City made it two League wins from two after defeating MK Dons this afternoon in Buckinghamshire.
It was an impressive away performance from Michael Appleton’s side who took the spoils courtesy of goals from Jorge Grant and Tom Hopper either side of a leveller from Joe Mason for the home side.
Grant slotted home from the spot in the first half following a foul on Hopper, Mason levelled just ahead of the hour mark but Hopper broke MK hearts with a towering header with eleven minutes to go to win the game.
The game kicked off under sunny skies at Stadium:MK this afternoon with both sides starting the game very patiently, MK initially having possession but not finding any chances to open up The Imps’ defence. Meanwhile, City on the attack were looking a little more purposeful looking to get the ball into the box with pace, highlighted by a dangerous curling centre from Sean Roughan which was just shy of finding a black shirt inside the box.
However, the home side clicked into a second gear in their next attack, as a low ball in from the right found the foot of Joe Mason inside the City box but Alex Palmer watched it go just wide at his near post.
Michael Appleton’s side were given the chance to take the lead on ten minutes. Jorge Grant sliding the ball inbetween the Don’s defence towards Tom Hopper who took the ball into his stride, but he went down inside the box and the referee awarded a penalty to The Imps. GRANT took it and stroked the ball home down the middle with Lee Nicholl’s diving to his right.
The Imps were close to a second ten minutes after taking the lead, a fantastic leap and header from Tom Hopper under pressure was directed wide to Harry Anderson, with Grant haring into the box to his left, Anderson looked up for the square ball towards the City number 10 and slid it inside but Warren O’Hora was back and just got to the ball to deny what looked like a likely goal. Going forward The Imps were cutting through the MK midfield decisively, and it took a fantastic sliding intervention from Baily Cargill to block off a through ball into the home penalty area as the side in white were struggling to withstand the high energy and intensity coming from the City engine room.
Anderson and Grant down The Imps’ right and left were finding space to run into and getting plenty of the ball, but to The Dons credit they were dealing well with the balls into the box from wide positions despite being on the backfoot. Grant had a shot blocked and Anderson was well marshalled by Dean Lewington as he again threatened to get clear inside the MK Don’s area, the home side did look confident in possession but faced a wall of black shirts when they tried to get towards The City area.
MK Dons 0 The Imps 1
Regan Poole started the second period purposefully for the hosts, as he found space down the City left to sidefoot as first time cross into the box which flashed across goal, but similarly to the first half there was little in terms of white shirts haring forward to meet the ball in.
Conversely The Imps were again purposeful and determined going forward, James Jones was inches away from getting a shot off after picking the ball up just outside the box but David Kasumu timed his interception perfectly, nipping in and taking the ball away.
City went even closer moments later, as Hopper did ever so well to feed the ball wide left under pressure from Cargill, Grant’s first time cross was met by Anderson on the volley and it was heading into the goal but Nicholl’s made a wonderful reaction save to keep the ball out.
MK slowly edged back into the game and they were to get themselves back into the game somewhat fortuitously just ahead of the hour mark. Following a good run from Poole down the right, the ball was played to the edge of the box towards Callum Brittain, where a clutch of City bodies were in the way. There was a deflection which took the ball over the top of The Imps defence, where Joe MASON was waiting, after a heavy first touch he just did enough to poke the ball beyond Palmer with City appealing for offside but nothing was given.
The game was wide open going into the final 15 or so minutes, with both sides pushing for what looked likely to be a winning goal. Matthew Sorinola saw a shot blocked by Monstma before Palmer made a fantastic diving save low to his right as the ball looked to be arrowing into the corner.
But, the measured and purposeful attacking style of The Imps came to the fore again and it brought the second goal for City. Anderson raced away down the right and played in a fantastic cross for Tom HOPPER to leap above his marker and thump a header home. Almost immediately from restart it was close to being a third for The Imps as a fantastic break down the right by Callum Morton opened up the defence, he looked up and slid the ball to Jones who hit his shot first time but O’Hora was there to block with Nicholls scrambling across his goal line in a frenetic few minutes.
The home side began to throw caution to the wind and in injury time they were close to netting the equaliser but Palmer showed his ‘keeping credentials as Mason thought he’d scored his second, lashing goalwards from 12 yards but the City ‘keeper blocked with his legs.
MK Dons 1 The Imps 2
1 Lee NICHOLLS
3 Dean LEWINGTON
5 Regan POOLE
6 Baily CARGILL
8 David KASUMU
9 Carlton MORRIS
15 Warren O’HORA
20 Joe MASON
21 Daniel HARVIE
24 Jordan HOUGHTON
25 Callum BRITTAIN
22 Laurie WALKER
7 Ben GLADWIN (74’ for Kasumu)
10 Stuart FRASER (86’ for Poole)
18 Lasse SORENSEN
19 Sam NOMBE
29 Matthew SORINOLA (65’ for Harvie)
30 John FREEMAN
GOAL: Mason 59’
Booked: Houghton 45’, Cargill 64’, Brittain 70’, Kasumu 73’
1 Alex PALMER
4 Lewis MONTSMA
5 Adam JACKSON
8 James JONES
9 Tom HOPPER
10 Jorge GRANT
18 Conor McGRANDLES
22 TJ EYOMA
23 Liam BRIDCUTT
26 Harry ANDERSON
30 Sean ROUGHAN
29 Ethan ROSS
3 Max MELBOURNE (66’ for Roughan)
7 Tayo EDUN
11 Anthony SCULLY
14 Theo ARCHIBALD (90’ for Anderson)
16 Joe WALSH
19 Callum MORTON (66’ for Bridcutt)
GOAL: Grant 11’, Hopper 79’,
Booked: Montsma 54’, Morton 70’, Eyoma 90’
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Assistants: Conor Farrell & Ollie Williams
4th Official: Michael Chard