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MK Dons put on a dominant performance at Stadium MK…

MK Dons claimed a valuable victory over Walsall with four second-half goals to add to Emre Tezgel's brilliantly worked opener.

Max Dean was an immediate handful after coming on in the second half, instantly winning and then scoring a penalty.

Alex Gilbey and Joe Tomlinson continued their fine goalscoring form by fishing off two lovely team moves before Max Dean stabbed home from a corner to make it five.

Mike Williamson made one change to the XI that played at Edgeley Park last week, with Cameron Norman coming into the side in place of MJ Williams.

Dan Kemp was also fit enough to make the bench after picking up an injury against Crewe, with Brooklyn Ilunga dropping out of the squad.


Alex Gilbey had the opening chance for MK Dons after around four minutes, the captain flew down the wing and drove past Donervon Daniels but couldn’t create a clear opportunity to shoot with the ball eventually ending up in the side netting.

Minutes later Walsall had their first chance, Mo Faal ran towards the MK Dons’ defence and got a shot away from just inside the box but dragged his effort wide.

With ten minutes played Taylor Allen managed a shot from distance for the Saddlers, but his effort was always going wide and didn’t trouble Michael Kelly.

Not long afterwards Mo Faal had a brilliant chance for Walsall, the forward managed to break away from Daniel Harvie and was one-on-one with Michael Kelly in the Dons’ penalty area. The Irish shot-stopper then pulled off a brilliant save high to his left to deny the striker and keep the scores level.

In a back-and-forth first half it was then MK Dons who had a chance to score, Alex Gilbey again found joy on the left-hand side of the pitch before racing to the byline and sending a ball into the danger zone. No Dons player was able to get on the end of it though and Walsall managed to clear.

The Dons continued to look positive as the half progressed, Stephen Wearne combined brilliantly with Alex Gilbey to set the midfielder up on the edge of Walsall’s area but his shot was deflected into Jackson Smith’s arms.

MK Dons took a short corner in the 25th minute with the ball finding its way out to Jack Payne on the edge of the area. The midfielder set himself to shoot but his driven effort was always rising over the crossbar.

Five later the Dons had scored! Lewis Bate worked the ball out to Joe Tomlinson on the left wing who then sent a fizzing cross in towards Alex Gilbey in the Walsall area. The captain brilliantly headed the ball onto a waiting Emre Tezgel who steered home from close range. 1-0.

In the 32nd minute Walsall had a chance to respond, Emmanuel Adegboyega sent a dangerous ball into the MK Dons box for Mo Faal to attack but Cameron Norman did well to get there ahead of him and head the ball away.

A few minutes later Stephen Wearne and Lewis Bate strung a quick series of passes together in the Walsall half before playing the ball into Joe Tomlinson. The wing-back took a touch before shooting but couldn’t connect cleanly and saw his effort easily collected.

Walsall fashioned a great opportunity with a couple of minutes left of the half, the Saddlers found space on the left-hand side of the pitch and broke with pace. A floated ball was looking for Mo Faal who was arriving in the area but Daniel Harvie and Michael Kelly communicated well and the keeper was able to come out and take the ball away from danger.

MK Dons immediately went down the other end of the pitch and had a chance to double their lead, Kyran Lofthouse combined well with former Gateshead teamare Stephen Wearne and managed to lay the ball off for the attacker to hit. Wearne thumped his first-time effort goalwards from just outside the area but Jackson Smith did well to get a hand to it.


MK Dons had the opening chance of the second half. Lewis Bate played a pinpoint ball out to Joe Tomlinson on the left-hand side of the pitch. The defender fired a ball into Stephen Wearne who was arriving late in the area, but the forward was well marshalled by Emmanuel Adegboyega.

The Walsall defence were struggling to pick up Stephen Wearne’s runs as the forward created another shooting opportunity moments later. This time he cut onto his left foot from just outside the area and sent a curling effort over the bar.

Mike Williamson then made his first changes of the afternoon, with Max Dean and Ethan Robson coming on for Emre Tezgel and Jack Payne.

Max Dean had been on the pitch all of 30 seconds before winning a penalty! The young forward did brilliantly well to get past David Okagbue and was clear through on goal before being brought down by keeper Jackson Smith. Smith went down injured after the foul, meaning Max Dean had to wait an age to take the spot kick. The wait didn’t impact the MK Dons striker though, who stepped up calmly to slot home into the bottom left corner from 12 yards. 2-0.

Dean continued to cause chaos in the Walsall half and pressured Okagbue into giving the ball away just outside the area. He squared the ball to Alex Gilbey who curled his effort agonisingly wide.

30 seconds later though the midfielder had another chance, and this time he scored! Max Dean again gave Walsall’s defenders something to think about with a great run, before laying the ball off to a sprinting Gilbey who broke through into the area. The midfielder showed his composure to slot past Jakcson Smith into the bottom right corner and give the Dons a three-goal advantage. 3-0.

With around 20 minutes to play Mike Williamson made another double change, with Dean Lewington and Dan Kemp replacing Daniel Harvie and Stephen.

Not long afterwards Lewis Bate nearly opened his MK Dons account, the midfielder had the ball laid off for him perfectly by Kyran Lofthouse on the edge of the area but sent his low shot just wide.

With 15 minutes to play the Dons added a fourth! Max Dean was showing absolutely no signs of rustiness after his injury and held the ball up fantastically in the Walsall half. The forward could rely on Joe Tomlinson who was making another fantastic run and met Dean’s pass emphatically to thump home into the corner. 4-0.

Mike Williamson then made his final change of the afternoon, with Lewis Bate coming off for MJ Williams.

With ten minutes to play MK Dons had a fifth! Cameron Norman came up with a big header at the back post after a Dan Kemp corner and sent the ball back into the six-yard box. Max Dean was alert in the area and stuck the ball home from close range to claim his second the Dons’ fifth. 5-0. 

Five minutes later Kemp thought he’d scored a sixth! The midfielder shimmied along the edge of the Walsall 18-yard box to find a shooting opportunity and let fire with his left foot, only to see it fly over the bar.

MK Dons saw out six minutes of stoppage time with little incident to claim a fantastic victory at Stadium MK.


MK Dons: Kelly, Norman, O’Hora, Gilbey (C), Payne (Robson 54), Tomlinson, Harvie (Lewington 69), Tezgel (Dean 54), Wearne (Kemp 69), Lofthouse, Bate (Williams 76)

Subs: Marschall, Harrison

Goals: Tezgel 28, Dean 59, Gilbey 62, Tomlinson 75, Dean 78


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