REPORT: MK Dons 1-2 Bradford: Dons defensive woes exposed by efficient City
MK Dons' luck ran out on Tuesday as once again their defensive frailties were exposed by an efficient Bradford City team who won 2-1 at Stadium MK.
In almost a carbon copy of their 2-2 draw with Millwall on Saturday, Dons conceded early after a messy opener, which was eventually turned in by Josh Cullen on 11 minutes.
With Dons at sixes and sevens at the back, Billy Clarke capitalised and made it 2-0 barely four minutes later as the home side capitulated.
But they grew into the game in the second half, though in truth the Bantams didn’t have to do anything in the attacking third.
Ed Upson scored a late consolation goal, but it was too late as Dons were handed their first defeat of the season.
Following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Millwall, Karl Robinson named an unchanged side, with the only change being Samir Carruthers as he returned to the substitutes bench.
Dons looked shaky on Saturday when the ball was pitched into the box, and the same was the case again on Tuesday night as they once again found themselves trailing early in the game. Mark Marshall had already shown glimpses of a threat, but when he burst past Dean Lewington to cross, David Martin could only flap at the ball and it brought about a strange turn of events. Billy Clarke tried to get a toe on it, but it pitched up and his George Baldock’s hand before it was eventually poked home by Josh Cullen.
Having fallen 2-0 behind in their previous two outings, it came almost as little surprise when Billy Clarke doubled Bradford’s advantage as he got in behind Downing and with a touch to settle himself, lashed the ball past Martin with consummate ease after just 16 minutes.
In truth, despite MK Dons having more of the ball in the first half, Bradford never looked in trouble. In fact, they were unfortunate not to be three ahead by half time, but it was a fine save from Martin to deny Mark Marshall initially, and another vital block from Downing denied Hiwula as the home side struggled to cling on for half time.
Dons were dealt a blow just before the break though as Darren Potter was replaced by Samir Carruthers two minutes before half time.
And the substitute had an almost immediate impact after the break, playing a wonderful ball over the top of the defence for Agard, but he was drowned out by the Bradford defence before he could lift it beyond Colin Doyle.
Dons continued on the front foot as they chased the game, but were undone by Bradford’s stern defences. GC Williams saw two shots blocked, and Ed Upson struck the upright as the home side tried to force the issue in vain.
Bradford hadn’t conceded a league goal since April 19 heading into the game at Stadium MK, and it was clear to see why as they marshalled the home side so effectively out of the game.
Upson did eventually poke home deep into stoppage time after Dean Bowditch’s header came back off the bar which was probably what the home side deserved, but Bradford were good value for the win.
Referee: Andy Haines
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Walsh, Downing, Baldock, Potter (Carruthers 43), Upson, GC Williams (Bowditch 64), Powell, Agard, Maynard
Subs not used: Nicholls, Wootton, GB Williams, Rasulo, Thomas-Asante
Bradford City: Doyle, Meredith, Law, Vincelot, Marshall (Dieng 82), Clarke (Anderson 73), Hiwula, Cullen, Knight-Percival, Devine, McMahon
Subs not used: Sattelmaier, Rabiega, Webb-Foster, Boateng
Booked: Knight-Percival, Walsh