MATCH REPORT Stevenage 2 MK Dons 1

Francois Zoko chases for the ball with Dean Lewington

Francois Zoko chases for the ball with Dean Lewington - Credit: Archant

Boro come from behind to beat MK Dons to reach next round of Johnstone’s Paint Trophy

Stevenage 2 MK Dons 1

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy

Stevenage came from behind to beat MK Dons in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Shaun Williams had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the first-half only for Francois Zoko and Filipe Morais, also from the spot, to turn the tie on its head and put Boro through to the next round.

Stevenage made five changes from Saturday’s home defeat to Coventry City, including the inclusion for the first time in a Stevenage shirt of striker Francois Zoko who was signed last week.

With neither Lee Hills nor Roarie Deacon in the matchday squad, Peter Hartley started at left-back with Luke Jones drafted in to partner Jon Ashton in defence.

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MK Dons almost took the lead after five minutes, with Boro having Chris Day to thank for tipping Darren Potter’s 25-yard strike on to the bar.

Boro had started the match with a high tempo, with Filipe Morais linking up well down the right with Lucas Akins, but Day was again called into action on 13 minutes, this time saving with his feet after Patrick Bamford had danced through to the Stevenage box.

Boro thought they had taken the lead midway through the half, only for Akins’ effort to be ruled out for offside. He was played in by Michael Doughty, who had burst into the box before laying off the ball, but Akins was beyond the last man and was pulled up as he fired past Ian McLoughlin.

In the end it was Mk Dons that went ahead, and it was the second time in the space of 10 days that they were awarded a penalty against Stevenage.

The referee blew for a foul with Luke Freeman pulling back Izale McLeod on 25 minutes, and from the spot Shaun Williams sent Day the wrong way to put his side in front which is how it stayed until half-time.

The Dons had the first chance of note of the second half, Daniel Powell taking the ball across the face of the box before firing wide of the target.

Stevenage, though, then pegged their guests back. Doughty was the provider, swinging his foot at the ball, before Zoko helped it on its way past McLoughlin.

Boro had begun the second period on the front foot, and when Akins had a sight at goal soon after Zoko’s equaliser his fierce effort was sent just over the crossbar.

Zoko had had a reasonable first half, but he had come out of the changing rooms at the break fired up.

He was chasing defenders and making runs, and when he made his way into the box with Morais on the ball on the right, the front man was bundled over by Williams when the cross came his way.

That Doughty was putting the ball in the back of the net as the referee blew for a penalty was of no consequence, as Morais stepped up to put his side ahead.

Stevenage had the bit between their teeth, and moments later a Morais pull-back allowed Simon Heslop the chance to put his side further ahead only for the midfielder to be denied by a superb block by George Baldock.

Boro had been enjoying a spell of dominance, but the visitors almost pulled level with 20 minutes to go. Dons boss Karl Robinson had made three changes with McLeod, Smith and Powell making way for Giogio Rasulo, Samir Carruthers and Jason Banton, and it was the latter who forced Day into a low save at his near post.

Boro then made two changes themselves, with Don Cowan and Bruno Andrade coming on for Zoko and Akins, and Andrade almost made an immediate impact from a corner only for his shot from 20 yards to hit the bar.

With the game heading into the last 10 minutes, the match had to be halted when the sprinklers came on at the edge of the MK Dons box.

McLoughlin took the interruption in good spirits, putting his foot over the spraying water, before a minute later the game resumed.

At one end of the pitch McLoughlin had been having fun in the water, but at the other end Day was soon called into action to make a superb, one-handed save from Bamford to keep the visitors at bay and put Boro through to the next round.

Stevenage: Day, Smith, Hartley, Jones, Ashton, Heslop, Doughty, Akins (Andrade 74), Freeman, Morais (Wedgbury 80), Zoko (Cowan 74). Subs: Arnold, Burrow.

MK Dons: McLoughlin, Lewington, Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Smith (Rasulo 64), Reeves, McLeod (Carruthers 64), Bamford, Powell (Banton 64), Baldock. Subs: Galloway.

Ref: F Graham

Att: 1,456

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