Positives for Dons to take after ‘difficult game’ against Villa

MK Dons 2-4 Aston Villa U21s

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 10:21 pm

Liam Manning, flanked by some of the Dons youngsters to get a game against Aston Villa U21s, said it was a learning experience in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night as they went down 4-2

It was a learning experience for MK Dons on Tuesday night as they were beaten by a ruthless Aston Villa U21s in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Though both sides had already booked their spot in the second round draw, there appeared to be no signs either were there to make up the numbers at Stadium MK. Keinan Davis, who has made 85 first team appearances for the Premier League outfit, opened the scoring after a mistake from Brooklyn Ilunga allowed him through on goal after 13 minutes, but within 12 minutes the hosts were in front. Troy Parrott first lashed in Josh Martin’s pass before Max Watters scored from close range.

Davis then turned provider for Cameron Archer - who has made four Premier League outings this term - to net the first of two on the night on the stroke of half-time. When Aaron Ramsey netted Villa’s second on 57 minutes, it effectively wrapped up the game, though Archer added his second and Villa’s fourth in stoppage time.

There were some good performances for Liam Manning’s side, particularly in the lively first half, but the head coach said: “It was a difficult game for the guys. Some of them haven't played in quite a while, so they're lacking match-sharpness and they've not played a lot as a team either, so there's not that rhythm or being on the same wavelength.

“There were some really good moments but some sloppy moments too which we won't be making excuses for, but there were pleasing aspects.

“(Villa) have invested huge amounts in that team, they did well in the FA Youth Cup last year too. They have some exciting young prospects there, and what we saw was a certain physical profile. On the counter-attack, they were dangerous and direct. Good luck to them, they did well tonight.”