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2 Up, 2 Down: Fortunate to get a point or two dropped for Sunderland at MK Dons? (Part 1)

Still can’t decide if it was a point gained or two lost? Our first panel discuss the ups and downs of the second instalment of our week in Milton Keynes - part one!

Milton Keynes Dons v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by John Cripps/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says...

Two Up!

Charlie Wyke...

Having been critical of Charlie Wyke in the past, I thought he had a very good game and scored him 9 out of 10. Not only did he score a very good goal, I was delighted to see him taking the ball with his back to goal and laying it off accurately.

He made some good runs into the channels and appeared to be working hard not to give easy exits for the opposition, usually coming in the form of stupid fouls. I was also impressed with his anticipation and work rate as he ran hard all game. He looks like a player who is working on his game and reaping the rewards. Man of the match for me.

Our final ball...

Our offensive play for probably two thirds of this game was good, lacking only the final touch which was of course frustrating. With chances being created down both flanks and through the middle, we scored two but might have had a hat-full on another day. I know its a cliché, but I would be much more concerned if we were not creating these chances.

Vokins made a reasonable debut, looking sharp going forward and for the most part managing a fairly handy MK right wing. Jones looked fast and direct during his time on the pitch. Until his substitution, Aiden O’Brien played a lively role, running the channels and pressing with a bit of intelligence and tracking back to help our midfield.

We might feel like it is two points lost, but when we went 2-1 down I wondered whether we could energise and go again, not only to gain parity but to claim the three points. I thought we were unlucky at the finish not to score the winner, with McGeady coming oh so close at the death. Take the point and move on to next week, other results around us could have been worse!

Milton Keynes Dons v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Aiden O’Brien was effective at pressing the ball and helping out the midfield for Sunderland at MK Dons on Saturday according to Kelvin Beattie
Photo by John Cripps/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Two Down!

Come on referee...!

I am going to start with the officials. Danny Collins called it when he said sometimes in the lower league’s you get officials that do not want to make the important decisions. MK’s second goal looked well offside.

The block on Wyke as he was running into the penalty area in the first half warranted a card and free kick, they then went up the field and scored. The handball in the second half would of course been picked up on VAR and surely would have been given as a penalty.

The officials gave none of these, the ref preferring to penalise and card a number of innocuous offences, for both teams. We have to get out of this league and away from this quality of official.

Nervy defending...

We looked strangely hesitant in the centre of defence, especially in the first half an hour or so of the game. This along with a press that stuttered during this same period put us under a fair degree of pressure from a handy looking MK team.

Milton Keynes Dons v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Jake Vokins warming-up ahead of his first start for Sunderland at MK Dons
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Mark Wood says...

Two Up!

That’s entertainment...

Despite another two dropped points and the usual hair tearing you get watching from watching Sunderland, this was a good game.

If, as Sunderland fans we were not so desperate to get ourselves out of League One we would have enjoyed it a lot more. Two teams wanting to pass the ball, both going for it trying to win the game with chances at both ends and how often have we been able to say that watching League One?

It wouldn’t have been surprising if it had ended 3-3 and even if one team had managed to make it 3-2 it would have been harsh on the losing side

Sweeet Luke O’Nien... bah, bah, bah...

Luke O’Nien back in the side in midfield is a change many fans have wanted to see and bringing him back for Scowen is a swap that I personally wished for, so I was pleased to see exactly that in the starting line up.

I thought he brought energy to the midfield just as Scowen does, but with a lot more end product. He got in some important tackles after a shaky start by Sunderland as a whole and made things happen when he had the ball. I already thought he was having a good game when he got his goal, so needless to say he got my vote for man of the match.

Milton Keynes Dons v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Luke O’Nien was man of the match for Sunderland at MK Dons according to Mark Wood
Photo by John Cripps/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Two Down!

Weakness at the back...

Our defence actually had an improved record in the league under Lee Johnson before this game despite dropping Parkinson’s five man defence, but today our goalmouth led a charmed life.

Maybe it was because it was his first game and he didn’t quite understand where to be positionally with his new team, but the Dons recognised quickly that Vokins wasn’t on the same wavelength as his teammates and exploited it fully. Or maybe he is another from the Patrick van Aanholt left back academy.

A point just isn’t enough...

Entertainment, goals and chances aside it is another draw. Wins are the only thing that will get us out of League One and whole runs of them at that, not win-draw-draw-win-lose sequences; all that will achieve is a spot in the play-offs at best.

The result could have gone either way today and in our last league game you couldn’t say we looked like we deserved all the points either. If you want the wins, you have to look the part week in, week out and Sunderland are just not doing that at the present time.

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