Review: Five good, five bad – MK Dons (a)

Well, what a win. About time we got over the line after hanging onto a 1-0 win. As it is, we are four points off the play-offs with at least two games in hand on every team between us and sixth. Add that to the fact four of our next five are at home, and the picture is looking pretty promising after that victory. Let’s take a look at five good, five bad.

Five good

  1. The goal

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. The guy gets better every week and oozes confidence. It wasn’t really his night in terms of the referee who gave him absolutely nothing, but he was the match winner again as Sullay Kaikai intercepted the ball, threaded the 24-year-old through and he rounded the keeper to finish with aplomb. That’s now 14 goals in the 25 games since his brace at Burton in October. A striker like Jerry Yates is destined to play higher, and hopefully we can keep hold of him as he approaches the peak of his powers in the next 3-4 years.

2. First league win at MK

We’ve only visited five times in the league since they were founded in 2004, but to get our first win at a place which typically seems to be a bogey ground is a real feather in the cap. We’ve taken six points from a side which has dominated possession against us in both games this year, and disposed of them with minimal fuss.

3. The fashion of the victory

We had a clear game plan tonight. Let them dominate possession in their own half, set a trap and close them down, forcing a mistake. It worked perfectly – no real clear chances for either side on the night, but we come away with the victory. They did hit the bar through Cameron Jerome, but other than that they never really pressured us despite dominating the ball. It was great for us to hold on and we had a real high level of concentration, not giving them much of a sniff and managing to play the majority of the final few minutes in their half. It seemed relentless tonight given MK Dons tried to get the ball back into play as quickly as they could, taking quick free-kicks, goal kicks and throw-ins wherever possible. A well-earned three points.

4. Our form

We’ve been in promotion form since October and have only lost once in ten games, winning seven. If we can keep it up, we’ll finish in the top six.

5. The team selection

Neil Critchley got this one right. He dropped Jordan Thorniley, Demetri Mitchell, CJ Hamilton and Ellis Simms and opted for a 4-5-1 with Elliot Embleton coming in to play behind Jerry. Luke Garbutt came in at left-back, with James Husband shifting to centre-back and Grant Ward and Sullay Kaikai coming into midfield. The fear was that Jerry would be isolated, but we had a perfect side which was ready to capitalise on the counter attack knowing we wouldn’t have much possession. Well played Critch.

Five bad

  1. The commentators

Let’s get this one out of the way. They called us ‘orange shirts’ and their minds kept wandering to other things away from the game, and I would even have considered switching to Chizzy had away commentary been available. Actually, I take that back.

2. The nerves

After being pegged back to 1-1 in both of the home games last week, the last thing we wanted was to hang onto a 1-0 for over an hour. But that’s how it transpired and thankfully we had enough to get over the line. If they’d scored in the second half, it would probably have ended our season with the damage it would’ve done. But only Sunderland have conceded less than us in League One this season, so more often than not we tend to hang on. Given we’ve done it tonight, it should shake away any nerves from the two recent home games.

3. One up front

It’s not the preference for the fanbase and we all miss Gary Goals, so it was a little negative to see five in midfield. In Elliot Embleton, we have another option in a player who can play in the hole behind the striker, and while he had a quiet night at MK, he deserved a chance.

4. The opening 20 minutes

We were way off the pace for the first 10 minutes and Man Utd loanee Ethan Laird was all over us on our left-hand side. We took some time to warm up, but stamped our authority on it and managed to snatch the opening goal which turned the tide.

5. The pitch

Two sides who wanted to play football on the ground, but the pitch was against us. It allowed us to win ugly though and worked against the home side who were wanting to dominate us in midfield. Let’s take the 1-0 and get out of there!

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Published by Tom Johnson

Seaside exile living in Leeds. Been watching the Pool home and away since 2001

2 thoughts on “Review: Five good, five bad – MK Dons (a)

  1. Midfield in all its facets is a problem; at times last night MK just cut through it at will(no Will Grigg pun intended). Things improved when Dougall replaced Virtue, but a lack of cutting edge is also placing too great an emphasis on the opposition missing chances and that we can keep digging in to protect single goal leads. For what it is worth my midfield four would be Stewart, Dougall, Hamilton on the LEFT, and Ward on the right. Although happy to be proven wrong, IMO Virtue, Kaikai, Embleton, Lubala, and Mitchell are not the answer.


  2. So O.K. a wins a win .If you were in court you wouldnot want the judge to sentance you to watch a football match like that again I would sooner have the porridge.Lets be honest the football last night was awful If by some miricale POOL WIN PROMOTION this year they will be coming straight back down playing that kind of football if you can call it football 5yds foreward 3yds square 10 yds back really exciting attacking to watch


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