REPORT: Derby 0-1 MK Dons: Dons strike late

MK Dons forward Jake Forster-Caskey during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165045002
MK Dons forward Jake Forster-Caskey during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165045002

A wonderfully struck Jake Forster-Caskey free kick eight minutes from time earned Dons an unlikely three points as they beat managerless Derby 1-0 at the iPro Stadium.

On a day made for the defence, Dons kept out an incessant home side who kept the pressure on throughout but simply couldn’t find a way through.

MK Dons midfielder Samir Carruthers during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165023002

MK Dons midfielder Samir Carruthers during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165023002

While Dons provided little of their own going forwards, Forster-Caskey’s 82nd minute set piece found the postage stamp of Scott Carson’s goal to cap a remarkable week for Karl Robinson’s men.

Picking up only their second away win of the season, Dons climb to 20th in the Championship and vitally, five points clear of the relegation zone.

Having had their hearts broken late on Tuesday night, Robinson made three changes to the team which started against Middlesbrough. Goal-scorer Dean Bowditch dropped back to the substitutes bench, as did Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Alex Revell, having both made their first starts for the club. Nicky Maynard, Josh Murphy and Rob Hall led the line.

It took a long time for the first half to really burst into life. While managerless Derby had the lionshare of the ball, they didn’t really cause much trouble for the Dons defence. Come the half hour mark though, the Rams began to turn the screw. Tom Ince and Bradley Johnson both missed decent chances, though Jason Shackell should have done better but headed wide from close range.

MK Dons defender George Baldock, MK Dons midfielder Darren Potter   and Derby County striker Chris Martin during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165012002

MK Dons defender George Baldock, MK Dons midfielder Darren Potter and Derby County striker Chris Martin during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165012002

Dons never really looked at the races in the opening 45 minutes, struggling to get the ball out of their half as Derby continued to flow forwards. But they still struggled to make David Martin really work, though Jeff Hendrick gave him something to do a minute before the break with a palm-stinger from the edge of the box.

And trend continued into the second half as Derby continued to threaten. Chris Martin was growing into the game and was causing problems for the Dons defence, but they were standing firm. Both Joe Walsh and Kyle McFadzean were having strong games but were having to be far busier than they’d have liked.

The introduction of Alex Revell for Nicky Maynard gave Dons a new dimension though, and with a target to aim for, they began to provide more of a creditable threat going forwards.

And incredibly, it was Dons who took the lead eight minutes from time. Rob Hall looked to skip through but was taken out on the edge of the box. Step up Jake Forster-Caskey, who bent it brilliantly into the top corner, leaving former England keeper Scott Carson picking it out of his net.

MK Dons forward Jake Forster-Caskey during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165001002

MK Dons forward Jake Forster-Caskey during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Milton Keynes Dons at the iPro Stadium, Derby, England on 13 February 2016. Photo by Jon Hobley. PNL-160213-165001002

Derby, now chasing an equaliser, should have drawn level late in the day when substitute Andreas Weimann was left unmarked at the near post, but somehow put it wide of the mark. A late onslaught in stoppage time wasn’t enough though as Dons held on for a remarkable win.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham

Attendance: 30,075 (811)

Derby County: Carson, Christie, Bryson (Butterfield 56), Keogh (C), Hendrick (Weimann 78), Martin, Russell (Bent 67), Shackell, Johnson, Ince, Olsson

Subs not used: Grant, Warnock, Buxton, Blackman

MK Dons: Martin; Baldock, McFadzean, Walsh, Lewington (c); Potter, Forster-Caskey; Hall, Carruthers (Bowditch 76), Murphy; Maynard (Revell 59)

Subs not used: Cropper, Spence, Williams, Powell, Emmanuel-Thomas

Booked: Johnson, Maynard, Carruthers, Hendrick