MK Dons were left disappointed after their 2-1 derby loss against Peterborough United, with goals from Craig Mackail-Smith and Aaron McLean handing Posh the points.
It was the most hotly-anticipated game of the season for Dons fans, who built up a rivalry with the Posh the last time they were both in League One. Now Boro are back after being relegated from the Championship, but despite their experiences at a higher level, the Dons performed well and were arguably unlucky not to escape London Road with at least a point.
It was a closely-fought encounter, and both sides had several chances to break the deadlock – Welshman Jermain Easter was the first to come close for the Dons, but he shot wide after Dean Lewington’s throw-in found Jabo Ibehre who headed on to Easter. Lewington in particular shone for the Dons, with a series of exhilarating runs down the left flank.
In the blue shirt of Peterborough, Mackail-Smith constantly looked a threat, and but for some solid Dons’ defending could have got his name on the score sheet on several occasions.
But Although the Dons were having more possession overall, it was in fact the untiring Mackail-Smith who opened the scoring. Mclean flicked the ball into the box, picking out Mackail-Smith who was given far too much time and space – amazingly, he even had a moment to compose himself before scoring past David Martin in the MK goal.
That lead was to last just a minute though, as ‘Captain Marvel’ came to the Dons rescue - Lewington continued his superb attacking contribution despite being a left back, being set up by Ibehre to fire home. It looked at this point as though if there were to be a winner, it would most likely be the Dons.
However, Gary Johnson’s half time team talk worked wonders for the Posh, as they came out fighting like tigers in the second half, and soon found themselves in front again. Grant McCann swung in a corner from the left, but the Dons looked semi-hapless in defence, and sure enough Mclean was there, just outside the six-yard box and unmarked to restore Peterborough’s lead.
Only a good stop from David Martin stopped McCann adding a third for United as they went for the jugular. With just over 20 minutes left, Dons boss Karl Robinson threw on Aaron Wilbraham, who nearly levelled things up, only for his shot to flash past the wrong side of the post.
Wilbraham missed another chance in the dying moments, but the final whistle was blown soon after. There were plenty of positives to take away for Robinson on the attacking front, but ultimately collective defensive errors cost the Dons.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.