Andy Cullen and the MK Dons recruitment team added more strings to the Milton Keynes bow but it was Lee Bowyer’s side who came away with the points with an extremely professional performance; one reminiscent of The Dons’ own, away at Athletic, just a month before.
Russell Martin handed out two debuts including Matt O’Riley coming in for Lasse Sørensen, who did assist the winner at The Valley. Harry Darling: Richard Keogh’s replacement, donned the white and gold for the first time with the Dons manager serving his touchline ban after he managed to offend Premier League referee, Jon Moss, at Turf Moor.
The Dons made a very quick start a week prior, against Fleetwood, but were so slow out of the blocks and The Addicks took full advantage to take the lead within 18 minutes. Conor Washington switched from right to left and Liam Millar found himself with a stupendous amount of time in the penalty area to take a touch and pick his spot.
Martin’s men nearly made a very quick response and hit the post following an excellent inswinging corner from new signing, O’Riley. Joe Mason met the teasing delivery with a glancing header and Ben Amos was very relieved to see the ball strike his far post.
The half did seem to peter out following this as Lee Bowyer’s side managed their lead well for the rest of the first period. MK did manage an effort on target that was comfortably saved by Amos but this also came from an O’Riley corner: his delivery seems to be a very welcome addition to the fold.
Half-time: MK Dons 0-1 Charlton Athletic
The second half began with no marked improvement from the hosts as Liam Millar came closest to scoring the first goal following the interval. The Liverpool loanee burst into the 18-yard box but Andrew Fisher showed a glimpse as to why he was offered his new contract with a smart save to smother the danger.
Martin’s side forced a first meaningful save from Amos in the 67th minute when Dean Lewington almost managed to perfectly slide in Ethan Laird. The attempted through ball was nudged by a visiting defender which pushed the ball closer to the Charlton stopper. Laird got there first but Amos was swiftly out to deny the Manchester United loan player.
The side, attacking the Cowshed, ramped up the pressure for the last 20 minutes but Bowyer’s men defended extremely resolutely to get revenge for their defeat, at the hands of MK Dons, in December. Full credit has to go to the London side, however, it was a toothless performance from their overly-accomodating hosts.
Full-time: MK Dons 0-1 Charlton Athletic
Man of the match: Darren Pratley