MK Dons dominant in comfortable 3-0 victory over Newport County

    Image Credit: Milton Keynes Dons Football Club

    Milton Keynes Dons picked up a comfortable 3-0 victory over Newport County at Stadium MK.

    Mike Williamson's side began the match immediately on the front foot, with Daniel Harvie carrying the ball into the opposition half and seeking Stephen Wearne rushing down the left flank. His pass, however, was too heavy and the ball rolled out for a Newport goal kick.

    The visitors then caused a few nerves moments later as a cross into the box almost reached an attacker, with the Dons defence needing to intervene quickly to prevent a disappointing opening, forcing the corner instead.

    A counter-attack from the Dons, who had been under pressure mere moments earlier, almost picked out Wearne deep inside the County box, only for the cross to be intercepted by a defender and cleared from danger.

    A neat passage of play allowed Dan Kemp to latch onto a loose ball inside the box, but his effort sailed wide of the target, keeping the score at 0-0 through the opening eight minutes of play.

    The Dons' sustained pressure was rewarded after 12 minutes of play as Kemp struck the ball cleanly, hitting it low and finding the bottom corner to put his side ahead.

    After Wearne picked up a pass into the box, the January signing flicked it backward into the path of a wide-open Kemp who notched his third goal since returning to the club at the turn of the year.

    The Dons extended their lead in the 23rd minute after a short free-kick routine between Kemp and Jack Payne saw the latter break into the box, pick up one of a few passes exchanged between the pair, and strike across the goal and into the inside of the side netting.

    It was 3-0 before the half-hour mark as Alex Gilbey scored his seventh goal of the season, with Wearne picking up his second assist of the match.

    Wearne picked up a long ball over the top from Payne and raced towards goal. Under pressure, he quickly turned and passed back to a wide-open Gilbey, who coolly slotted home.

    The home side maintained pressure on the visitors throughout the half, continually putting the ball in the box and taking chances at goal, but were unable to extend their lead further.

    Joe Tomlinson forced Townsend into making a difficult save, giving the Dons a corner, but no other chance came as close before the half-time whistle came.

    The visitors started the second half much brighter than they ended the first, with Luke Jephcott getting a header towards goal from close range. The tame effort was calmly claimed by Kelly in the air.

    The Dons then came back into their own, with Kyran Lofthouse picking out Kemp in the middle of the box. Kemp tries to strike from close range, but his effort is blocked and sent clear for a throw-in.

    In the follow-up play, the Dons got a shot away once again but saw it deflected and sent out for a corner.

    Kemp thought he had given the Dons their fourth of the day, with the ball slotted calmly into the back of the net, only to see the linesman's flag raised for offside.

    Lofthouse, substitute Emre Tezgel and Lewis Bate linked up well to get Bate a shot on goal, with the midfielder sending a perfectly placed curling shot, only for Townsend to palm the ball over the crossbar and out for a corner.

    Tezgel himself almost scored, with Lofthouse once again providing a clean pass into the middle of the box for the young striker to hit, only to see the tame effort hit a defender on the way through and go wide for a corner.

    Like Kemp earlier, Ellis Harrison had the ball in the back of the net but was also called for offside.

    Michael Kelly made a save late in the match and sub Matt Dennis came close with a scooping effort from a corner, but nothing else truly threatened to alter the scoreline, with both teams playing out to a 3-0 victory for the Dons, who will be pleased to keep their positive form going and close the gap to the top four teams in the league.

    With other results around the league, the Dons' victory puts them just one point behind fourth place in the League Two standings, with three points separating them for the automatic promotion spots.

    MK Dons Lineup: Kelly, Lofthouse, Norman, O'Hora, Harvie, Tomlinson, Gilbey (86' Dennis), Bate (78' Williams), Payne (78' Robson), Kemp (61' Tezgel), Wearne (61' Harrison)

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