REPORT: Peterborough 2-0 MK Dons: Disastrous second half start costs Dons dearly

Match report
Match report

Two goals in seven second half minutes ensured MK Dons left the Abax Stadium empty-handed as Peterborough won 2-0 on Tuesday night.

After an even-pegging first half, where both sides cancelled each other out, the home side burst out of the box in the second period with goals from Ryan Tafazolli and Marcus Maddison doing the damage, ensuring Dons slumped to their fourth defeat of the campaign.

Robbie Neilson made four changes to the side which won at Plymouth, but it was a significantly different shape which lined up against Peterborough. Playing three at the back, Dean Lewington returned to the starting line-up, as did Aaron Tshibola, Kieran Agard and Ryan Seager. Osman Sow dropped to the bench, while the biggest news of all came in the form of Chuks Aneke being named among the substitutes for the first time in six months. The second half circumstances though meant he wouldn't be called upon.

In previous years, this game was fiercely contested both in the stands and on the field, but this encounter lacked the venom and ferocity. Patient play from both sides led to a game suited to the defenders, while any midfield play was broken up by petty fouls, which referee Carl Boyeson was more than keen to award.

Posh, flying high in the division after a strong start to the season, played most of their game down the left flank through Gwion Edwards, and the tricky winger was the only one to really test Lee Nicholls in the opening half, though his teasing ball into the mixer was more through hope than expectation.

At the other end, Ryan Seager's only sight of goal was swiped over the bar, Aaron Tshibola fired one wide and Alex Gilbey stung the palms of keeper Jonathan Bond.

After a wishy-washy first half, Peterborough came out for the second half a different animal, and less than two minutes after the restart had the lead. Lee Nicholls felt he was being shoved around by Jack Marriott at the corner as Ryan Tafazolli's header beat everyone to find the back of the net.

It was 2-0 six minutes later as Dons' capitulation continued. Tshibola gave the ball away cheaply 20 yards from goal, and with no real urgency to get up, allowed Marcus Maddison to take aim from the edge of the box, bending in Peterborough's second.

The barrage at the beginning of the half forced Neilson into immediate action, making a triple substitution as he introduced Osman Sow, Aidan Nesbitt and Robbie Muirhead as Dons reverted to a familiar formation.

But the change did little to ease the nerves of the now under-fire defensive line. At sixes and sevens at times, Dons' back-line were caught out far too often as Posh sought to draw them in before hitting on the counter. And but for Nicholls denying Marriott and then Ricky Miller in quick succession, the home side could have been high and dry much earlier.

The three substitutes did their level best to get Dons back into the occasion, but it was an uphill task. Nesbitt and Sow both looked to be having joy with the ball at their feet, while Muirhead was winning his fair share of headers and managed to test Bond from close range.

But with the game returning to it's first half parity after Dons' earlier meltdown, they would never find a breakthrough to give them a chance in the latter stages.

Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 6,465 (369)

Peterborough: Bond, Shephard, Hughes, Tafazolli, Edwards (Da Silva 76), Forrester, Miller (Kanu 78), Maddison, Marriott (Morias 86), Doughty, Taylor
Subs not used: O'Malley, Baldwin, Lloyd, Anderson

MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington (Nesbitt 56), Wootton, Brittain, Golbourne, Cisse, Gilbey, Tshibola, Seager (Sow 56), Agard (Muirhead 56)
Subs not used: Sietsma, Ariyibi, Aneke, McGrandles