The abject display that was Newport away last week made it a very long week to be a Boro’ fan. And we just can’t see MK Dons away as being the cure. The FA Cup Round One draw didn’t look all that kind on paper when it came out of the hat. But we’ve been bumbling through the many stages of misery in recent weeks; one debacle rolling into another. You can’t help but wonder if we’re going to be the proverbial lambs to the slaughter at stadium:MK this time around.
Unless we manage to pull off a miracle. In which case, the Pope will be canonising Revs a saint.
MK Dons v Stevenage
stadium:MK, Milton Keynes — 06 November 2021 — FA Cup R1
Like most clubs we seem to come up against these days, our recent form against our upcoming opponents isn’t amazing. Overall, however, it’s fairly even: five wins to us, seven to them and a couple of draws in between. Both also have shoot-outs to thank for one of our respective wins.
If nothing else, we could do with taking some inspiration from the Class of 2010 for this one. It’s at this point of the FA Cup that we happened to first met the Dons exactly 11 years ago. Just like now, they were flying high in League One and we were stumbling around in the lower reaches of League Two. You could argue we’re doing a lot more than stumbling right now. But the only key difference between then and now is that we’re going to theirs first up.
Back then, Boro’ battled to a credible 0-0 home draw on 06 November 2010 to secure a replay at stadium:MK. If we were being written off ahead of that replay on 16 November 2010, it was premature. A 95th minute equaliser off the boot of Darius Charles kept us in the running and it was a pivotal moment. If he hadn’t, our 7-6 win on penalties wouldn’t have been possible. And the Dons would’ve gone on to play AFC Wimbledon in the next stage.
Rising up to the challenge…
Our promotion to League One at the end of that season put us back up against the Dons. And an early season visit to their place on 27 August 2011 ended in a narrow defeat. But we balanced it out with a 4-2 home victory on 24 January 2012; Mark Roberts’ last match in charge before Gary Smith took over. And, to be fair to Smiffy, he brought three points back from stadium:MK on 27 October 2012 as things looked rather rosy.
After that, the rot then set in.
A 2-0 home defeat on 27 April 2013 came after Smiffy had left the building; GW now back at the helm. And things didn’t get better as we rolled into the 2013-4 season. A 4-1 reverse on the road on 28 September 2013 was followed up with one of those games; the Dons roaring back from a two-goal deficit at the Lamex on 22 March 2014 to claim a win – and leave our survival hopes in tatters. While the writing may have been on the wall, a Boro’ win could’ve been telling.
We’d actually forgot we had a 2-1 home win in the Paint Pot Trophy on 08 October 2013; stuck right in-between those two league outings. Maybe that’s when our thing for pointless cup wins when the league edifice is crumbling around us first started?
No longer on a level playing field
Since relegation in 2014, we’ve played the Dons on five occasions; three of which have been in various guises of the Football League Trophy. The only two exceptions came during the 2018-9 campaign as they took a sabbatical from League One. With our 3-2 home win on 24 November 2018 and 1-1 away draw on 16 March 2019, it wasn’t a bad return. Not least when Ilias Chair is pinging them in from distance as he did at stadium:MK.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about our FLT expeditions.
A 0-0 draw at theirs on 03 October 2017 is as good as it’s been on that front; Boro’ eventually losing 5-4 on penalties. There’s also been a 3-0 defeat on 03 September 2019, as well as a 3-2 reverse on 06 October 2020 for us to bear – both at the Lamex. So, with that in mind, perhaps our cup fortunes will be better served at stadium:MK this weekend.
Mind you, the grim reality is that our FA Cup run is unlikely to get past the first hurdle this term.