MK Dons avoided an FA Cup sting at The Hive this Sunday afternoon as they laboured to another victory against a National League side in football’s oldest cup competition. Peter Beadle’s Bees provided a tough test but MK Dons make it 210 minutes without conceding in this season’s FA Cup.
Russell Martin made a few changes from his side’s comeback draw in midweek, including Lee Nicholls coming in between the sticks after losing his regular spot to Andrew Fisher and the return of George Williams from injury. Other notable absentees from the starting XI were Scott Fraser and Cameron Jerome who were being given a much-needed rest. Dean Lewington was back in to captain the side.
MK Dons almost found themselves in an all too familiar position when Lee Nicholls was forced into a save 15 seconds in from Ephron Mason-Clark. After that early scare, the League One side began to assert their superiority.
The Dons, however, did lose Jordan Houghton to injury early on and a change had to be made. Lasse Sørensen, who was the victim of a first-half substitution in the last fixture against Shrewsbury, was brought on to replace the injured man.
MK Dons’ defensive players were at the heart of everything the side from Buckinghamshire created. Regan Poole hit the bar himself before Daniel Harvie set up Stephen Walker to fire over from the centre of the Barnet penalty area.
Half-time: Barnet 0-0 MK Dons
The National League side was the more threatening following the interval but struggled to create anything of note during that first fifteen minutes after half-time. Carlton Morris was set away in the 61st minute following a long ball from Lee Nicholls but his cross could only find an orange shirt.
As the clock struck 70 minutes though, the game started to feel more like a cup tie. The game became very end to end with both sides creating half-chances but nothing clear-cut. The MK Dons superiority that we had seen before half-time had faded and it felt like it was anyone’s game.
In the 67th minute, Martin was able to call on Scott Fraser and Cameron Jerome, who had been rested initially. The two of them combined to give the men in white the lead in the 82nd minute. Stephen Walker played it to Fraser who found space on the left to drill a low cross into the six-yard area which cannoned off Jerome, who was in the right place at the right time, and the ball rolled into the far corner.
In the 93rd minute, with the goal gaping and the chance to seal it, MK Dons’ veteran striker blazed a banker by his standards as he was played in by Lasse Sørensen after a fantastic run up the pitch by Carlton Morris. Ultimately, it did not matter as the men from MK1 hurdle another banana skin and enter the hat for Round Three of the FA Cup.
Full-time: Barnet 0-1 MK Dons
Man of the Match: Regan Poole