MK Dons (Away)
League Cup Round 3

Wednesday 25th October 2006

Martin Allen's players will be quaking in their boots, as he has done a grand job of boosting our chances of going through after his charges lost 1-3 to on Saturday and told then that they would get a good stuffing if they played like that against Tottenham.   Added to that he has now put six players on the transfer list to make room to strengthen the squad making everyone nervous about their position at the club.

The franchise side have already beaten Colchester United and Barnsley on their way to this tie, but with some dodgy form (even though they sit sixth in League Two) with 8 games win yet they have lost 5 and have conceded 23 in the process, while scoring 25 goals, so they are pretty loose at the back, although they do score as many goals at the other end.

This might be because their prize possession is striker Izale McLeod, for whom they recently turned down a bid of 1 million from Peterborough United.  Formerly of Derby County, he is strong and good on the ball, which has caused a number of Premiership clubs to eye his signing.  Alongside him, he has either veteran lower league goal-scorer Clive Platt, who plied his trade at Rochdale, Peterborough and Walsall.  He is used to finding himself in the penalty area, but also has a good shot from outside the box, while Aaron Wilbraham is a tall striker, who started at Stockport County before moving to Hull City and Oldham Athletic before settling at the National Hockey Stadium.  A poacher, but one who is also a difficult opponent at set-pieces, he could be a handful for the Spurs central duo.  His physical presence is shown by the fact he has racked up five yellow cards already this season.

Keith Andrews is a tough midfielder who worked his way into the game with Wolverhampton Wanderers and went through Hull City, Stoke City and before he arrived in Milton Keynes.  Lloyd Dyer is another West Midlander who started with West Bromwich Albion before going out on loan and he did not progress as people thought he would, but he showed a good turn of pace and a willingness to cover, so his hard work will be useful to the Dons.  Gareth Edds is a similar player, who started with Nottingham Forest and trod the path to Swindon Town and Bradford before joining the newest club in the League.  Jon-Paul McGovern will probably fill a place in the starting line-up, as his five yellow cards show his tigerish attitude that Martin Allen likes.  Similar in build to his Dad John McGovern (of Derby and Forest in the 1970s), he hasn't quite got the same style, but will get amongst the Tottenham midfield to make it uncomfortable for them.  Junior Lewis was a player Peter Taylor took to Leicester, but he failed to maintain his early success and faded from the upper reaches of the league ladder and is yet to start for the Dons.  Former Bolton Wanderers and Tranmere Rovers midfielder Scott Taylor has lost some of the pace he had as a younger player, but still possesses a good range of passing and is good with a dead ball.  Former Boro youngster Gary Smith might play, but has not been chosen since the start of September, so would only come into replace those who might be on their way out.

Adolfo Baines did not distinguish himself last Saturday and is one of the players on the transfer list, so he might well be omitted tonight, as his display contributed to the Dons' loss at Hereford.  Most likely to replace him between the posts is much-travelled Ade Bankole, who is a sound enough keeper, but has rarely settled anywhere other than Crewe Alexandra where he spent four years.  Can be inspired on his day, but might make the odd ricket and with the pressure he is likely to be under, he might find himself a busy boy.

Ex-Gooner trainee Ben Chorley is another who looks to be on his way out, but has been a regular and he might find himself facing one last defensive test before Martin Allen disposes of him.  As Craig Morgan has gone on loan to Wrexham, Leon Crooks has come in and the 21 year old has impressed with his strong displays.  Drissa Drillo has dropped down the leagues since starring with Burnley and Ipswich, but he might show that he can do a job for the MK Dons, but might be ties up at the back rather than getting into the opposition half as he was want to do in his early career.  Starting his career at Everton, Shaun O'Hanlon made his name at Swindon Town before joining the Dons this summer.  A cultured defender, he has played seven matches, but might relish pitting his wits against top class opposition again.  Right back Jamie Smith started well at Wolves, but his potential was nto realised and he slipped down the ladder with Bristol City and Brentford, before lining with his former boss Allen once more.  Small, speedy and keen to tackle, it will be interesting to see how he shapes up against Spurs.  Paul Mitchell was at Wigan before going on loan to Halifax and Swindon before joining MK Dons on a permanent deal.  I don't know much about him, but he has been an ever-present and will no doubt find himself in the side on Wednesday night.  Another defender, Dean Lewington, is the son of former Fulham boss Ray and he has shown a good attitude with some strong performances and a bit of pace, which will be put to the test against Spurs.

Australian striker Nicky Rizzo has also attracted the opprobrium of Martin Allen and although he has Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Ternana on his CV, he will need to show a bit more of why those teams signed him rather than what has made Allen put him on the transfer list.  John Hastings has been plucked from non-league Tooting & Mitcham, but has yet to feature, while

With Dimitar Berbatov likely to return, it will be a full strength Spurs side who turn out at the National Hockey stadium and the travelling home side might find themselves on the end of a beating their manager predicted.  I can't see anything other than a Tottenham win and in will be in the order of ...

PREDICTION : -  MK Dons  0   Tottenham Hotspur   4


MK DONS :  - (-); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Teemu Tainio (hernia); Steed Malbranque (hernia); - (-); - (-); 


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MK Dons   0   Tottenham Hotspur    5      (Half-time score : 0-2)

Premier League
Venue : -  The National Hockey Stadium
Wednesday 25th October 2006
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   8,306
Referee :  K Stroud (Dorset)
Weather :  -  Cold, windy, rain at start
Teams : - 
MK Dons :


J. Smith

Andrews (c) (Edds 63)
Dyer (Crooks 70)

Platt (Taylor 70)

Unused subs

Tottenham Hotspur :


Davenport (Dawson 46)

Huddlestone (Lennon 70)
Davids (c)

Defoe (Keane 80)

Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
MK Dons

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
MK Dons


Tottenham Hotspur

Mido 36
Defoe 44
Defoe 51
Mido 60
Keane 90

Cards : -  
MK Dons



Tottenham Hotspur 

Huddlestone (foul)   


Match Report : -  
With a trek to a new ground and the prospect of a few goals, it proved to be a night to remember, but a team and a ground to forget, as Spurs ran in five goals without reply at the "temporary home of football in Milton Keynes", as the slogan over the turnstiles said.

Having lost at Grimsby Town last season, the League Cup held some terrors for Tottenham and the first minute break by the McDons might have signalled another uncomfortable night.  Platt played a pass along the ground to star striker Izale McLeod between the two centre-halves, but Anthony got a long leg stretching to nick the ball away at the last minute.  It was a source of wonderment as to why the McDons started humping high balls into the Spurs penalty box to try and make some sort of breakthrough.  Having gained a good chance by playing the ball on the floor, it appeared that they resorted to type to unsettle Tottenham at the back.

Needless to say, even with Gardner and Davenport playing together for the first time in ages, it failed to reap dividends.  Long range shooting was the closest they came in the first half after than.  Platt and McLeod twice tested reserve keeper Radek Cerny, but his handling on this very wet night was sound.  The closest the home side came to scoring was when Lloyd Dyer drifted through the middle of the defence and was brought down by Tom Huddlestone, which earned him a booking.  The free-kick was curled over with 25 minutes on the clock.  He also stole into the area and only a well-timed block by Davenport stopped the ball heading goal-wards.

Meanwhile, Spurs were gradually getting their game together.  With the swirling wind in the open stadium and with the McDons putting in a lot of effort and adopting a physical approach, the Tottenham players were aware of the likely of getting caught by a tackle and their passing was a little hurried.  Davids drilled an effort a foot or so wide, before Defoe came inside from the left wing to hit a low shot that brought the magnificently named Adolfo Baines into action to dive to save.

However, the McDons goalie only delayed the inevitable.  With 34 minutes on the clock, Ziegler was set free down the left wing by a Davids pass and his low ball into the area was met at the near post, as Mido got across his marker to knock the ball across the keeper and high into the net.  It was a good move by Mido to get into the scoring position and from this point, the game opened up for Tottenham.

Panic in the McDons defence saw a defender hack at a Ziegler free-kick that was played into the box.  The ball ballooned up into the air and with Baines watching it come down closely, the ball bounced on the top of the bar before going behind for a corner.  The second goal came a few minutes before the break and was another well-worked move.  Mido turned creator and played the ball expertly through the middle and despite some calls for offside from the home support, Jermain took the ball on and then lifted it gently over the goalkeeper as he raced out.  It was an expert finish and to go in 2-0 up at half-time gave Tottenham's much changed team the opportunity to take it easier in the second period.

All nature of fal-da-ree took place at half-time, involving small children kicking a football into a Bouncy Castle, while people in clown trousers, seven foot tall mice and two costumed people dresses as cows cavorted on the pitch.  More importantly, Michael Dawson replaced Davenport, as the threat from the long ball failed to increase, but that didn't stop the League Two side trying.  As the attacks come in, they won a series of free-kicks from an over-generous referee.  One ended with Dean Lewington curling one wide, but it did not threaten the goal that much.  The defender came closer near the end with a 35 yard shot that dipped just a little too late.

Six minutes into the second half, the game was effectively over.  Hossam Ghaly tried to walk through two defenders in front of him on the edge of the area, but the ball bounced off a leg to Huddlestone, who lifted the ball over an outstretched MK leg.  It was a delicate pass and fell right into the path of Defoe, who was just inside of the box and completed a double with a side-foot finish past Baines to make it 3-0.

Eight minutes on and it was four.  Murphy's pass was inch perfect, as it looked for all the world that it would be cut out by the defender, but it reached Defoe who bore dons on goal from the left and hit a low shot that the keeper kept it out with his legs and unfortunately, it fell right into Mido's path, who put it low back past him. 

Jermain was keen to hit his treble, with another run in from the left, but he hit his shot across the keeper, but too far wide and later lifted what looked to be a cross to the far post, but probably was an effort on goal that drifted over Baines, but a yard wide.  Spurs were over-running the home team at this stage.

However, as Spurs made some substitutions, they gave the McDons a chance to make a bit of a go of it and McLeod shot wide, Cerny had to reach up to push over a Wilbraham shot from close range and McLeod struck Crooks' low cross against the post, when he should have scored and even managed to put the rebound over the crossbar.  McLeod was getting all the chances falling to him and under pressure from Dawson pulled his shot across the goal when well-placed and Cerny had to claw the ball out from under the bar, as the striker moved in to finish it off, when the ball had been pin-balling around the area.

Substitute Gareth Edds struck a fierce shot, but Anthony Gardner got his body in the way.  Robbie Keane had come on for Defoe and although he tried a few flicks, which failed to come off, when Drillo headed a through-ball up in the air, Keano was first onto it and struck the ball low past Baines on the half-volley.

Luckily, the rain did not persist throughout the game, as it would have made watching the match a nightmare and luckily, the Spurs team put in a professional performance to see off the side from the bottom league.  What could have been embarrassing, turned into a comprehensive win and in the grander scheme of things, this is the way that things should end up.

With Watford to come, then Brugge and after Chelsea Port Vale, it is time for a consistent run to bring in the points and push forward on two cup fronts.






Reaction : -



Having a seat on a scaffold framed stand with boarding under our feet, did not fill me with delight, especially as there was no roof.

When my travelling companion was deprived of his golf umbrella ("It's been on the Spurs website since this morning," the MK steward told us.  "You can pick it up at the end of the match."), it made the open end look less and less welcoming.

Their fans were a nightmare.  Singing songs to provoke Spurs, who were not just in an open end, but it was an open half of the ground, so the home supporters, in their Cowshed, were never likely to hear us.  The lap of honour by the home team before the match was stage-managed to whip up some fervour, but they were at the wrong ground for that.

As the game nearer the end, the home supporters sang "Loyal supporters" as hordes of their own kind made their way to their luxury semi-detached properties outside the MK central area.

"You've got no history", "Wimbledon, Wimbledon, Wimbledon" and "S**t ground, Wrong Town" were all songs which summed up the Spurs fans feelings about the Franchise team and the Hockey Stadium is no venue for football.

Spurs put out a team with something to prove and they did so at the expense of a poor team and some players who did not possess the finishing ability of the Tottenham strikers.  Both Mido and Defoe deserved their two goals apiece, while Robbie came on to snaffle a goal in the last minute to round things off.

Perhaps the MK fans will take Spurs fans' advice next time, as when the fourth goal went in, they sang to the home stand "You might as well go home" !!

At least when we went to the lost property hut at the end, my friend won his umbrella back with his raffle ticket.  For the home side, I think they forgot to buy the ticket in the first place.

The Funky Phantom



Other scores from this round :
Blackburn Rovers 0 Chelsea 2 Wednesday
Charlton Athletic 1 Bolton Wanderers 0 Wednesday
Chesterfield 2 West Ham United 1 Tuesday
Crewe Alexandra 1 Manchester United (a.e.t 1-1 at 90 mins.) 2 Wednesday
Everton 4 Luton Town 0 Tuesday
Leeds United 1 Southend United 0 Tuesday
Leicester City 2 Aston Villa (a.e.t. - 2-2 at 90 mins.) 3 Tuesday
Liverpool 4 Reading 3 Wednesday
Newcastle United 3 Portsmouth 0 Wednesday
Notts. County 2 SCBC 0 Tuesday
Port Vale (a.e.t.  won 3-2 on pens) 0 Norwich City 0 Tuesday
Sheffield United 2 Birmingham City 4 Tuesday
Watford 2 Hull City 1 Wednesday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Arsenal 2 Tuesday
Wycombe Wanderers (a.e.t.  won 3-2 on pens;  1-1 at 90 mins.) 2 Doncaster Rovers 2 Tuesday


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