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Match Reports
MK Dons v Spurs, 25.10.06


Mido, 35, 59
Defoe, 43, 51
Keane, 89

Referee: - Mr K. Stroud

Attendance: - 8,306

MK Dons (4-4-2):- Baines; Smith, Diallo, O’Hanlon, Lewington; McGovern, Andrews (Capt.), (sub Edds, 62) (armband to Smith), Wilbraham, Dyer (sub Crooks, 69); Plattt (sub Taylor, 69), McLeod

Subs not used: - Bankole; Hastings

No Bookings

Spurs (4-4-2):- Cerny; Stalteri, Davenport (sub Dawson, 46), Gardner, Ziegler; Ghaly, Huddlestone (sub Lennon, 69), Davids (Capt.), Murphy; Defoe (sub Keane, 80), Mido

Subs not used: - Fulop; Berbatov

Booked: - Huddlestone

My correspondent from AFC Wimbledon got his wish – a spanking for the Franchise team that is MK Dons. However, the truth is that Spurs played in a fragmented fashion for most of the first half. In the last ten minutes of this period though, the Premiership quality shone through, thanks to goals by Mido and Defoe, both of whom added to their tally in the second half to ensure an ultimately very comfortable and convincing scoreline. The hosts can take plenty of pride from this game though, with Izale McLeod proving a handful all night, testing Radek Cerny (and the woodwork on one occasion) with a series of shots. I for one would not have begrudged MK Dons, and particularly McLeod a consolation goal.

Martin Jol made 7 changes from Sunday’s starting line up, but still managed to field a strong side. Robinson, Chimbonda, King, Ekotto, and Jenas were rested completely, and Dawson, Lennon, Berbatov and Keane were held in reserve on the bench. Thus the entire defence was different, with Radek Cerny, Stalteri and Gardner getting their first starts of the season. Edgar Davids took the Captain’s armband, in the absence of King, Robinson and Keane from the starting side.

The conditions were not as wet as seen in other parts of the country, and the rain soon stopped after kick-off, for which the mass of Spurs fans in an uncovered stand were grateful! Sadly, due to massive tailbacks on the M1, many visitors were only able to arrive at half-time.

McLeod gave Spurs an early test with a race into the area, requiring an excellent saving tackle from Anthony Gardner. Cerny was called into action after 7 minutes, when Platt was allowed too much space outside the area, and hit a shot on target. Davids was the first Spur (we played in our chocolate strip tonight) to give Baines something to consider, when he hit a curler from fully 30 yards, that missed by a distance, despite a curl towards the goal. Baines was to have far sterner tests later in the evening, such as Jermain Defoe’s shot that was saved just inside the keeper’s right post.

After 21 minutes, Spurs struggled to clear their lines, and it was Davids misplaced pass that led to Plattt’s shot causing Cerny to dive, as the shot went just wide. Stalteri was perhaps unfairly punished after 24 minutes, and Dyer hit a free kick over the bar, in front of the Spurs fans, who at this stage may have feared a shock lead for the home side. Tom Huddlestone got the only booking of the night as he and Calum Davenport challenged the advance of Dyer, but soon after that, Spurs took a lead following an attacking throw on the right. Ziegler crossed from the left, and Mido provided a real touch of class in front of the near post with a left foot rising shot on the turn that hit the roof of the net.

After one or two more threats from McLeod, with Davenport getting a good work-out, Spurs doubled their lead, with Mido turning provider with a lovely touch down the middle, which Defoe carried into the area and cleverly flicked over the advancing keeper to score his 100th goal in club football. When interviewed after the game, Jermain dedicated both his goals to a 7 year old lad suffering from Leukaemia, thus retrieving considerable lost ground with the press.

Michael Dawson replaced Davenport for the second half, and was part of a defence that had to look on as Lewington curled a free kick just wide. Lewington was dubbed “Mick Hucknall” by some of the Spurs contingent and got a bit of a ribbing for the rest of the night. Lewington did also get voted the MK Dons Man of the Match though, despite McLeod’s efforts.

Defoe got his second goal in the 51st minute, after good work by Ghaly and Tom Huddlestone, playing his third game in 7 days. Ghaly found his way into the right side of the box, passed back to Huddlestone, who flicked the ball over the top, where Jermain had got behind the defence and made a clever low finish under the keeper. 8 minutes later, it was 4-0, when Defoe got a ball down the left channel, and saw his shot saved by Baines. The ball ran out as far as Mido, who struck firmly home from 15 yards. A rout was on the cards, not least because Defoe nearly scored immediately, after a 1-2 with Danny Murphy, before hitting a shot that beat the keeper, but passed in front of the far post. Tom Huddlestone hit a powerfully driven effort on 61 minutes, which was parried and collected by Anthony Gardner, blown offside before he could compose himself to shoot. Baines gave a Davids shot the same treatment, but this time the defence cleared for him.

To their credit, MK Dons never gave up, and had several decent chances to score. After 77 minutes, from a cross from the right, the ball ran to Wilbrahams, whose shot was tipped over by Cerny. Then that man McLeod hit the foot of the post, although the offside flag was raised, and any goal would not have counted. Cerny then had to literally slap the ball away after a little scramble in the goalmouth, when the final touch was again from McLeod, who has scored 7 goals this season, and is being watched by several clubs.

Substitute Robbie Keane got on the score-sheet for only the second time this season, when a long ball was poorly back headed, and Robbie took full advantage to slip the ball under poor Baines. Still the Dons had not given up, as they had a late free kick that just glanced wide off the Spurs wall.

The draw for the next round has already taken place, and the Football gods have looked kindly upon us, with a home draw against Port Vale. The 4th Round matches are to be played in just two weeks time.

· Please beat the Franchise Doppelgangers.
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.

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