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12 December 2015

Pitman heads Town back into the top six

An early goal from Brett Pitman gave Town a third successive away win to take Blues back into the Play-Off places.

The summer signing from Bournemouth latched on to a brilliant cross from Luke Chambers to head past David Martin.

Blues had further chances to extend the lead though Daryl Murphy and Freddie Sears, while Dean Gerken was forced into two excellent saves late on as Dons searched for an equaliser.

The win takes Blues into sixth place with Mick McCarthy's side on the road again at Fulham on Tuesday.

Town kept with the same side that went down against Middlesbrough last Friday but Ryan Fraser, back after a knee ligament injury, was included on the bench.

Daryl Murphy fired wide of the far post in the game’s first opening, Cole Skuse then doing superbly to block Nicky Maynard’s effort at the other end after Josh Murphy’s cross had fallen to him on the edge of the box.

Darren Potter’s right foot strike was wide of Gerken’s left post, former Blue, Dean Bowditch, then whipping in a cross that was cleared by Tommy Smith.

Town got the breakthrough inside 10 minutes, Jonathan Douglas found Chambers on the right and the skipper sent in an excellent cross that was met by the head of the diving Pitman.

Another terrific pass from Jonas Knudsen gave Sears a sight of goal, the striker lifted the ball over Martin from the angle but couldn’t find the unguarded net.

Douglas volleyed over from 30 yards, then picked up the first yellow card of the game for a foul, Gerken saving comfortably from Murphy’s effort.

Gerken was stretched more with Carl Baker’s cross put behind for a corner, Samir Carruthers’ shot forcing another flag kick.

Murphy then had a chance to extend Town’s lead, the Republic of Ireland international escaping the home defence but his lob over the on-rushing Martin was just wide.

Bowditch’s ambitious strike from distance flew high over the bar as Town continued to keep the home side at distance until the half-time whistle, with Gerken rarely tested in the first 45 minutes.

Murphy’s surging run and shot past the far post got the second-half underway on the front foot for Blues, Baker responding for Dons with a shot blocked for a corner.

Sears flashed a header wide, Maynard doing the same at the other end, then Bowditch seeing an effort deflected just wide in the hosts’ best moment of the first hour.

Maynard headed wide before Dons made a double change with Bowditch and Baker replaced by Ben Reeves and Daniel Powell. Knudsen almost found Murphy with a cross from the left, the former Sunderland striker then smashing his shot over the bar when in a good position to add to the advantage.

Chambers and Sears were added to referee Gavin Ward’s notebook, Murphy then inches wide with a snap shot with his right foot.

Jonathan Parr replaced Ainsley Maitland-Niles for the closing stages, Gerken forced into making his first real save soon after to keep out Reeves’ effort, the ‘keeper doing even better to tip over Carruthers’ effort.

Gerken had an easier task to hold on to Reeves’ volley before Town made a second change with David McGoldrick on for Sears.

Skuse was close to settling it for Town but Martin denied him before a last effort from substitute Rob Hall was beaten out by the immaculate Gerken to give Town a fifth Championship win on the road this season.

MK Dons: Martin, Spence (Hall 86), Kay, McFadzean, Lewington, Potter, Baker (Powell 61), Carruthers, Murphy, Bowditch (Reeves 61), Maynard. Subs not used: Cropper, Hodson, Gallagher, Poyet.

Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Douglas, Maitland-Niles (Parr 78), Sears (McGoldrick 86), Murphy, Pitman. Subs not used: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Tabb, Coke, Fraser. Booked: Douglas, Chambers, Sears.
Att: 13,520

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