Paul Ince gave his former club a disastrous day out at Meadow Lane as Notts County saw off the Dons with a 2-0 victory. It meant three losses in a row for Karl Robinson’s side, who also saw Aaron Wilbraham sent off in the 75th minute, and the striker will now miss the next game through suspension.
It could have all been very different though as Thomas Ince impressed his manager and father, opening the scoring with just four minutes of normal time remaining with a stunning volley.
Lee Hughes slotted in a second to wrap up the points in the second minute of injury time, but the Dons could be forgiven for feeling aggrieved as, until Wilbraham saw red, it had been an undoubtedly even contest that neither side looked prepared to lose.
Despite having a squad heavily weakened by injury, and the fact that Robinson could only find six members of his squad to warm the bench, both sides played an entertaining passing game, and, notably, County produced Ince’s typical style of free flowing football that Dons fans will be familiar with.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to Alan Judge who found himself in front of goal, only for Mathias Kouo-Doumbe to step in and block his shot. Meanwhile, Lewis Guy looked threatening for the Dons down the wing, but a lunging Liam Chilvers managed to intervene before Guy could pick out any of his team mates. Minutes later Guy faced Chilvers again, and the latter’s tackle on the speedy midfielder prompted calls for a sending off – calls which David Phillips waved away, signalling Chilvers with a yellow card instead.
The Magpies then entered a positive spell where Craig Westcarr sent the ball lashing across the goalmouth, where Dons captain Dean Lewington managed to scramble his side to safety. His clearance only got as far as Neal Bishop though, who criminally missed a fantastic chance to put his relegation-threatened side ahead.
Westcarr was again instrumental in a Notts County chance as he leapt out of the way of Mike Edwards’ pass, which then found Ben Davies, who forced David Martin into a one-on-one but could not find a way past the Dons stopper.
It was a necessary warm up for the ex-Liverpool keeper, who was then forced into saves by Lee Miller and Judge, whose curling shot was tipped round the post. The half time whistle soon followed and the restart saw the introduction of Jabo Ibehre for the Dons, who immediately injected a new surge of energy into the side. Guy came close after a defensive error and he was soon involved in an excellent piece of football from the Milton Keynes side, with everything right but the final assist – Ibehre produced an inch-perfect pass for Michael Mcindoe, who in turn found Guy, whose header was just too weak to set up Ibehre to finish the move off.
Wilbraham then became the star of the action for all the wrong reasons, first being denied a penalty shout after being hauled to the ground, and then being sent for an early bath with his second yellow after his arm connected with Edwards.
It was to get much worse though for his team-mates as Ince junior volleyed home from the edge of the box after a shaky clearance from a makeshift Dons defence. And when Hughes got his name on the score sheet in injury time, there was no way back for MK, who slipped to 14th in the table. It will certainly have been a pleasing afternoon for the Ince clan, as the ex-Dons gaffer recorded a result of his own against his former assistant: Ince 1, Robinson 0.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.