Burton Albion 1-2 MK Dons: Visitors win in a game of two halves
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - JULY 24: Burton Albion Manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Burton Albion and Leicester City at Pirelli Stadium on July 24, 2021 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

MK Dons ran out 2-1 winners at the Pirelli Stadium against Burton Albion in a game of two halves. 

It took almost an hour for the small attendance of 690 to see a goal and when they did it was the travelling supporters who were cheering. Jay Bird scored their first before captain Harry Darling got the second only two minutes later.

Burton were given a chance after an own goal from Matthew O'Riley but couldn't capitalise and find an equaliser. 

Both sides made a considerable amount of changes to their sides from league action at the weekend. Four full debuts were made in the Burton side whilst MK Dons made eight changes in what is clearly a cup side.

That cup's the Papa Johns Trophy which this year see's Burton and the Dons joined in a group with Wycombe Wanderers and Aston Villa's U21s. 

  • Story of the game

It was a slow start to the game with both sides working each other out in the early moments. However, in the 12th minute a mistake from Darling nearly proved costly. The defender had to clear the ball off the line after he couldn't control a pass back to him. 

The slow start continued deep into the first half with MK Dons having more of the ball and Burton not really caring as long as no attacking threat came from it. Ellery Balcombe did have to make two saves inside the first half hour but both of them were routine stops for the 21-year-old. 

Burton hit the bar through Tom Hamer with ten minutes left of the first half but that was only from a misplaced cross after a good run down the wing.

The first goal of the game came on the hour mark after Bird tapped it home from the visitors, finishing off a low cross. 

One became two very quickly after with Darling tapping in a rebound after a superb save by Balcombe. 

With just over 20 minutes to go Burton grabbed one back with an own goal from O'Riley. The goal immediately woke Burton up, who for the last 15 were on the front coming forward every time MK Dons cleared the ball. However, the hosts couldn't find a leveler, losing 2-1 in 90 minutes. 

  • Man of the match

MK Dons captain Darling was the best on the field across 90 minutes as he added looking assured at the back with a goal at the other end.

Pretty much every one of the visitors' attacks started with Darling and his composure on the ball, apart from his one mistake, helped Dons dominate the possession.

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Defensively, he was solid. In the middle of a back three he kept the spine of the team and hardly strayed out of position. Aaron Amadi- Holloway was kept quiet all game thanks to Darling and the central defender was on hand to make sure the Brewers couldn't play through the lines.