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Rovers 2 MK Dons 1

25 November 2017

Matty Blair hit the winning goal as Rovers came from behind to claim all three points against MK Dons in Sky Bet League One.

It was a very quick start at the Keepmoat Stadium, but it certainly wasn’t the one that Rovers were looking for, with the visitors taking the lead with the very first attack.

George Williams burst down the right-hand touchline enabled him to create enough space to cross into the area, with Chuks Aneke lurking at the edge of the area.

He controlled well to turn and strike low past Ian Lawlor, to hand the Dons the lead inside three minutes.

The visitors then had four good chances to extend their lead following their quick start.

First, Ed Upson’s free kick from the edge of the area was struck low, but Lawlor got down to save.

The next attack saw three attempts in a matter of seconds for the visitors, with Aneke capitalising on a Joe Wright slip, but he had two shots saved by Lawlor, before Upson fired over from the edge of the area.

Dons looked like they meant business, and that short period was a huge let-off for Rovers.

Niall Mason had Rovers’ first meaningful chance of the game, as he looked to catch out Lee Nicholls in the visitor’s goal, striking a low effort from 30 yards out, but the Dons’ keeper was able to collect at the second attempt.

The visitors came forward and almost doubled their lead through Scott Golbourne, with the ball flicking up nicely for the left-back, volleying from just inside the area but striking the base of the far post.

Once again the Dons came forward, and once more Lawlor came out on top though, this time Peter Pawlett got in behind down the right and forced the Irishman to save down low to his left.

Rovers came out firing in the second half, as they looked eager to get back on terms.

First, Ben Whiteman struck a free-kick over the wall, but Nicholls was able to claim comfortably.

Substitute Alfie Beestin was next to try his luck, cutting inside from the right and firing low past the near post.

Beestin made an immediate impact, and he had a huge part in Rovers claiming the equaliser.

John Marquis’ shot from the edge of the area was deflected wide, presenting James Coppinger with the opportunity to put a corner into the box.

The captain’s corner was met by the head of Beestin, who nodded the ball down for Marquis to fire past Nicholls and get Rovers back on level terms.

Whiteman next went close, as he worked some space on the edge of the box, but he could only strike into the hands of Nicholls.

Milton Keynes then missed a golden opportunity to go back in front, with Lawlor the hero for the home side.

Good work down the right between Golbourne and Pawlett enabled the latter to swing a cross in for Agard.
The striker’s header looked destined for the far corner, but Lawlor produced an outstanding one-handed save to keep the scores level.

The scores would not stay level for too much longer though, as Rovers took the lead for the first time in the game, and again it was Beestin who was involved.

He received the ball from Mason, and his deft flick through the Dons’ defence found his fellow sub, Matty Blair, who slotted low underneath Nicholls and into the back of the net.

The visitors had one last chance to get back on level terms, with substitute Aidan Nesbitt getting in behind Wright, but he could only fire wide of Lawlor’s near post.

Rovers closed the game well though, and were great value for their win, with Marquis almost going close in injury time too, striking just over the bar.

Rovers now face Rochdale away in the Checkatrade Trophy, before an Emirates FA Cup second round clash with Scunthorpe United at the Keepmoat.

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