REPORT: MK Dons 0-0 Stevenage (5-4 on pens) - Aneke returns as Dons claim shoot-out victory

Chuks Aneke in action against Stevenage
Chuks Aneke in action against Stevenage

Chuks Aneke started for the first time in six months in Dons' Checkatrade Trophy clash with Stevenage on Tuesday night, but it was the only highlight in a drab 0-0 draw.

In a game lacking action and excitement, Aneke's 45 minute cameo was about the only moment of note, though a string of excellent saves from veteran Stevenage keeper Chris Day kept the visitors in it in the second period.

Chris Whelpdale missed the only penalty of the shootout, allowing Brandon Thomas-Asante to win it with the decisive penalty, keeping Dons top of their group.

While there were 10 changes to the side which started at Bury on Saturday - the only survivor being Aaron Tshibola - the key focus was on the return of Aneke. Having played a six minute cameo at Gigg Lane, Aneke was handed his first start in six months after hamstring trouble kept him out since March.

With little interest in the Checkatrade Trophy at this stage, Aneke's 45 minute appearance was always set to be the highlight of the evening, and in a largely uneventful first half, it was just about the only silver lining. Limited to only a few sights of goal, the 24-year-old showed signs of rustiness when it came to his finishing, swiping a couple of efforts wide, while bending his best effort just past Chris Day's upright.

Dons best chance of the half though came at the death of the first half when Tshibola, played in by Aneke, saw his effort be cleared off the line by young Stevenage defender Ben Wilmot.

With Aneke replaced by Brandon Thomas-Asante in the second period, Dons certainly provided more of a threat on the Stevenage goal, but it brought out the best from veteran keeper Day. He made a great save to deny Tshibola, who was making Dons tick in midfield, before making a brilliant double stop to keep out Thomas-Asante and Muirhead in quick succession.

Stevenage barely threatened Wieger Sietsma's goal, but a Luke Wilkinson effort from range had the keeper scrambling, while Andronicos Georgiou should have done better from inside the six hard box, somehow heading over.

At 42, Day was proving age was nothing but a number when he made another incredible save with three minutes remaining to deny Seager, sending the game to spot kicks.

Chris Whelpdale's penalty was the only one to miss when he thumped Stevenage's third against the cross bar, leaving Thomas-Asante to fire home Dons' decisive fifth to wrap up the two-point victory for Robbie Neilson's side.

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley
Attendance: 2,031

MK Dons: Sietsma, Kasumu, Williams, Walsh, Lewington, McGrandles, Tshibola (Logan 77), Nesbitt, Aneke (Thomas-Asante 46), Muirhead (Nombe 83), Seager
Subs not used: Nicholls, Rasulo, Logan, Asonganyi, Bird

Stevenage: Day, Wilkinson, Whelpdale, Beautyman (Georgiou 62), Wootton (Newton 46), Gorman (Pett 77), Conlon, Toner, Ferry, Slater, Wilmot
Subs not used: Fryer, Smith, Franks, Field

Booked: Toner, McGrandles, Nombe