Match Details: 23/03/2019
Milton Keynes Dons 2-0 Yeovil Town
EFL League Two
Yeovil Line-Up: 3. Carl Dickinson, 4. Gary Warren, 5. Bevis Mugabi, 8. Matt Worthington, 10. Jake Gray, 12. Nathan Baxter, 13. Francois Zoko, 15. Gabriel Rogers, 21. Joshua Grant, 23. Tom James, 25. Alex Dobre,
Subs: 1. Stuart Nelson, 2. Adel Gafaiti, 9. Alex Fisher, 16. Tristan Abrahams, 18. Yoann Arquin, 26. Daniel Ojo, 27. Ryan Seager
Substitutes Used: Ryan Seager for Tom James (61 mins), Alex Fisher for Francois Zoko (61 mins), Daniel Ojo for Carl Dickinson (68 mins)
Yeovil Town went down to their tenth defeat in the last twelve matches, as promotion-chasing Milton Keynes Dons picked up a 2-0 victory on their home soil. The Glovers went behind early on during the first half through former Exeter City player Ryan Harley, who fired home from the edge of the box for a 13th minute lead. But after Yeovil tried to work their way back into the match during the second period, the crucial moment came eight minutes from time when Chuks Aneke scored a superb solo goal to finish the game off, and leave the Glovers just two points off the drop, with Macclesfield Town drawing to pull a point closer.
The Glovers went into the match making six changes to their starting line-up, along with numerous other positional changes, to present almost a brand new outfield. Gabriel Rogers got his first Football League start, whilst Carl Dickinson, Jake Gray and Gary Warren came in from the cold. They lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, against a Milton Keynes side that saw Kieran Agard play as a lone striker, as former Glover Lawson D'Ath sat on the bench as an unused substitute.
Two tame attempts on goal at either end opened the chances on goal, with Kieran Agard giving Nathan Baxter an easy touch of the ball, whilst Francois Zoko's header went straight into Lee Nicholls' arms from a Gabriel Rogers cross. But the Glovers were having to put in a number of late defensive blocks, notably when Bevis Mugabi stopped a Dean Lewington shot, sending the ball out for a corner.
Based on the early play, it wasn't too surprising when the home side took the lead. A free kick into the box was only half cleared, with the ball falling to Ryan Harley on the edge of the box. He fired through a crowd of players, and into the bottom right hand corner, giving Nathan Baxter little chance of getting a hand on the ball, as the Glovers fell 1-0 down.
Milton Keynes were forced into an early change, as Alex Gilbey was forced off injured, with Conor McGrandles replacing him. The Glovers back four were getting very little possession, as they were picked apart with ease, whether down the flanks or through the middle, with the midfield offering little protection for them. Ryan Harley almost had a second goal when Josh Grant slipped inside the box, giving the attacker room to shoot, but his angled attempt was saved by Nathan Baxter.
Yeovil were offering little up front, with Francois Zoko incredibly isolated in the 4-3-3 as the two supporting players hugged the touchline. They achieved little in the way of attacking chances, with a Tom James free kick going around 15 foot over the crossbar, quickly followed by an Alex Dobre attempt that was almost as wayward. Zoko was doing better than them in terms of his direction, but when he twisted and turned inside the box to get himself room, the only player in an attacking position was himself, and he couldn't quite pull off the shot, as Nicholls saved again.
The home side finished the half with two deserved bookings - David Wheeler for an awful tackle on Jake Gray that a few other referees could have dished out a red for, whilst Jake Hesketh's dive inside the box was laughable for a team that were in good control of the game - there was no need for him to try to con the referee. Despite their domination, presumably Paul Tisdale felt he needed to make a half time change, with Wheeler withdrawn - maybe to protect himself - as Chuks Aneke entered the scene as a second striker.
Conor McGrandles and Kieran Agard got early chances for Milton Keynes during the second half, with McGrandles denied by a sliding tackle from Carl Dickinson that took the ball out for a corner, whilst Gary Warren deflected Agard's effort in the same direction. But Yeovil were a little brighter and more attack minded during the second period, and they really should have forced a shock equaliser when Alex Dobre's wing play saw a left-wing cross to Francois Zoko. Unfortunately for him, the striker's first time shot sliced off his boot and a yard wide of the target, continuing his poor run of form this season.
Just past the hour mark, two changes were made, with Zoko coming off, along with an out of sorts Tom James. They were replaced by Alex Fisher and Ryan Seager, as the Glovers revised their formation to play with two up front, with Gabriel Rogers playing a more central role in behind the front two, as a 4-3-1-2. The change appeared to upset the home team, as Matt Worthington shot wide, whilst a Rogers corner kick saw Lee Nicholls entirely miss the ball, with only a crowd of defenders stopping Yeovil from getting their boot on the ball for what was for a short time a gaping net.
Sadly that 15 to 20 minute period of Glovers pressurisation didn't last. Milton Keynes began to suss out the new shape Yeovil were operating, regained control of the ball, and began to take play back into the other half of the pitch. Given that brief positive spell, the game's clinching goal eight minutes from time was an extreme disappointment. From wide on the right flank, Chuks Aneke danced his way across the face of the penalty box, reaching the left side of the area, before giving himself room to fire home for that crucial 2-0 lead.
That was pretty much it, with Yeovil having run out of steam, in a game that overall they deserved to lose, even if Zoko's main effort could have made things more interesting. Defeat leaves them just two points away from the relegation zone, with them now on a run of form that has seen them lose ten of their last twelve games. Deeply rooted in 22nd place in the table, the single point for Macclesfield Town pushes Yeovil slightly closer to the danger zone, and you start to wonder where the next point is coming from.
Link: 2018-19 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Milton Keynes Dons 2 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Ryan Harley (1-0, 13 mins), Chuks Aneke (2-0, 82 mins)
Milton Keynes Dons:
1 Lee Nicholls
16 Russell Martin 25 Callum Brittain 4 Joe Walsh 3 Dean Lewington
8 Alex Gilbey 24 Jordan Houghton
21 David Wheeler 33 Ryan Harley 11 Jake Hesketh
14 Kieran Agard
6 Ousseynou Cissť (71 mins for Callum Brittain) 7 Ryan Watson 10 Chuks Aneke (46 mins for David Wheeler) 18 Conor McGrandles (15 mins for Alex Gilbey) 19 Robbie Simpson 20 Lawson D'Ath 22 Stuart Moore
12. Nathan Baxter
21. Josh Grant 5. Bevis Mugabi 4. Gary Warren (Capt) 3. Carl Dickinson
8. Matt Worthington 23. Tom James 10. Jake Gray
15. Gabriel Rogers 13. Francois Zoko 25. Alex Dobre
1. Stuart Nelson (GK) 2. Adel Gafaiti 9. Alex Fisher (61 mins for Francois Zoko) 16. Tristan Abrahams 18. Yoann Arquin 26. Daniel Ojo (68 mins for Carl Dickinson) 27. Ryan Seager (61 mins for Tom James)
Milton Keynes Dons Bookings: David Wheeler (foul, 38 mins), Jake Hesketh (diving, 43 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: None
Milton Keynes Dons Match Statistics: Possession: 58%; Shots: 15; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 6; Fouls: 9.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 42%; Shots: 11; Shots On Target: 3; Corners: 4; Fouls: 11.
Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire). Assistants: Adrian Waters (London) and James Mainwaring (Lancashire). Fourth Official: Darren England (South Yorkshire).
Attendance: 7,593 (with 345 Yeovil Town supporters)