-half unfolded just as it did seven days earlier, with Dons conceding early - just five minutes after the restart, to once again chase.

Adam Phillips will not score an easier goal this season, nodding in Nicky Cadden's cross completely unmarked in the centre of the goal.

Dons stuttered and barely mde an offensive impact on the game as Barnsley settled into the second-half, and cemented their control on 68 minutes when play was waved on after Bradley Johnson left Phillips on the deck, only for Kane to pick out the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Such was Dons struggle to get any joy in the game, their only effort of the half came with two minutes to go when Bradley Johnson poked an effort goalwards from a Dawson Devoy corner.

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The veteran midfielder then somehow escaped punishment when he brought down Fabio Jalo in the area in stoppage time as the hosts were denied what looked a stonewall penalty.

The result means Dons are six points adrift of safety.

Referee: James Oldham

Attendance: 9,994 (391)

Barnsley: Collins, Williams, Kitchling, Anderson, Cadden, Kane, Aitchison (Norwood 63), Phillips (Benson 77), Cole (Jalo 83), Connell

Subs not used: Walton, Martin, Cundy, Larkeche

MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington, O'Hora, Jules, Watson (Grigg 81), Lawrence, McEachran (Devoy 68), Johnson, Holland, Barry (Burns 68), Eisa

Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Tucker, Oyegoke, Grant

Booked: McEachran, Connell, Eisa, Andersen, Kitching, Lawrence, Jules