City recorded a fantastic away victory at high flying MK Dons this Tuesday evening to bounce back in style from the recent defeat to Swindon.
Aaron Mclean headed in his second goal of the season from Billy Knott’s corner and a couple of minutes later Billy Clarke fired in from 18 yards following Antony Kay’s error. The Dons brought themselves back into the contest just before half time when Dean Lewington lashed home the loose ball after Jordan Pickford hadn’t held Samir Carruthers free kick but The Bantams worked hard in the second half to record a brilliant victory.
Phil Parkinson made two changes to begin with from the side that were beaten by Swindon Town at the weekend with Aaron Mclean coming in for Billy Clarke and Christopher Routis coming in for the suspended Alan Sheehan. James Hanson however, pulled out in the warm up meaning Clarke came into the starting line-up alongside Mclean.
The hosts went close to opening the scoring inside the first couple of minutes when Kay headed Ben Reeves’ corner towards goal but with Pickford seemingly beaten, Stephen Darby was on hand to head the ball clear of the goalmouth.
On the counter attack in the early stages, City looked a real threat through Mclean and Clarke, both of whom had chances early on. After Mclean had seen a half volley saved by Dean Martin, he then saw a follow up effort bounce over and onto the roof of the net. Billy Clarke created a chance of his own from nothing a few minutes later after beating a couple of men and driving forward before seeing a low shot held by Martin.
MK had their next decent chance of the game through winger Daniel Powell who escaped the attentions of Stephen Darby and Jason Kennedy before cutting inside and forcing Pickford into a tidy save with a firm shot from an angle inside the box.
A few minutes later City took the lead through Aaron Mclean on his return to the starting line-up; from Billy Knott’s in swinging corner, Mclean lost his marker in the area and made sure the ball found the net, even if it was with a perfectly legal combination of head and shoulder.
With the hosts just about dusting themselves off, they conceded another as the Bantams raced into a two goal lead. Antony Kay gave the ball away in his own half, trying to switch play his pass was intercepted by Clarke who drove forward and despite having options to his right and left he opted to go alone and he fired an excellent low drive from 18 yards into the bottom corner.
A few minutes after Rory McArdle had mad an excellent block to steer fellow Northern Irishman Will Grigg’s shot clear of goal, MK got themselves back into the game with a goal from captain Dean Lewington. After Darby was booked for a mis-timed tackle on Powell, from the resulting free kick taken by Carruthers, Pickford spilled the delivery and the ball popped up to Lewington who fired in from close range.
The Dons finished the first half strongly as they looked to turn the game around and they began the second half on the front foot also. The first chance of the second half came through the hosts and it was Ben Reeves who went close with a low drive after playing a neat one-two with former Aston Villa man Samir Carruthers.
Karl Robinson’s men were undoubtedly going to have spells of pressure in the second period as they looked to recover from going two goals down early on and Powell had their next shot in anger from just outside the area after Dele Alli had done all the groundwork down the left hand side and teed him up.
City were outstanding all over the field and Mark Yeates had had a very capable performance in the midfield and after seeing a long range shot held by Martin after Gary Liddle had picked him out with a pass, he really should’ve done better with his next attempt. The visitors launched a superb counter attack down the right hand side and after substitute Filipe Morais had got into the area his cut back was met by Yeates but the Irishman’s first time shot was held relatively comfortably by Martin.
With ten minutes of the 90 remaining hearts were in mouths as the hosts came within inches from an equaliser. Dean Bowditch’s near post corner was helped on by Kay and as Grigg approached to help himself to a tap in, Pickford dove on the loose ball merely half a yard from his goal line amongst a melee of players in the area.
MK pushed and pushed in an attempt to break down a resolute City back-line and the introduction of leading scorer Benik Afobe from the bench almost paid off late on. Twice within the five minutes of additional time, the former Arsenal forward went close to grabbing a last gasp equaliser. First after receiving Kyle McFadzean’s pass he saw a shot blocked by Christopher Routis in the area before seeing a follow up effort deflect wide.
There was another chance for the hosts before the full time whistle was sounded and it was a gilt edged one that was wasted by Darren Potter. Tom Hitchcock fired a vicious ball across the six yard box and the ball popped out to Potter but his rising effort from 12 yards went comfortably over the bar to let City off the hook in the dying seconds.