REPORT: AFC W'don 2-0 MK Dons: Dire defeat in the derby
It may have been the game everyone was waiting for, but the occasion passed MK Dons by completely as they lost on their first visit to AFC Wimbledon, going down 2-0.
There was little to tell between the sides in the first half, but game itself didn't really the atmosphere in the ground. While Dons had the better of the chances in the first, as Harvey Barnes tested James Shea, there was no telling who was the better side in the second.
Jake Reeves capitalised on some poor defending just after the hour as Dons failed to clear a high ball into the box, lashing the opener past David Martin. And it was entirely too easy for Lyle Taylor to wrap up all three points six minutes later as he doubled the lead. And in truth, it was entirely what the home side deserved as Robbie Neilson's side failed to make any real impression on the game in a drab and disappointing night.
Robbie Neilson made two changes to the side which started the 2-2 draw with Rochdale on Saturday, with one goal-scorer coming in in Kieran Agard, replacing Nicky Maynard up front, while Ben Reeves' last minute equaliser wasn't enough to keep him in the team as Darren Potter returned to the centre of the park.
As expected, the hostile atmosphere made for a bubbling occasion. The home side tried to make best use of the fans' early vociferous nature but aside from a Jake Reeves scissor kick, which sailed well over the bar, AFC didn't create a lot for David Martin to be concerned about.
By the same token though, MK Dons didn't do much to trouble James Shea either. After weathering the early storm, Dons found their feet after around 20 minutes, taking the sting out of AFC's early pressure. They did carve the best chance of the game on 27 minutes though as Harvey Barnes, the livewire on Saturday, skipped past two challenges after a ball through from Ben Tilney to unleash a fierce strike which Shea needed to dive to keep out.
But as the sides battled it out, the game failed to really live up to expectation, without the same vigeour and ferocity as shown in the stands.
The second half was following the same pattern as the first, with AFC doing the majority of the leg work. And their pressure paid off on62 minutes when a high ball into the box wasn't dealt with as it was nodded down by Tom Elliot into the path of the busy Jake Reeves, who lashed it past David Martin.
And they doubled the lead six minutes later, and in truth it was entirely too easy. Lyle Taylor brushed aside Ed Upson without much difficulty before breaking into the box and firing across Martin into the far corner of the net.
It took going 2-0 down for MK Dons to begin to force the issue and get on the front foot. Agard came close to pulling one back within five minutes when he poked George Williams' cross goalwards, but Shea managed to get something on it before it was hoisted away by the home defences.
But that was about the limit of their powers. Without a spark or a livewire, they lacked a direction and simply did not look like threatening.
And perhaps more concerning for Dons was how the result leaves them in the table - just six points outside the relegation zone.
Referee: Roger East
AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Meades, Kelly, Robinson, Charles, Bulman, J Reeves, Soares (Parrett 65), Barcham, Taylor (Poleon 79), Elliot (Barnett 90)
Subs not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Fitzpatrick, Barnett, Robertson
MK Dons: Martin, Williams, Downing, Walsh, O'Keefe, Tilney, Potter, Upson (Maynard 80), Barnes, Muirhead (B Reeves 59), Agard
Subs not used: Nicholls, Bowditch, Ngombo, Powell, Brittain
Booked: J Reeves, Upson, Williams, O'Keefe