Story of the game as Doncaster Rovers dig deep for first away win of the season at MK Dons

Doncaster Rovers have made progress over the last week but are still hunting the victory to kick-start a survival push in League One.

Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 5:11 pm
Stadium:mk, home of MK Dons

Their latest attempt to do so takes them to one of the season’s form teams, MK Dons, and we will be bringing you all the action as it happens from Stadium:mk.

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LIVE: MK Dons 0 Rovers 1

Last updated: Saturday, 22 January, 2022, 17:06

MATCH DETAILS

GOAL: Dodoo (41)

MK DONS: Cumming; Watson, Lewington, O’Hora, Twine, Eisa, Corbeanu, Coventry (Wickham 75), McEachran, Parrott (Boateng 75), Harvie. Subs: Ravizzoli, Baldwin, Bird, Ilunga, Davies.

ROVERS: Jones; Knoyle, Younger, Olowu, Horton; Galbraith (Seaman 44), Smith; Agard (Bogle 55), Rowe, Martin; Dodoo. Subs: Mitchell, Blythe, Ravenhill, Hasani, Barlow.

REF: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

What. A. Win

What an effort. What character. What spirit. What fight. What determination.

Rovers have worked their socks off for 90 minutes to get their first away win of the season and climb off the bottom of the division.

The first half was far from pretty but they took a rare chance and went in front.

And after the break they battled, threw themselves in front of everything and used the ball much more smartly to see off of the division’s very best footballing sides.

What will this do from here?

5.01pm ALL OVER!

And it’s an absolutely huge win for Rovers!

Wow!

90+3min Another save

Another Scott Twine, not a great one and he sends the ball into the hands of Louis Jones.

90+3 Yellow card

Aidan Barlow, Doncaster Rovers

90+2min Huge save

Scott Twine loops a free kick over the wall from the edge of the box and Louis Jones pushes the ball away. Then a couple of headers take the danger away.

4.56pm Added time

Five minutes

Hold onto your butts

84min Should definitely be two

Charlie Seaman robs the ball high up the pitch and charges clean through. He takes a while to get his shot away and it is saved by Jamie Cumming in the MK Dons goal. Should have scored.

83min Almost absolute calamity

Branden Horton did well to get something in the way of a cross from Theo Corbeanu. It looped up and Ollie Younger ducked out of the header for Louis Jones to claim. Except Jones was not expecting him to do so and watched the ball bounce through his own legs and look to be heading over the line until Kyle Knoyle hooks it away.

82min Substitution

Aidan Barlow replaces Josh Martin

81min Yellow card

Branden Horton, Doncaster Rovers

80min Into the last ten

The pressure is coming from the hosts but Rovers are standing up well so far.

75min Double change

Connor Wickham and Hiram Boateng come on for MK Dons in place of Conor Coventry and Troy Parrott.

73min Yellow card

Josh McEachran, MK Dons

McEachran then attempted to suggest Tommy Rowe had headbutted him but the referee didn’t agree.

70min Big shout for handball

The hosts are incensed as Branden Horton touches away a cross with what certainly appeared to be his arm. A let off for Rovers.

58min Yellow card

Joseph Olowu, Doncaster Rovers

56min Should be two

It could easily have been an immediate impact for Bogle who rose at the back post to meet a corner but could not get a good connection on his header.

55min Substitution

Omar Bogle replaces Kieran Agard.

And Agard gets a warm round of applause from the home faithful. He is the third highest scorer in the history of MK Dons.

49min Cut out

Ollie Younger darts across the face of goal to power away Theo Corbeanu’s centre and prevent the danger for Rovers. Corbeanu had got in clear down the left.

47min Block

Matt Smith gets across to block as Tory Parrott lines up a shot. The Tottenham loanee took an age to get his effort away and Smith took advantage.

4.10pm Back underway

Scott Twine takes the kick-off for MK Dons

Would you believe it?

They’ve been comfortably second best for the majority of this game so far and have looked very sloppy in the main. But they’ve taken one of very few chances very well and lead at half time.

It was a fantastic finish by Joe Dodoo that has given them a platform now.

But they will have to be much better in possession if they are going to withstand inevitable pressure from the hosts, who have had plenty of joy down the Rovers left through Theo Corbeanu.

Not pretty, but a fantastic position to be in at this stage.

3.54pm That’s the break

And Rovers lead 1-0 at half time thanks to Joe Dodoo’s excellent goal.

45+4min Goal-saving challenge

He made one early in the game and he’s made an even better one on the stroke of half time. Kyle Knoyle stretched in to make a challenge and hook the ball away as Scott Twine looked set to slot in from close range. The hosts wanted a penalty but it never looked anything more than an excellent challenge from Knoyle.

45+2min Big save

Louis Jones is in the right place at the right time to pluck a Mo Eisa header out of the air. Daniel Harvie powered in a cross for the hosts and Eisa rose in plenty of space. Had he put it either side of Jones, it would likely have been a goal but Jones was well placed to react.

3.48pm Added time

SIX minutes

44min Substitution

Ethan Galbraith has picked up an injury and is forced off with Charlie Seaman coming on.

Rowe and Smith will sit, with Seaman on the right flank.

42min Could have been two

Another attack for Rovers and another with Martin at the centre of it. This time he holds onto the ball, gets into the area but drills over the bar from a good position.

41min GGGGGOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! ROVERS!!

JOE DODOO!!!

Rovers were under plenty of pressure but broke away when Josh Martin robbed the ball 30 yards from his own goal and surged forward into the opposition half. He then played in Dodoo on the right, who cut to the corner of the box and drilled into the far bottom corner.

They’ve been second best but they’re ahead!

40min Close

And it’s Matt Smith on the line to block a goalbound header.

39min Wide

Theo Corbeanu, who has been the hosts’ main outlet, gets on the ball on the right and powers towards the byline before drilling into the middle where it’s turned wide for a corner

29min More danger

MK Dons remain on the front foot and it takes a succession on blocks to prevent them from taking the lead. Joseph Olowu dives in to block one effort, Louis Jones pushes away another before Tommy Rowe makes the final intervention.

28min Breakaway

MK Dons break clear from Rovers’ corner through Theo Corbeanu down the right. He gets the ball inside but Joseph Olowu makes a vital block to prevent the ball being turned home by Troy Parrott.

27min Big chance

Rovers push forward well with Josh Martin initially carrying the ball forward. It goes to Matt Smith and then out wide to the onrushing Kyle Knoyle who clips in a deep cross which Joe Dodoo meets with a rasping volley which MK Dons keeper Jamie Cumming tips wide.

26min Poor so far

The game itself has hardly been a thrilling spectacle. The hosts have had the better of the ball but have not managed to fashion anything of particular note from it.

And Rovers have lacked fluency all over the pitch. Passing and touches have been poor, and there seems to be indecision over whether to play patient and cautious football, or push the ball forward early.

24min Awkward

Scott Twine goes for goal from 25 yards and the bobbly effort is a bit of a tester for Louis Jones, but he gets behind it.

23min Back underway

Ollie Younger now has a large bandage on his head and play can go on.

20min Younger down again

He’s still bleeding from the head wound so it’s another break in play.

18min Over the bar

MK Dons win a free kick close to the byline, delivered in by Theo Corbeanu. Ollie Younger gets in the way of it and sends it over the bar for a corner.

16min A shot

Scott Twine finds space for a shot inside the Rovers box. Ollie Younger gets a touch on it and it’s a simple save at his near post for Louis Jones.

The hosts are certainly having the better of the ball, as you’d probably expect. Rovers are struggling to get hold of it.

10min Early battle scars

New boy Ollie Younger is already receiving treatment for a cut to the head.

9min Well over

Mo Eisa fires well over the bar from 30 yards.

7min Stunning challenge

MK Dons looked set to open the scoring when Tory Parrott sent Mo Eisa through with a lovely touch forward. But Kyle Knoyle raced across and made a brave sliding block just inside the area as Eisa shaped to shoot. Vital. Excellent.

5min Nothing much of note so far

It’s all been a bit bogged down in the middle of the park so far. MK Dons have had a couple of forays down the right side but nothing to particularly get the pulses of the home support racing.

3.03pm Underway

Kieran Agard takes the kick-off and we are up and running

The team is in

And it’s ONE change from the side that started against Cambridge as Ollie Younger comes in for his debut, replacing Charlie Seaman who drops to the bench.

New goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell is on the bench.

The hosts

Patchy pitch

The playing surface here at Stadium:mk is a little patchy in places and there’s been plenty of watering going on in the last few minutes.

And it’s really cold.

Martin’s quick Dons return

Rovers loanee Josh Martin spent the first half of the season with MK Dons until being recalled to be sent to the Eco-Power Stadium by parent club Norwich City.

He will be determined to show the Dons what they have been missing after managing only 12 appearances.

On the swift reunion, Martin said: “It was written in the stars, wasn’t it.

“I’ll go into the game, give it my all and try to get the three points.”

Dons boss wary of Rovers threat

Liam Manning: “I watched them against Cambridge the other night and they could have been ahead at half-time. It’s going to be a tricky game.

“They have made a lot of additions, which naturally gives you a lift. They have points to prove and lots of things going for them which make them dangerous.”

McSheffrey expecting a tough test

The Rovers boss said: “It was a good win at home against (MK Dons) but they are a good team, full of energy and with a front three who are all lively and clever players.

“We will have to be really organised but we go there off the back of a couple of good performances. The players will be well up or it.”

Team talk

There could very well be another debut for Rovers this afternoon with Ollie Younger likely to come into the side for the first time since his switch from Sunderland.

He is set to partner Joseph Olowu in defence which would open the door for Kyle Knoyle to return to right back and Charlie Seaman drop to the bench.

Elsewhere, other changes are unlikely given the improvement in performance over the last week.

Loanee Josh Martin makes a quick return to Stadium:mk, where he was on loan until the start of the week.

MK Dons could have a couple of debutants of their own after bringing in Conor Coventry and Connor Wickham this week. Midfielder Coventry joined on loan from West Ham with striker Wickham signing a deal until the end of the season.

It will be interesting to see how the Dons cope with the loss of midfield talisman Matt O’Riley, who has joined Celtic in the last couple of days.

Pre-match viewing

You can watch the latest Q&A with our Rovers writer, recorded on Friday evening, by clicking HERE.

Pre-match reading

Here is the view on the opposition from MK Dons writer Toby Lock - which was done prior to Matt O’Riley’s departure to Celtic.

Opposition View on Doncaster Rovers' next opponents MK Dons

They have often been the nearly men when it comes to the race for the League One play-offs but MK Dons look well-placed for a top six finish this season.

Rovers have delivered much improved performances in their last two outings but the necessity for victories only grows stronger. Here is Gary McSheffrey on the balancing act of encouraging improvement but chasing wins.

Doncaster Rovers boss on balancing improving performances with necessity of winning matches

Gary McSheffrey admits Doncaster Rovers cannot afford to turn in positive performances without picking up results in the long term as they look to secure survival.

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