MK Dons 2 Norwich City 1
Paul Lambert suffered his first League One defeat as Norwich
manager in front of the television cameras at Milton Keynes.
After an explosive start in which Chris Martin gave City the lead after
just 17 seconds, the Canaries failed get that all-important second goal.
First-half injuries to Stephen Hughes and Adam Drury didn’t help as
they struggled to cope with the physical aproach of their hosts.
Having kept clean sheets in their previous three games, it was of little
consolation to the Canaries that they did not concede from open play,
as a second half free kick and a hotly disputed penalty saw Paul Ince’s
side claim the three points.
Paul Lambert made just two changes to the side that drew at home
to Walsall nine days ago, with Martin and Luke Daley starting in
place of Jamie Cureton and Paul McVeigh.
While for the home side, Ince was missing the suspended Luke Howell and
injured fullback, Danny Woodards, as well as leading scorer, Jermaine
Easter. Central defender Mathias Doumbe recovered from the injury he
sustained in the 3-2 defeat to Huddersfield and they also included Luke
Chadwick, who had a brief spell as a Canary, making 18 appearances before
moving, initially on loan, to MK Dons in October 2008.
Martin justified his recall by capitalsing on a defensive error within seconds of the
home side kicking off. He then beat the Dons' keeper to his left with a low right
foot shot from 20 yards.
In the next minute he won the game's first corner, but this time
the Dons were more alert and cleared the danger.
In the sixth minute Luke Daley sprinted onto Simon Lappin’s flick
through on the right wing and from his attempted cross won a corner off
It was the 12th minute before the home side had their first real goal
attempt with Stephen Gleeson crossing from the right to Jabo Ibehre,
but the ball just eluded him.
Then Lappin put in a sweeping cross from the left to the far post
where Grant Holt’s header was deflected for a corner, taken by Hughes,
but the Dons cleared it comfortably.
Holt was a whisker away from doubling City’s lead with a diving header
in the six-yard area and in the 18th minute should have earned City a penalty
when he was pushed over by Powell.
Ex-Canary Chadwick was the first to go into the referee’s notebook for
a crude challenge on the impressive Stephen Hughes, who had to be
stretchered off. This led to the 20th minute introduction of
Paul McVeigh, who took on the role of midfield maestro.
The Dons won their first corner in the 24th minute. But having
already warned Darren Powell and Holt for pushing, it was no surprise
when the referee immediately blew for a foul on Holt who fell to the
Before Forster took the free kick the Canaries made their second
change of the game with Tom Adeyemi coming on for Adam Drury who
clearly hadn’t recovered from a heavy challenge he took earlier. This
saw Lappin fill in at left back, with Martin taking his place.
Puncheon certainly packed some weight into his 27th minute shot that
stung the hands of Forster, although the City keeper gathered the ball
safely before Chadwick could close in on it.
Holt did extremely well in the 32nd minute, as he put Doumbe under
pressure on the left touch-line and came away with the ball, but his
path to the opposition goal was then blocked by a further two
As the MK Dons threatened towards the end of the first half, Nelson
defended bravely to head out at the expense of a corner. It was taken
deep and although a powerful shot was fired back in, Forster got down
well to hold the ball close to his chest.
HALF-TIME: MK Dons 0 City 1
Norwich got the second half underway kicking towards their own fans
and it was so nearly a repeat of the first half, as they conceded
possession to the opposition! Gleeson’s shot was knocked on by Chadwick
and a diving Ibehre narrowly failed to make contact as the ball,
trickled past Forster's right hand post, much to the relief of the City defence..
Twice within a minute McVeigh was ball watching as he gifted MK Dons
successive corners. Fortunately, the diminutive midfielder’s blushes
were spared as the City defence stood firm.
The home side drew level in the 57th minute scoring the goal their
increasing possession had threatened. Norwich gave away a very cheap
free kick to the left-hand side of the ‘D’. Puncheon produced a
tremendous shot that cleared the wall and beat Forster high to his left
to silence the fifteen hundred Canary fans at the far end of the eerie
Before play began again, Lambert made his final change of the evening,
replacing the injured Nelson with Michael Spillane.
The Don’s goal brought about a greater urgency from the Canaries, with
Adeyemi powerfully winning the ball in midfield. The ball was swept out
to the right and McVeigh’s hanging cross was headed goalwards by Holt,
only to be tipped over by Gueret, but City failed to capitalise from the
In the 66th minute the home side forced another corner, after City had
given away possession cheaply in midfield. However, Puncheon’s
flag kick was a poor delivery and Berthel Askou cleared the ball.
Three minutes later, Ince made a double substitution, with Aaron
Wilbraham and Peter Leven coming on for Ibehre and Chadwick.
Daley then robbed a complacent defender and raced towards the home
side’s penalty area. However, the much larger David McCracken eased the
City youngster off the ball and attempted to set up the Dons' next
City succumbed again to the home side as Martin was adjudged by
the Assistant Referee to have fouled Gobern just inside the area. The
referee had waved play on until Dave Naylor raised his flag!
After much protesting by the City players, substitute Leven stepped up
in the 77th minute and after pausing in his run-up, put the ball to
Forster’s left, as the on-loan keeper dived the other way.
Berthel Askou’s alert defending denied the Dons another goal
opportunity, albeit at the expense of a corner, which was
With just five minutes of normal time remaining the subdued Martin
was fouled just outside the Don's area. He took the resulting free
kick and although it found its way under the wall it lacked enough
power to trouble Gueret.
Deep into the three minutes of extra time, City had one last chance to
salvage something from the game, as they earned a free kick after
Doumbe felled Holt just outside the penalty area. Martin stepped
over the ball, but Lappin’s kick was disappointing, as it didn’t even
force the keeper into a save.
FULL-TIME: MK Dons 2 City 1
MK Dons: Gueret, Lewington ©, Doumbe, McCracken, Gleeson, Johnson,
Gobern (Partridge 69), Puncheon, Ibehre (Wilbraham 69), Powell,
Chadwick (Leven 90)
Unused Subs: Seale, Davis, Carrington, Swailes.
Norwich: Forster, Ostemobor, Drury (Adeyemi 25), Nelson (Spillane 57),
Hughes (McVeigh 20), Holt ©, Martin, Lappin, Daley, Smith, Berthel
Unused Subs: Rudd (GK), Cureton, Whaley, McDonald.
MK Dons: Puncheon (57), Leven PEN (77)
Norwich: Martin (1)
MK Dons: Chadwick (Foul) 18
Attendance: 10, 354
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)
City fail to capitalise on Martin's magic moment
MK Dons 2 Norwich City 1