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Match Reports

MK Dons v Coventry City

29 December 2012

Sky Blues striker Stephen Elliott marked his first start for three months with a second-half double against MK Dons to take City to within two points of the play-offs.

Coventry recovered from going behind twice to battle for all the points and extend the club's all-time consecutive away wins record to six.

Daniel Powell put Dons ahead after quarter of an hour but Moussa levelled with a special strike on 26 minutes before Ryan Lowe reinstated the hosts' lead eight minutes before the break.

Elliott then levelled again for City two minutes after the re-start before adding a second and the Sky Blues' third to send the near-5,000 travelling Sky Blue Army into a frenzy.

Boss Mark Robins rang two enforced changes for the clash following a one-match suspension for striker David McGoldrick and the return of loan midfielder James Bailey to Derby County.

Robins responded by bringing John Fleck back into the starting midfield with Elliott playing a loan striker's role as Robins opted for a five-man midfield.

It was Elliott that very nearly got City off to a flyer after just two minutes when he made a run to receive a through ball from Carl Baker and pulled a pass back for Franck Moussa whose effort was only kept away from goal by a last ditch tackle from Antony Kay.

It took the home side 12 minutes before they launched a notable attack of their own although their's required a strong save from Joe Murphy at the foot of his near post after Dean Bowditch had played through Daniel Powell to have an attempt on goal from a tight angle.

Ryan Lowe then went close a minute later with an attempted half-volley lob which not only beat the reach of Muprhy but also cleared his crossbar.

Dons made the pressure tell after 15 minutes though through Powell who twisted and turned his way into space before driving a low shot past Murphy and into the bottom corner.

The Sky Blues tried to turn the tide of the play and Elliott went close with a header over the bar from Baker's corner kick after 23 minutes.

He then had strong claims for a penalty two minutes later when he took down a lofted ball over the top from Baker and went down under a challenge from Kay but referee Andy Woolmer waved away the appeals.

City were level on 26 minutes though and it truly was something special from Moussa.

The midfielder took the ball from just inside Dons' half and skipped past two defenders including a nutmeg through Dean Lewington before firing past David Martin from an acute angle, the ball striking the underside of the crossbar and sneaking inside the far post.

Martin was required again two minutes after the hour but this time he stopped Dons conceding after Gary McSheffrey tried his luck from 25 yards, the keeper getting down low to his left to make a comfortable save.

The hosts were back infront eight minutes before the break though after a careless forward pass from the Sky Blues' third allowed them to build an attack which handed Lowe the opportunity to turn William Edjenguele twice before firing past Murphy.

Dons went close again two minutes after the restart when a quickly whipped in cross from Adam Chicksen found Bowditch whose backward glanced header flashed across the goal and just wide.

No sooner had they put the pressure on though City were level through Elliott.

Gary McSheffrey fired in a superb cross from the left which picked out Elliott at the back post to nudge a header just inside the woodwork to put Robins' side back on level terms.

To the delight of the 4,000 travelling Sky Blue Army behind the goal, Elliott then put City ahead with a textbook display of calm and collected finishing, pouncing on a defensive error to dispossess Lewington and run at goal, cutting back inside the recovering Dons captain before firing past Martin and into his far bottom corner.

Without wanting to skip a large section of the second half, it was difficult not to as the game descended into a hard-fought and scrappy affair that displayed plenty of desire and committment from both sides but little in the way of clear-cut chances.

That was until five minutes from time when Dons substitute Angelo Balanta was presented with a gilt-edged opportunity to level the score at the back post on;y to scuff his shot and slice it wide from eight yards.

City were less forthright in their efforts to attack after going infront but continued to battle away in midfield and restrict the home side's supply of the ball through the channels which made it difficult for Karl Robinson's men to carve out any real chances.

John Fleck and Steven Jennings continued to do thankless work in the middle of the park, breaking up play and preventing Dons from gaining any real momentum.

That did not change as fourth official Geoffrey Russell held up for four minutes added time.

City were content to attack on the break and the approach nearly yielded a fourth for the Sky Blues when Cyrus Christie rushed forward and fired straight at Martin.

Dons pushed as the game entered its final stages with a series of corners to

Attendance: 13,660 (4,988 Sky Blue Army)


Coventry City: Murphy, Wood, Edjenguele, Christie, Adams, Baker (c), Moussa, Jennings, Fleck, McSheffrey (Barton 77), Elliott (O'Donovan 72)
Subs: Dunn (GK), Clarke, Cameron, McDonald, Thomas

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington (c), Williams, Potter, Bowditch, Smith (Balanta 58), Chicksen, Lowe (MacDonald 77), Powell, Alli (Ismail 70), Kay
Subs: McLoughlin (GK), Kuou-Dounbe, MacKenzie, Sekajja

Bookings: Smith (MKD), Chicksen (MKD), McSheffrey (COV), Lewington (MKD)

Referee: Andy Woolmer
Assistant Referees: Jake Hillier, Declan Ford
Fourth Official: Geoffrey Russell

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