REPORT: MK Dons 2-0 QPR: Dons dominate Rangers
A dominant second half saw Dons pick up a vital three points against QPR on Saturday winning 2-0.
After a drab first 45 minutes, Dons were by far the more lively in the second period as Dean Lewington smashed home the opener five minutes after the restart.
Late goal have been in regular supply of late, especially against Dons, but it appeared they’d squandered their chance when Josh Murphy won, and subsequently missed a penalty six minutes from the end.
But when Rob Hall was felled in stoppage time for their second spot kick, Ben Reeves made sure of the result.
With Rotherham picking up an unlikely win at Hillsborough, beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0, Dons vital victory keeps them three points clear of the relegation zone in 21st.
Defender Joe Walsh suffered a hamstring injury on Thursday, ruling him out for around a month. It meant a recall for Antony Kay at the heart of the defence, playing alongside the returning David Martin, who himself has overcome a hamstring problem which kept him out of the last two. Having scored in his last two appearances, Alex Revell started up front.
The first half was far from a classic. Neither side really asserted themselves in the final third, and without much room for creativity in midfield, it stifled any sort of smooth play.
QPR played a high pressing line, and it smothered both Darren Potter and Jake Forster-Caskey, leaving them to play long balls in a bid to get Revell in behind, or to use him as a target. While he won his fair share of headers, the striker was fighting something of a losing battle against Grant Hall and Gabriele Angella.
At the other end, Abdenasser El Khayati, who QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink picked up from former cub Burton, was Rangers’ liveliest outlet, but twice fired well off target, leaving Martin trouble free.
The game showed more signs of life in the opening five minutes of the second half than it did in the entire of the first, and it led to Dons taking the lead. Revell had a header cleared off the line and Jonny Williams stung the palms of Alex Smithies with a low drive before Dons’ opener came from an unlikely source.
Dean Bowditch took advantage as the QPR defence went to sleep on the left flank. Waiting patiently for an opening, he spotted Dean Lewington’s late surge into the area. Rolling the ball perfectly into the skipper’s stride, he took a touch before blasting it past Smithies to put Dons in the driving seat.
And they continued on the front foot as QPR remained sluggish. Some great build-up play saw Williams and Revell get into some great positions, but the second goal was proving illusive. And the fragility of a one goal lead was hammered home when Lewington threw himself in the way of James Perch’s goalward strike with 13 minutes to go as QPR began to edge their way back into it.
Dons though were given a huge opportunity to put the game to bed with five minutes to go when Murphy proved too quick for Paul Konchesky, who swung a leg at the winger and brought him down in the box. Referee Keith Stroud pointed immediately to the spot, but getting up to take his own penalty, Murphy’s attempt from 12 yards was tame, easily saved by Smithies who dived low to his left.
But there was no chance he was saving Dons second penalty of the afternoon, which sealed the win in stoppage time. Rob Hall this time was caught in the box, and substitute Ben Reeves, who had only been on the field a matter of minutes, left nothing to spare as he smashed in Dons’ second to complete the victory.
Referee: Keith Stroud
MK Dons: Martin, Baldock, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Forster-Caskey (Reeves 90), Potter, Williams (Carruthers 75), Bowditch, Murphy (Hall 86), Revell
Subs not used: Cropper, Spence, Reeves, Powell, Maynard
QPR: Smithies, Onouha, Angella, Hall (Konchesky 46), Perch, Tozser (Phillips 58), Henry, El Khayati, Luongo, Chery (Poulter 70), Washington
Subs not used: Ingram, Faurlin, Pertasso, Diakite
Booked: Forster-Caskey, Murphy, Henry, Carruthers