A review of Wanderers’ encounter with MK Dons plus… pie gate.
Wanderers` crunch match against MK Dons was destined for failure after pie-gate at The Macron Stadium took place at 2:39pm. This was a pie related disaster that had me and my dad convinced Wanderers` were destined for a loss. As I stood watching Sebastien Bassong smash in the eighth goal of the Norwich v Liverpool encounter, Dad ordered two meat and potato pies. All is good.
Next. Dad starts ruining his pie by covering it in brown sauce, and I take a bite into the worst meat and potato pie I`ve ever eaten. It was, of course, not full of meat, but potato, cheese and onion. Shocking. So shocking in fact we missed Adam Lallana`s scruffy winner in the pie palaver. After such a disaster, we thought we may as well go home, no way could Wanderers` win after this bad omen. We decided to stay to see if perhaps our terrible day could be salvaged, though we knew it would take something special?
Enter Liam Feeney et al. We asked for something special, and got something even better. Kind of.
It wasn’t necessarily that special, it was a home win against an injury hit MK Dons who hadn’t won in twelve away games. However there`s no need to ruin the story so back to the script.
Neil Lennon had named a decent starting line up, I was eager to see Liam Trotter after hearing good things since his return from Forest. I was excited to see Rob Holding move to centre back. Feeney was playing. Welly was starting again. Mark Davies was ready to go again after an embarrassing saga with Yorkshire Midweeks. AND Gavin Madine was back in the starting line up after subbing himself off against Eastleigh.
However, the game started in a less promising fashion. We were happy to sit back and let our opposing franchise outplay us. That was until, Rob Holding took hold of the ball. Collecting the ball on halfway, he saw no passes available, only space in front of him, he dutifully took advantage like a naughty schoolboy who couldn’t believe he was getting away with what he was doing. He drew a fairly soft foul 25 yards out, which allowed Liam Feeney to start scheming with his team mates. He came up with a free kick routine that looked predictable to me from the other end of the pitch. The Dons` defence was not as alert as I, allowing Feeney a cross, Madine then fouled their goalkeeper taking him out of the game leaving Holding to tap in, sending fourteen thousand crazy just seven minutes in.
After a Madine header was cleared off the line, normal service resumed for 25 minutes or so, until Wanderers picked up the tempo, and began to press when not in possession. After several chances, two of which came from shots from Silva, who shone all night with his skill, and end product.
Mark Davies waltzed into the area, and went to ground from a strong challenge. I barely had time to ask for a penalty before the ball fell to Pratley. He hit it, there were four bodies on the floor, it hit one of them and went up into the net. We went 2-0 up for the third time this season and the relief showed as Pratley karate kicked the corner flag in celebration. It could have been three or four nil at half time, but it was only two, the last time we lead by that scoreline we lost 4-3 to QPR.
A special shout out must also go to Kevin Wright, referee. His first half performance was the worst and most one sided I`ve ever seen. Every touch to a Dons player was given as a foul, they received twelve fouls to our two, and the more we showed our distaste, the more the ref wanted to mystify and anger us with more bad decisions. Despite being 2-0 up, boos rang out from all sides at the half time whistle, such was the anger at the referee. Thankfully, he calmed down second half, and became like the usual sh1te refs rather than being spectacularly bad.
The second half was comfortable for the most part. After a few minutes we were back on top, and it remained that way all half. We had multiple chances, 11 shots on target all game. Their only chance came from a semi hopeful ball where Amos screwed up his positioning. After coming for the ball, he decided he couldn’t get there, and made a good save as he scrambled back almost getting lobbed.
Wanderers continued with the pressure, there was a powerful strike from Madine straight at the keeper, and some classy showboating from Silva. He embarrassed the right side of the Dons` side, therefore as every team does, they decided their only option was to hack at his legs as forcefully as possible leaving him limping from away on more than one occasion.
Two mazing runs from Holding and a goalmouth scramble later, MK Dons finally created another chance. For the first time all game, only one man went to close down the attacker. Murphy`s side foot shot from 25 yards, went past Vela who didn’t have his best game (I don’t care though), and beat Amos, who yet again showed his stupefying inability to save any fairly average shot from outside the box.
If like me, you have forgotten to read the script and are worried about the pie-gate omen, fear not. By the time I started to realise just how much I was panicking, Shola Ameobi was snailing his way into the penalty box. On the final day of his contract, destiny decided there could be no other man to duck inside, go between two defenders and cooly slot home to ensure victory for the Whites. Game over. 3-1. Boom.
You really couldn’t fault the players, Pratley was outstanding, he even tried to impersonate Silva with a special run that left four defenders on the ground in his wake. Trotter was brilliant, as was Feeney, who I`m glad heard his name being sang by us, rather than getting groaned at. The fans created a brilliant atmosphere, the support was brilliant from where I was sat.
We gave our farewell to Ameobi, both him and us fans giving the other an ovation, because we love each other so much. It was a heartfelt moment. Bittersweet. More bitter than anything as it was tipping down with rain and I had to walk the best part of a mile to catch a lift home.