Strong display not enough as Cheltenham crash out on penalties.Cheltenham Town were knocked out of the Capital One Cup this afternoon after losing 5-3 on penalties having drawn the game 1-1 throughout normal and extra time.
The Dons took the lead through Dean Bowditch moments before half time but Kaid Mohamed pulled his side level with a wonderful second half strike from 35 yards. That score kept right through normal time and the nextra time before MK Dons scored all of their penalties to dump the Robins out of the cup despite a really good display from Cheltenham.
Now the attention turned to npower League Two and it all kick off next week at home to Dagenham & Redbridge.
The opening day of the 2012-13 season and it was the Capital One Cup that kicked off the campaign for both Cheltenham Town and MK Dons here at the Abbey Business Stadium this weekend. Mark Yates' named a strong line-up to take on one of League One's best sides but he rested both Steve Elliott and Jeff Goulding for next week's game versus Dagenham & Redbridge. Harry Hooman replaced Elliott in the middle of defence and Chris Zebroski was preferred up front as part of a three pronged attack with McGlashan and Mohamed. Jones, Deering and Zebroski all made their competitive debuts for the club this afternoon and Shaun Harrad was expected to play some kind of role later in the fixture.
The start of the game was all about the midfield settling into some kind of rhythm for both teams and there were several positive passages of play from both the Robins and the Dons. It was Cheltenham that begun far more brightly on the attack however with Jombati and McGlashan providing plenty of trouble on the right wing for Dean Lewington and co. That right wing pressure soon led to a freekick when Sam Deering was bundled over by Shaun Williams and Cheltenham's new left back Billy Jones stepped up to deliver a sweet cross towards the far post. MK Dons failed to clear their lines and Kaid Mohamed saw a volley fly just over the bar with what was the first shot of the day. Shaun Williams was at it again moments later when he hacked down McGlashan 18 yards from goal in a central position and Jones was the man to strike the ball. It was a solid effort and it appeared to clip a defender's arm but the referee was having none of it and waved play on.
First booking of the season came on 17 minutes when Sam Deering was adjudged to have taken a dive following a tackle by MacKenzie and he was booked for his crimes. The attacking midfielder was on the move again moments later but his 20 yard effort was comfortably saved by former Liverpool goalkeeper David Martin. MK Dons were struggling to cope with the Cheltenham onslaught but they are masters of the counter attack and they almost stole the opener when O'Shea fired a superb shot in at goal from 20 yards and forced Brown into a good save turning it onto the post. Luke Chadwick became the second player to be booked in this game on 26 minutes when he took Deering out with a very late challenge but the Robins midfielder was quickly back on his feet again. MK Dons were forced into making a substitution on 29 minutes when Shaun Williams appeared to go down injured during a Cheltenham corner. The central defender was replaced by Anthony Kay.
McGlashan continued to cause plenty of problems late on in this half and drew a foul from the increasingly frustrated Dean Lewington. The set piece almost created the opening goal of the game but Hooman couldn't quite steer Pack's cross into the back of the net. It was a constant threat for MK Dons with Cheltenham piling down the right wing but it was Zebroski who drew the fould from Kay this time and the central defender was yellow carded. It got worse for the visitors when Stephen Gleeson was red carded for a foul on Sam Deering. It was two footed and he connected with Deering but it was a controlled tackle and it seems the decision was a little harsh on the midfielder.
The Dons switched to a 4-4-1 formation and they almost grabbed an unlikely goal when MacDonald pulled away from the Robins defence and forced Brown into a low save. Three minutes of stoppage time were added onto the half and that was more than enough time for MK Dons to strike ahead of the break despite being one man down. O'Shea played well to find Bowditch on the left hand side of the area and the forward made no mistake in planting a lovely effort past Brown for 1-0. The scoreline stayed the aame until hald time and was perhaps against the run of play but the Dons had taken their chances when the Robins could not.
Half Time: Cheltenham Town 0-1 MK Dons
It was a lively start to the second half with Sido Jombati thinking fast to deny an incoming Dean Bowditch on the counter for MK Dons and Chris Zebroski tested David Martin with a long range effort on 49 minutes. The striker was causing trouble once again with a sweet cross across goal that was begging for a poached in the middle but it went unused and the Dons cleared their lines. Cheltenham had a great chance to pull level when a loftes pass from Deering found McGlashan cutting inside from the wing but his effort was over the bar. That deserving equaliser came on 57 minutes for the Robins and it was that man Kaid Mohamed who produced some cup magic to pull Cheltenham level. The winger cut inside and the winger fired in a wonder strike from 35 yards to beat Martin and hit the back of the net just under the crossbar. Great goal from Kaid and Cheltenham back in the game.
Jermaine McGlashan continued hia fantastic display with another near miss following his darting run beyond Lewington and into the area but Martin saved his shot well and denied the rampant Robins. Marlon Pack was up next with another opportunity from 20 yards but his effort was just wide of the near post but it was controlling stuff from the hosts and Mark Yates will have been pleased with the performance at this point in the game. Shaun Harrad was introduced after 68 minutes at the expense of Sam Deering in what was the striker's debut since joining loan from Bury. Another former Bury striker Ryan Lowe made his MK Dons debut on 72 minutes at the expense of Luke Chadwick and it was a clear sign of intent from the Dons bench as the game reached a midway point. Lowe's debut could have hit a perfect start with his first touch being a stunning half volley which glided just past Brown's near post.
Ryan Lowe was at it again on 74 minutes when he produced a great volley at goal from Lewington's deep cross but Scott Brown was equal to the effort with a wonderful save to keep his side level. Cheltenham went back o nthe attack after that point and Zebroski's header from a McGlashan cross threatened to put the hosts ahead but the effort was just wide much to the relief of David Martin. Despite Cheltenham's positive play, they were still being haunted by the presence of Ryan Lowe and Charlie MacDonald and it was the number ten that almost carved out a lead but his effort was over the bar having done all the hard work cutting into the area past Hooman. McGlashan had another fabulous chance on goal minutes later but he dragged an effort wide of the far post before Mark Yates chose to bring Zebroski off for Darryl Duffy at 84 minutes. That was swiftly followed by Keith Lowe replacing Alan Bennett with Marlon Pack handed the captain's armband.
MK Dons were still threatening though and Ryan Lowe was seemingly making all the difference for the League One side up front but the striker was finding himself up against a goalkeeper in form and Scott Brown produced another fine save at the feet of Lowe to deny the forward. The game was near it's 90 minute conclusion but with extra time looming upon both sides - perhaps not what either manager would have wanted at the start of the season but that's what they got as the referee blew his whistle.
Full Time: Cheltenham Town 1-1 MK Dons
The first chance of extra time saw Dean Lewington crash a freekick against the crossbar in what was an early warning sign for the Robins and the visitors continued that pressure when a corner threatened to cause problem at the back post but Pack was hand to head clear and pull his team mates forward. That early pressure from MK Dons was countered by some equally good attacks from Cheltenham Town and Darryl Duffy forced Martin into a good save with a rasping drive from outside the area. The pace of the game had evidently slowed down but both sides came close through Lowe and Mohamed. Darren Potter was yellow carded on the 105th minute when he took Mohamed out mid-charge through the middle of the pitch and the freekick almost led to a great opportunity but Sido, after being Lewington on the far side, couldn't pull his cross across goal to any of the lurking strikers.
Half Time in Extra Time: Cheltenham Town 1-1 MK Dons
There were tired legs out there at this point but both were still giving it their all when moving forward. Charlie MacDonald almost struck it lucky with a looped effort which landed upon Brown's net and Cheltenham almost created their own spot of luck when Mohamed charged down the middle into the area only for Kay's tackle to clip back onto his boot and just wide of the post. Cheltenham were largely dominant in this half of the extra time being played with Mohamed and McGlashan providing constant threats on the counter attack but the Dons were holding their own and providing their own attacks with Dean Bowditch coming closest with a long range drive past Brown's far post. Darryl Duffy threatened to steal the game for Cheltenham at the death with a curling effort but a defender claimed a vital deflection to steer it wide. The clock ticked down and penalties loomed but the referee confirmed the spot kicks to decide this tight cup fixture.
Full Time in Extra Time: Cheltenham Town 1-1 MK Dons (game to be decided on penalties.)
Penalty 1 - Bowditch scores.
Penalty 2 - Jones scores.
Penalty 3 - MacDonald scores
Penalty 4 - Duffy sees his shot well saved.
Penalty 5 - MacKenzie scores well.
Penalty 6 - Shaun Harrad buries his effort well.
Penalty 7 - Anthony Kay keeps MK Dons in cotnrol with a solid penalty strike.
Penalty 8 - Kaid Mohamed strikes a confident penalty past Martin.
Penalty 9 - Ryan Lowe smashes his penalty in for the win and MK Dons knock Cheltenham out of the cup.
Final Score - 5-3 to MK Dons on penalties
Cheltenham Town FC (4-3-3): Brown (GK); Jombati, Hooman, Bennett (C) (Lowe 86), Jones; McGlashan, Pack, Penn, Deering (Harrad 68), Mohamed; Zebroski (Duffy 84)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Andrew, Hank, Graham
MK Dons FC (4-2-3-1): Martin (GK); Chicksen, MacKenzie, Williams (Kay 29), Lewington (C); Potter, Gleeson; Bowditch, Chadwick (Lowe 71), O'Shea (Smith 61); MacDonald
Subs not used: McLoughlin (GK), Powell
Referee: Mr. Steven Rushton
Attendance: 1,660 (352 from Milton Keynes)
Robins Star Man: Jermaine McGlashan - Great performance and gave Lewington much more to think about than he was comfortable with.