Milton Keynes Dons vs Blackburn Rovers. Sky Bet Championship.
Saturday 17 October 2015 20:06, UK
Two goals from Ben Reeves and another by Simon Church helped MK Dons record a first win in eight Championship matches with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Blackburn Rovers.
The hosts always looked the most likely to win the game after Blackburn's Adam Henley was sent off in the ninth minute for bringing down Josh Murphy in the penalty box and Reeves duly dispatched the spot kick.
Rovers did have chances to level but Simon Church's second goal for the club with 19 minutes remaining and then another late strike from Reeves rounded off the win, to move the Dons up to 16th in the table.
The hosts began on the front foot as Rob Hall forced Rovers keeper Jason Steele into a testing save inside the first minute with a well-hit drive from the edge of the area.
And the visitors were dealt a double blow after just nine minutes when Henley was shown a straight red card for a last-ditch challenge on Josh Murphy in the penalty area as the Norwich loanee looked set to open the scoring.
Reeves subsequently stepped-up to coolly slot home the resulting penalty to bag his first goal of the season.
The Dons went close again eight minutes before the break when Hall cushioned Reeves' pass into space on the edge of the box before the onrushing Jake Forster-Caskey drilled a half-volley into the gloves of Steele.
Church did well to win the ball off Rovers defender Shane Duffy shortly after, but his attempt to curl the ball into Steele's far corner sailed agonisingly wide.
MK Dons' pressure continued in the second half as Murphy did excellently to evade the challenges of three Blackburn defenders down the left before setting-up Hall for a powerful strike in the box - but again Steele managed to deny the Dons a second.
The home goalkeeper David Martin was eventually tested on the hour when Jordan Rhodes met Craig Conway's cross inside the six yard box, but the frontman's well-timed volley was superbly saved.
Kyle McFadzean and Forster-Caskey also needed to make excellent blocks to deny goal-bound shots as Rovers looked for the equaliser.
But despite the visitors' sustained pressure during a 10-minute period midway through the second-half, the home side made their one-man advantage pay with a well-worked second goal after 71 minutes.
Murphy was again involved in the action down the left flank, riding a number of Blackburn lunges before floating a cross into the six-yard box where Church was lurking to head home his second goal of the season.
Nicky Maynard replaced Church shortly after and he wasted no time in testing the abilities of Steele with a glancing header.
And Reeves rounded off the win in the 89th minute with a well-taken finish inside the box after Forster-Caskey's through ball found the attacking midfielder in acre of space in the visitors' area.
"I had a go at Churchy at half-time because of the chance he missed in the first half. But then he scored after that and he deserves it because he works so hard in training every week, and that's why I back him because I know there are goals in him somewhere."
"I think in any game when you get a player sent off so early it will always affect the outcome of the game. What you ask for, though, is that the decision is correct - the referee sprinted to give the decision."