MK Dons fall to defeat at the hands of ruthless Peterborough United


Embed from Getty Images

What a contrast to twelve months’ prior for Liam Manning and MK Dons supporters. With their side sitting at the wrong end of the League One table with no obvious reasons for optimism, troubling times lay ahead…

Even after a welcome two-week break courtesy of the international window, Milton Keynes Dons failed to take any advantage of the chance to gel and work on the training pitch, seeing themselves on the receiving end of a mauling by Peterborough United.

Grant McCann’s side, minus a frenetic injury-time rally, romped home to an easy 2-3 victory, despite the score line looking remarkably closer than it should have been.

It has been an odd start to the season for the Dons, putting in both abject and excellent displays in the opening games of the 22/23 campaign.

The atrocious performance against Peterborough will fall under the former category and fans must be left wondering what happened over the two-week hiatus.

When the two teams left the pitch at the end of the first half, boos rang around Stadium MK given what the home supporters had seen.

Little did they know that worse was to come as Liam Manning’s men looked lost without any cohesion or understanding of each other, truly emphasising the footballing cliché “eleven strangers on the field”.

The second half failed to improve and as the fourth official signalled four minutes additional time to be played, the Dons finally kicked into life for the first time in the match, scoring two completely undeserved consolation goals thanks to a composed finish from wing back Daniel Harvie and a deft chip from midfielder Matt Smith.

Embed from Getty Images

The goals certainly flattered the hosts and with the match in its dying embers, the Buckinghamshire outfit did have one final throw of the dice into the penalty area, however the visitors held firm and cleared, taking the spoils back to the Weston Homes stadium.

It is almost to the disbelief of supporters how poorly a team can transition in one transfer window, following the return of loanees and sales of Scott Twine and Harry Darling to Burnley and Swansea City respectively.

The Dons lack any sense of potency and the match statistics back up the fractious displays.

Having earned a cool eight million minimum from transfers alone in the summer window, the money for investment had to be there and available to be made in the squad.

To lose the League One Player of the Year and top scorer, star centre back and key midfielders was always going to be a tough, tough task to replace.

However, in came a trio of untried English League players in Darragh Burns, Dawson Devoy and Matt Dennis as forward options with Jack Tucker filling the defensive void. To say that the incumbents are not a patch on the ability of their counterparts of the previous twelve months would not be too far from the truth.

Embed from Getty Images

As we enter October with ten matches played, the Dons find themselves in 20th place, one point above the relegation zone having lost 60 percent of the games.

Having scored just eleven goals from the opening matches, only Morecambe (8), Fleetwood and Oxford (both with 9) have scored less.

The stats have been masked by two displays; away to Morecambe where the Dons won 0-4 and in the recent game against Peterborough, where two completely undeserved goals rather sugar-coated the result.

It is a tough ask for supporters to return week-in, week-out to see their team muster what can only be described as laboured displays, and attendances have certainly showed this.

Unable to create any momentum through the phases, it is a hard watch so far and it is to nobody’s surprise that fans have voted with their feet.

Having seen attendances rise over 15,000 at times during the 2021/22 season, seeing under 6,000 home bums on seats in a recent home clash against Bolton Wanderers, the lowest for three seasons, must surely be a grave cause for concern in the Boardroom at MK1.

Embed from Getty Images

Whenever a football club suffer a poor run of results, eyes turn to the Manager and it is usually the man in the hotseat who ends up carrying the can. What must be asked is who was responsible for the signings over the previous window.

Was it Head Coach Liam Manning’s final say on the players currently gracing the Stadium MK turf? Holding the title of Head Coach would suggest differently, and the finger may well end up pointing towards Director of Football Liam Sweeting.

Whoever it was that had the final say, the issue needs to be looked in to and addressed. Accountability and acceptance of the situation could be what the fans are looking for. Lessons need to be learnt, but that cannot happen without first accepting the errors.

Ironically, seconds before the full-time whistle went against Bolton, a deafening fire alarm rang aloud for all to hear. Some are left wondering whether it was the seasons bell tolling with only eight games played. Now with ten matches in the bank and still no signs of improvement it is safe to say, Milton Keynes face worrying times ahead.

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt


About Author

Covering Milton Keynes Dons football, Northants Steelbacks Cricket and the England International side also.

1 Comment

  1. A fair assessment of the current MKD situation. Where has the money gone from the sale of Twine and Darling ? The summer replacements are of a lowly League 2 standard. Who is to blame ? Winkleman ? Sweeting ? Manning ? Whoever it is, they need to own up and admit they’ve got it wrong.