Tranmere fall short as MK Dons secure victory

Tranmere visited MK Dons this afternoon in their second fixture of the 2023/24 League Two season.

Ahead of the game, Ian Dawes said, “Every game is a challenge. The style of play of the teams now is so different, everyone’s style is different. 

“MK Dons play a back three like Barrow did, but they won’t play it in the same style as Barrow did, the way Barrow sit deep and try and counter, it’s going to look completely different. 

“The spaces are in different places, they’ll be up and at them a bit more like Graham Alexander’s teams are, credit to them. 

“It will be a challenge, a different type of challenge, but every game is, it’s just important that we get our organisation right out of possession and our patterns of play that will hurt them when we’re in possession of the ball, and ultimately it’s about getting a result.”

Match Report: MK Dons v Tranmere Rovers

MK Dons 1
Eisa (7′)
Gilbey (7′)

HT 1-0

0 Tranmere Rovers

Tranmere Rovers suffered a 1-0 defeat against MK Dons in their second league match of the season, despite a strong second-half effort that fell short of securing an equalizer.

MK Dons took the lead in the 7th minute when Alex Gilbey’s free kick from 30 yards out was nodded in by Mo Eisa.

Tranmere Rovers pressed for a goal to level the score, and Kieron Morris unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the box that was expertly saved by MK Dons’ goalkeeper, Craig MacGillivray.

MK Dons kept the pressure on, with Eisa almost getting a second goal but being denied by a well-timed clearance from Tom Davies.

During the first half, Tranmere struggled to maintain possession as MK Dons dominated the ball. MK Dons maintained a 1-0 lead going into the break.

Tranmere’s manager, Ian Dawes, made three substitutions at halftime, bringing in Kristian Dennis, Connor Jennings, and Lee O’Connor for Josh Hawkes, Paul Lewis, and Reece McAlear respectively.

These changes provided a boost for Tranmere, as Harvey Saunders had a chance to score following a pass from Luke Norris, but he was deemed offside.

In the 60th minute, both Tranmere and MK Dons fans joined in a minute’s applause to remember Ben Harrison, an Associate Director of Tranmere Rovers.

As the match progressed past the 60-minute mark, Tranmere began to show more energy. Connor Jennings came close to scoring with a header, and Sam Taylor posed challenges for MK Dons’ defense from the right wing.

Tranmere’s best opportunity to equalize came in the 76th minute when Dennis set up Norris for a goal-scoring chance. However, Norris’s shot hit the crossbar after he lifted the ball over the goalkeeper. Shortly after, Jennings narrowly missed with a headed attempt.

Tranmere Rovers continued to press aggressively for a tying goal, and Norris had another close chance after a well-placed pass from Davies. Nevertheless, MacGillivray managed to get a hand on the ball just before it could find the top corner of the net.

Despite a determined late effort by Tranmere, MK Dons held on to secure the victory and claim the three points.

Tranmere host Harrogate Town on Tuesday 15 August for their third game of the 2023/24 League Two season.

Match Highlights


Credit: Tony Coombes

Fans’ Twitter Reaction

Post Match Interview


MK Dons – Formation 4-4-2
1 Craig MacGillivray GK
2 Cameron Norman DF
4 Jack Tucker DF
6 M.J. Williams DF
7 Jonathan Leko DF
5 Warren O’Hora MF
8 Alex Gilbey (C) MF
10 Mohamed Eisa MF
21 Daniel Harvie MF
15 Tommy Smith FW
17 Ethan Robson FW

12 Nathan Harness SUB
19 Brooklyn Ilunga SUB
25 Phoenix Scholtz SUB
28 Dawson Devoy SUB
11 Nathan Holland SUB
22 Ashley Hunter SUB
18 Max Dean SUB

Graham Alexander

Match Officials
Sunny Singh Gill
Assistants: Steven Plane and Andrew Hickman
Fourth official: George Warren

Tranmere Rovers – Formation 4-3-3
1 Luke McGee GK
23 Reece McAlear DF
6 Jordan Turnbull DF
3 Jake Leake DF
5 Tom Davies (C) DF
8 Regan Hendry MF
22 Paul Lewis MF
7 Kieron Morris MF
9 Luke Norris FW
19 Harvey Saunders FW
11 Josh Hawkes FW

13 Joe Murphy SUB
2 Lee O’Connor SUB
21 Josef Yarney SUB
4 Brad Walker SUB
14 Kristian Dennis SUB
18 Connor Jennings SUB
20 Samuel Taylor SUB

Ian Dawes

Attendance: 5831

League Table

League 2 season attendance

2023/24 Total home attendance6584
2023/24 Total away attendance5831
2023/24 Total H&A attendance12415
2023/24 Average home attendance6584
2023/24 Average away attendance5831
2023/24 Average H&A attendance6208

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