Scott Fraser’s first-half goal against former club Burton Albion helped Milton Keynes Dons to an important three points on Saturday as they won 2-1 at the Pirelli Stadium.
A goal 15 minutes into each half ended Albion’s seven-game unbeaten run as Scott Fraser put the Dons ahead from the penalty spot early on. Warren O’Hora turned home the match-sealer after the break before Lucas Akins hammered home a consolation spot-kick late in the game.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink named one change to the side that was held to a 1-1 draw with Blackpool on Tuesday night as Welshman Terry Taylor came into the line-up in place of injured striker Danny Rowe.
The Dons went unchanged from their midweek victory over Plymouth Argyle. Captain Dean Lewington celebrated his 800th appearance in all competitions for the Buckinghamshire side.
Story of the match
The visitors started far brighter and had racked up three corners before the 10-minute mark. They moved brilliantly in the final third but could not find an opening in the early stages as the Brewers packed men behind the ball.
Ex-Brewer Fraser executed a neat corner routine alongside Matthew O’Riley five minutes in. O’Riley evaded an oncoming defender before firing a blistering cross into the penalty area. The 20-year-old’s delivery was met well by Harry Darling in front of goal, but his effort sailed just over the crossbar.
The Dons’ consistent pressure paid dividends after 15 minutes when Scotsman Fraser converted a penalty. Referee Ross Joyce pointed to the spot after an O’Riley cross appeared to strike the hand of a retreating defender. Fraser placed the spot-kick towards the bottom-right corner and found the net after a significant touch from goalkeeper Ben Garratt.
Albion eventually found their feet and enjoyed a decent spell in front of goal around the midpoint of the first period. Ryan Edwards looked to be particularly threatening on the flanks as Hasselbaink’s men began to ask questions of the Dons defence. Things would not fall into place for the hosts, who struggling to make inroads towards the danger area.
Burton had their first real chance at goal as the first half drew to a close. Taylor swung a free-kick in from wide on the right wing, where an awaiting John Brayford was making a darting run onto the end of the delivery. The 33-year-old’s header was poor and looped upwards, but the awkward angle still forced gloves-man Andy Fisher into an uncomfortable punch to clear.
Albion dominated the opening exchanges of the second half and within minutes of the restart had forced Fisher into a mesmerising double-save. Lucas Akins’ effort from close-range was parried down to the feet of Kane Hemmings, only a matter of yards out. Unknowingly stood in what would transpire to be an offside position, Hemmings took aim from an acute angle but could only find the relieved grasp of the goalkeeper.
The Dons doubled their lead on the hour mark when O’Hora turned home from a passage of pinball in the penalty area. The opportunity came about from an O’Riley corner, which bounced around the box before Ethan Laird teed the ball up for Irishman O’Hora to turn home his second goal of the season.
Seemingly from nowhere, the Brewers pulled a goal back from the penalty spot. Tom Hamer was brought down in the box as he bore down on goal from a breakaway. Burly forward Akins stepped up and converted by thumping straight down the middle, sending Fisher the wrong way.
With their tails between their legs, Milton Keynes picked up once again with just the one-goal cushion to defend. Resilient defending from a disciplined backline pushed Russel Martin’s men across the line.
Takeaway from the match
MK Dons must not rest on their laurels
After the visitors put home their second goal, they appeared to take their feet off the gas – understandable, considering Burton’s showing hitherto. However, Albion fought on and created a plethora of chances, each of which arguably fell to the wrong man for the job. Akins’ penalty late in the tie kicked the Dons back into gear, but their lead had, of course, been slashed.
Man of the Match
Scott Fraser – Milton Keynes Dons
Scotsman Fraser was unfazed by the occasion of returning to his old stomping grounds, and he put in a good performance in the attacking third which saw him mastermind a plethora of passing moves. Fraser also netted his 11th goal of the campaign.