REPORT: Stevenage 0 MK Dons 2

Graham Westley giving instructions

Graham Westley giving instructions - Credit: Archant

Boro’s season ends with defeat to MK Dons

Stevenage 0 MK Dons 2

npower League 1

Stevenage’s league campaign limped to a close on Saturday with a dreary defeat at home to an MK Dons side just going through the motions.

Boro boss Graham Westley said afterwards that the visitors did not have to work for their victory, and he was right.

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Although they had some decent chances in the first-half, and were unlucky to go into the break behind, Boro offered very little in an attacking sense in the second half and Karl Robinson’s Dons strolled to victory.

In some ways it was a match that summed up Boro’s season – promising at the beginning, but when things went against them in the second half the performance became weary and dispirited.

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There was a first start of the season for Matt Ball in midfield while Chris Day retained his place in goal ahead of Steve Arnold, while there was also a start for Marcus Haber in place of the suspended Dani Lopez.

Bondz N’Gala, alongside Mark Roberts in defence, lasted just five minutes as he pulled up with a hamstring injury after chasing Patrick Bamford into the Boro box, with the MK man firing low at Day.

N’Gala was replaced by Emher, before at the other end Ball tested Ian McLoughlin in the MK goal with a low drive.

It took another 20 minutes for the next effort on goal, and it came from the boot of Luke Chadwick who fired over from 20 yards following a burst through midfield.

The away fans were making plenty of noise and Graham Westley joined in with their fun, firstly by cupping his ear as they shouted abuse at him before then applauding the home supporters after they had retaliated with a burst of song in praise of their side’s manager.

When MK went ahead on 31 minutes, it came from the head of Bamford; the visitors worked the ball out to the left, and Shaun Williams found Bamford who out-jumped Ehmer to flick a header past Day and into the goal.

Ball then went close again after being set up by Haber, but his shot lacked precision and it went straight towards a grateful McLoughlin.

The goal had stirred something in Boro and they went on to have their best spell of the game.

Firstly Akins headed wide from a corner and then Roberts had two wonderful chances but his first was saved by McLoughlin before he sent his second wide of the far post from 14 yards.

By the start of the second half, the momentum had gone. Mistakes crept in and passes went astray, although MK Dons were initially unable to punish the hosts.

That League 1 conjurer Stephen Gleeson had a long distance strike, which Day saved, before Boro replaced the ineffectual Akins with debutant Joe N’Guessan.

Day then made a superb save from an Antony Kay header with 15 minutes to go, getting down low to get one hand behind the ball to keep it from going over his line.

The visitors pressed and they scored their second with 13 minutes to go.

Roberts, bleeding from a nose injury, had just come back on to the field after treatment and before he knew it the ball was at his feet with two MK Dons players in close proximity.

One of those was substitute Ryan Lowe, and he stole the ball before he rounded Day to score.

There was still time for N’Guessan to fire wide from distance, but by that time the game, and Boro’s season, was pretty much over.

Stevenage: Day 7, Gray 6, Charles 5, N’Gala (Ehmer 5, 5), Roberts 6, Dunne 6, Mahon 4, Ball 6 (Tansey 69, 4) Freeman 5, Haber 4, Akins 3 (N’Guessan 58, 5). Subs: Arnold, Grant, Hoskins, Smith.

MK Dons: McLoughlin 6, Ostemobor 5, Kouo-Doumbe 6, Williams 6, Gleeson 8, Potter 6, Bowditch 6, Powell 5, Kay 6, Chadwick 7 (Lowe 66, 6), Bamford 7 (Alli 71). Subs: Smith, McLeod, Galloway, Lines, Rasulo.

Ref: David Phillips

Att: 3,801

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