MK Dons were 1-0 winners against Burton Albion this afternoon
After a host of missed chances in the first half, Watters got on the end of Matt O’Riley’s 65th minute ball to earn the three points, keeping Dons fifth in the standings.
Following Tuesday night’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Stevenage, where Liam Manning made six changes to his side, Dons reverted back to the side which comfortably saw off Cambridge United a week prior, with one exception. Harry Darling, suspended following his red card at the Lamex Stadium, missed his first game in an MK Dons shirt since signing back in January, and was replaced by Aden Baldwin.
With Max Watters in fine form in front of goal, it was something of a surprise that he didn’t convert in the first half, especially with the three chances he had. The first came after just two minutes, but when the shoot looked on, he pulled it back across for Scott Twine but it was behind him. Watters then saw an effort cleared away after he lofted the ball past keeper Ben Garratt, before scooping an effort wide after Twine and Matt O’Riley combined.
Unable to break the early deadlock, Dons allowed Burton to establish themselves in the game but contributed to their own problems with some sloppy passing in their own half, gifting away possession to the Brewers. Andrew Fisher though remained relatively untested though Daniel Jebbison would’ve wanted to do better when he poked just wide of the upright.
Watters again would fizz one across the face of goal before a spectacular effort from Peter Kioso had Garratt at full-stretch as it went just over the top.
With the sides fairly well-matched, there was little between them in the second half either, but in the end it would be quality in front of goal which would be the difference.
Speaking on Friday, Watters said his typical goal is a break in behind the defence, and after seeing his first-half chances go unfinished, he eventually got his reward. O’Riley’s perfectly weighted pass allowed the 22-year-old to shrug off his marker to get into the box, and after drawing out the keeper, slid the ball past Garratt to give Dons the lead on 65 minutes.
The goal did little to settle the game, with the midfield scrap only enhancing, though Michael Mancienne could think himself lucky to remain on the pitch after an awful tackle from behind on David Kasumu only earned him a booking.
Burton’s huff and puff towards the end of the game made the finale a nervous one, but ultimately Dons ground it out to claim their third win in a row in League One to remain in fifth spot.
Referee: Neil Hair
Attendance: 9,770 (424)
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O’Hora, Baldwin, Kioso, Harvie, McEachran (Boateng 64), Kasumu, O’Riley, Twine, Watters (Eisa 84)
Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Jules, Martin, Ilunga, Tripp
Burton Albion: Garratt, Borthwick-Jackson, Bostwick, Powell (Patrick 80), Shaughnessy, Jhebbison, Taylor, Leak, Maddox (Hemmings 45), Hamer, Mancienne (Lakin 80)
Subs not used: Balcombe, Akins, O’Connor, Gilligan,
Booked: Hamer, Kasumu, Hemmings, Mancienne