What ever happened to Dons striker Charlie MacDonald?

Charlie MacDonaldCharlie MacDonald
Charlie MacDonald | Getty
The journeyman striker is still banging in the goals in non-league

At just 21-years-old, Charlie MacDonald was mixing it in the Premier League with Charlton Athletic, but within six months was in the non-leagues with Margate. His climb back through the leagues, racking up more than 150 league goals is a remarkable one, but perhaps he is not best remembered for his 18 month spell at MK Dons.

Following his time at Margate, MacDonald spent time at Stevenage and Crawley before finding his scoring boots at Ebbsfleet, sticking away 40 goals in 62 appearances. That spell earned him a return to the professional game with Southend before a move to Brentford followed. Three years at Griffin Park saw him make more than 100 appearances for the Bees, and 45 goals too.

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After missing out in the play-off semi-finals in 2011, Sam Baldock had turned down a move to Peterborough in the summer and started the new campaign like a house on fire, with six goals in as many games, including a hat-trick against Chesterfield. When then West Ham boss Sam Allardyce came calling for the striker late in August, Dons were left scrambling for a striker and looked to MacDonald to replace Baldock, spending around £35,000 on the front man.

And he could not have made a better start. Taking over where Baldock left off, MacDonald scored in each of his first three games for the club. MacDonald led the line and topped the score chats with 11 goals as Dons once again slipped up in the play-off semi-finals, this time to Huddersfield Town.

The signing of Ryan Lowe from Sheffield Wednesday that summer meant Dons, on paper, had a potent front line. But Karl Robinson's preference to only play one striker meant chances were few and far between for MacDonald to stake a claim to a starting spot. While MacDonald had scored just twice in the run-up to Christmas, Lowe found his scoring boots in December with five in six. When Leyton Orient came calling for MacDonald in January, Dons agreed to release the striker to join the O's until the end of the season.

From there, he went to Oldham for the 2013/14 season and was part of the growing trend of having former players scoring against Dons, netting in the game in February. But scoring just five goals in 30 appearances, MacDonald was released and dropped out of the Football League to join former Dons boss Martin Allen at Barnet, where he scored on his debut. Spells at Boreham Wood and St Albans followed, and he continues to ply a trade in the lower levels. Having played for Greenwich Borough and Cray Wanderers, MacDonald, now aged 39, is still a regular for VCD Athletic in the BetVictor Isthmian South East Division, and has scored 14 goals in 34 appearances this season.

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