May­nard en­sures sweet end to year

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sam Gas­coyne

IT’S been a for­get­table year for MK Dons, but boss Rob­bie Neil­son was at least able to de­liver a first win in three games to en­sure 2016 ended on a high.

Two goals from Kieran Agard and one from the im­pres­sive Nicky May­nard snuffed out any hope of a turn in form for Luke Wil­liams’ Swin­don side.

May­nard was the star of the show as he scored his first goal since May as MK Dons edged a five-goal thriller.

And Robins boss Wil­liams spoke of his frus­tra­tion as Swin­don slumped to an­other de­feat.

“I’m not sure whether the op­po­si­tion were very good or we were too timid in our men­tal­ity, maybe it was a com­bi­na­tion of both,” said Wil­liams.

“I think we started too slowly re­ally. We came back into the game more and more as it went on, but we’d left our­selves with too much to do.

“We looked like we had the fight to get back into the game, the play­ers tried their best to get back onto level terms.

“Whether the abil­ity isn’t there or whether the be­lief isn’t there, it’s hard to tell right now.”

The Dons found them­selves ahead with nine min­utes gone, Agard nod­ding home a loose ball af­ter May­nard’s stun­ning strike crashed off the cross­bar.

MK’s sec­ond goal came on 26 min­utes af­ter a de­fen­sive mix-up saw the ball fall kindly to Chuks Aneke. He picked out Agard, who made no mis­take in dou­bling his tally.

Swin­don pulled a goal back nine min­utes later af­ter David Martin failed to deal with a deep cross into the box, al­low­ing Luke Nor­ris to squeeze the ball in at the far post.

The Dons’ third came eight min­utes af­ter the restart when Samir Car­ruthers slid a neat ball through to May­nard, who beat the off­side trap and slot­ted home his 100th ca­reer goal.

Swin­don set up a nervy fi­nale as Raphael Rossi Branco headed home with 25 min­utes re­main­ing.

But Swin­don were to fall short and suf­fered a third de­feat in four league out­ings.

MK Dons man­ager Neil­son said: “We were clin­i­cal, our goals gave us a bit of a cush­ion.

“I was de­lighted for our two boys up front both get­ting goals, es­pe­cially Nicky May­nard as his work rate has been fan­tas­tic re­cently.

“The score­line prob­a­bly flat­tered Swin­don in pe­ri­ods of the game.

“Had they nicked an equaliser it would have been a bit un­just for us.

“But it’s about scor­ing goals, which we did and held on.”

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