• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Oxford United 1 (Mousinho 89), MK Dons 2 (Smith 44, Grigg pen 84)

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 17, 2022

OXFORD United go into the international break stewing on a defeat after conceding late in both halves against MK Dons.

Matt Smith opened the scoring just before the interval, moments after Marcus Browne and Cameron Brannagan struck the woodwork in quick succession.

Will Grigg then fired an 84th-minute penalty into the top corner, having won the spot-kick himself, before John Mousinho gave United hope with a late header.

But MK held on to take their first points at the Kassam Stadium, while the U’s drop to 19th in their final game for a fortnight.

Karl Robinson made two changes to the line-up that began the defeat to Plymouth Argyle, with Browne and John Mousinho promoted to the starting XI. There was also a milestone appearance for Cameron Brannagan, playing his 200th match for the club.

Ciaron Brown moved to left wing back as Lewis Bate and Steve Seddon dropped to the bench, where Gatlin O’Donkor was preferred to Slavi Spasov.

Former U’s winger Nathan Holland was unavailable due to injury, but Oxford-born midfielder Josh McEachran returned to the MK starting line-up.

Fans, players and staff observed the minute’s silence and National Anthem before increasing the volume in the early minutes of the game.

It quickly died down in a laboured opening half an hour, although Brown almost got his head to James Henry’s sixth-minute cross in a rare opportunity.

The U’s controlled possession but occasionally lost it in dangerous areas, with Sam Long and Mousinho making good covering tackles early on.

Daniel Harvie sent a 20-yard effort straight at Simon Eastwood midway through the half and it was the closest either side came until the 35th minute.

That changed when MK goalkeeper Jamie Cumming missed Billy Bodin’s free-kick and the ball found its way to Kyle Joseph. The striker hit it on the rise and fired over from six yards.

A half lacking in quality exploded into life three minutes before the break, though, as United missed two big chances.

Henry barrelled through and the ball broke to Browne, who only had Cumming to beat from 12 yards. The forward struck the post and the rebound came out to Brannagan, with the midfielder smashing against the crossbar.

It soon proved costly, as MK went up the other end and Dawson Devoy played in Smith to his right. The midfielder fired powerfully across Eastwood, leaving Mousinho helpless as the shot cannoned off him and into the net.

Brown then headed off target at the back post as MK went in ahead at the break, with head coach Liam Manning bringing on Joshua Kayode for Matt Dennis when the teams re-emerged.

Joseph went close again six minutes after the interval, almost getting on the end of Brown’s brilliant low cross after pinball in the box.

United were struggling to exert pressure on the visitors’ goal and Browne took matters into his own hands just after the hour mark, turning his man and shooting from 25 yards. Cumming could only push the powerful effort away and Joseph sent the rebound over the top.

Robinson switched things up as Bate and Tyler Goodrham replaced Stuart Findlay and Bodin, with Goodrham going out to left wing back and Brown moving into the centre.

Bradley Johnson replaced McEachran moments later, before Henry broke forward and fired wide from 20 yards.

Both sides made substitutions with 12 minutes left as O’Donkor replaced Joseph and Manning swapped Grigg for Conor Grant.

The striker made an instant impact, as he ran onto a through ball after United lost possession and went down under Eastwood’s challenge.

Grigg picked himself up and fired into the top corner to put the result beyond doubt – or so it seemed.

Mousinho got on the end of Bate’s pinpoint free-kick to halve the deficit in the penultimate minute of the 90, before the fourth official signalled five minutes of stoppage-time.

United suddenly looked dangerous and they had a big handball shout turned down, before O’Donkor stole the ball off Cumming and sent a cross just wide.

Brannagan then fired over as the U’s threw everyone up for a corner, with Browne then overhitting a late cross with Henry screaming for it in the centre.

Oxford United (3-1-4-2): Eastwood, Long, Mousinho, Findlay (Bate 64), McGuane, Henry, McGuan, Brannagan, Brown, Browne, Bodin (Goodrham 64), Joseph (O’Donkor 78).

Unused subs: McGinty, Anderson, Seddon, Gorrin.

Booked: None.

MK Dons (3-4-2-1): Cumming, Tucker, O’Hora, Lewington, Oyegoke, Devoy, McEachran (Johnson 67), Harvie, Smith, Grant (Grigg 78), Dennis (Kayode 46).

Unused subs: Ravizzoli, Lawrence, Jules, Burns.

Booked: McEachran.

Referee: Andrew Kitchen (Durham).

Attendance: 8,141 (715 visitors).