Pitiful Dons well beaten by Accrington Stanley

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A poor MK Dons side lost for a second League One game in a row as they were put to the sword by lowly Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Despite Kieran Agard's first goal of the season giving Dons an unlikely lead after 18 minutes, Accrington controlled the tempo throughout, and were fully deserving of their first win of the season. And it should have been by more.

Ryan Harley

Ryan Harley

Colby Bishop converted seven minutes after the restart as the home side continued the momentum they built at the end of the first half, before Mark Hughes' header on the hour mark put Stanley ahead. Bishop should have had a second on 64 minutes, but saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Lee Nicholls.

For all Dons did not deserve a point for their efforts, they should have had one when Rhys Healey poked past Dimitar Evtimov in stoppage time, only to be adjudged offside, though replays suggest he was in line.

The result, Dons' third defeat in five, sees them remain 15th in the table.

After the excitement and drama of the Carabao Cup draw, which sees European champions Liverpool heading to Stadium MK in September, focus returned to the pitch as Paul Tisdale made five changes to the side which started against Southend in the 4-1 win at Roots Hall – Lee Nicholls returned in goal, Baily Cargill and George Williams came in at the back, with Hiram Boateng and Ryan Harley in midfield. After making their first starts of the season on Tuesday, both Alex Gilbey and Rhys Healey kept their places.

Kieran Agard

Kieran Agard

Despite only picking up a single draw in their opening five games this season, Stanley started the brighter against Dons. Looking to strike early, it was the home side who had the majority of the ball and twice got in behind, only to be denied by last-ditch challenges by Joe Walsh.

Very much limited to the counter-attack, Dons' front line looked limited to long chases over the top. But against the run of play, they took the lead doing exactly that on 18 minutes, with Kieran Agard firing home his first of the season, latching onto Healey's ball over.

While the goal gave Dons a foothold in the game, Accrington thought they had equalised nine minutes later but Joe Pritchard's strike clipped the underside of the bar before it was hoisted away by Cargill.

Dons made it to half time in front, but Accrington were very much in the ascendency without really able to find the target or test Nicholls.

They completely flipped the game on it's head though in the opening 15 minutes of the half as they not only got on level terms but took the lead too. Colby Bishop may not have known much about his goal as he converted after Jordan Clark's shot hit the post into his path. Mark Hughes then headed Stanley into the lead on the hour mark as Dons looked completely at sea in the second period.

It could and should have been done and dusted four minutes later when a needless challenge on Pritchard from Cargill offered referee Ross Joyce no option but to point to the penalty spot. Nicholls though dived to his left to deny Bishop his second and Accrington's third.

Despite making changes to match Accrington's 4-4-2 man for man, Dons did little to show any signs of getting back into the affair.

Incredibly though, in stoppage time Dons thought they had got back on level terms when Healey broke clear and beat Evtimov, only to see his strike chalked off by the offside flag.

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 2,218 (318)

Accrington Stanley: Evtimov, Johnson, Hughes, Sykes, Clark, Finley, Pritchard (Carvalho 78), Francis-Angol, Bishop, Conneely, Charles (Edwards 90)

Subs not used: Bursik, Sherif, Maguire, Barclay, De Sousa

MK Dons: Nicholls, Walsh, Cargill, Williams, Brittain, Lewington, Gilbey (Bowery 58), Boateng, Harley (McGrandles 74), Healey, Agard (Nombe 64)

Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Martin, Houghton

Booked: Gilbey, Healey, Johnson, Lewington, Nombe, Carvalho, Finley