Doran dominates for Dons as Walsall throw it away
MK Dons 1 Walsall 0
Sunday 11 October 2009
Paul Ince's managerial rehabilitation is a work in progress, but there are signs his return to Milton Keynes, the club he guided to promotion from League Two before his short and unhappy reign at Blackburn Rovers, will work out satisfactorily for both.
It might, anyway, if his side can keep winning terrible games in which they have been largely outplayed, and it certainly will if he keeps using his contacts to bring in players like Aaron Doran. Judging by the fact that they have let him take the 18-year-old Irishman on a month's loan, Ince clearly did not burn all his bridges with Blackburn, and it paid off yesterday.
Technically, creatively and physically the young winger, who has already made three Premier League appearances for Rovers, was the best player on the pitch by a distance, and it was down to his influence that the Dons came away with three points.
In fairness to Ince, a lot of his better players, like striker Aaron Wilbraham and midfielder Jason Puncheon, are short on games and match fitness and, as he pointed out afterwards, injuries have left him a long way from being able to put out his preferred team. "In the circumstances, when the sides around us always seem to be able to put out their first elevens, for us to be amongst them is very pleasing," Ince said.
"I've only been here six or seven weeks and it's been a hard road, we're playing catch up. Give me another six months to a year, because it takes that sort of time to build a team, but in the meantime we're grinding out results, and that has to be encouraging."
Walsall began far more brightly. Darren Byfield had two good chances in the first four minutes, and the Saddlers continued to keep their opponents on the back foot, though the Dons weren't helped by losing centre-half David McCracken and left-back Dean Lewington before the first period had reached the halfway point.
It was 20 minutes before MK had a shot of any kind, but having done so, they began to look dangerous. Well, Doran did, anyway, and his pace and control had already caused Walsall several panicky moments when he dribbled to the by-line and hit a firm, low cross that both cut out Walsall goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin and put the ball on a plate for Jermaine Easter to turn into the empty goal.
Most of the rest of the chances in a poor game fell to Walsall. Byfield wriggled clear only to see his effort blocked by Dons' goalkeeper Willy Guerét, and in the second half saw a deflected shot clip the bar.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 final preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: Arrogant Brazilian team may never be forgiven by the fans
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 3 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 4 World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie appears to give his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
- 5 Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’