REPORT: Peterborough United 3, MK Dons 0: Sammie ends goal drought as Posh win well
Sammie Szmodics returned to goalscoring form as Peterborough United beat MK Dons 3-0 at the Weston Homes Stadium today (January 16).
Szmodics struck twice - his first League One goals since the second match of the season - and one more goal for top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris delivered the points for Posh.
It was a clinical display of finishing against a MK Dons side who bossed possession for large chunks of the contest. However they constantly ran aground against an impressive Posh back line which featured Niall Mason in an unaccustomed role in the middle of a back three.
Mason for the suspended Nathan Thompson was the only Posh change from the team that thumped Portsmouth in an EFL Trophy tie in their last outing. MK Dons were without veteran defender Richard Keogh.
Ethan Hamilton kept his place in central midfield ahead of Reece Brown.
Armed with the knowledge that MK Dons are an excellent counter attacking side, Posh wanted a fast start and they received one.
Jack Taylor shot just wide from 20 yards following a corner and Siriki Dembele danced into the visiting penalty area only to denied by a last-ditch tackle.
But Posh were not denied for much longer as Clarke-Harris pounced on Joe Ward’s fine right-wing cross to poke them in front in the seventh minute.
Dons suffered an early injury when midfielder Andrew Surman limped off, but they were soon in their stride with gifted wingbacks Matthew Sorinola and Ethan Laird prominent.
Ben Gladwin saw a fierce strike from a free kick deflected wide, but all attempts to get into the Posh penalty area were repelled.
A superb cross from Dembele was then chested down at the back post by Mark Beevers, but his attempt to find Clarke-Harris, or it might have been a shot, failed.
But Posh moved 2-0 up on the half hour when more Dembele skill saw him race away from Lasse Sorensen and play the perfect through ball for Szmodics who went round MK goalkeeper Lee Nicholls before slotting into an empty net to claim his first League One goal since September 19.
Dons were still dominating the ball, predictably enough during a tense 10-minute spell when a facial injury to Frankie Kent left Posh with 10 men, but they created little. Regan Poole almost upset the Posh mood when he let fly a 30-yard screamer which thudded against the crossbar.
Scott Fraser then just missed the target from 25 yards with Posh ‘keeper Christy Pym stranded in first-half added time.
The visitors continued to hog the ball after the break, but they were forced to resort to shots from outside the box as Posh protected the penalty area impressively. Kent returned to the game with a bandage on his face and played superbly.
Pym was largely untested with only a couple of Fraser shots hitting the target.
And Posh showed them to how to create and finish in the 65th minute when a fine passing move ended with Dan Butler finding Dembele.
Dembele, who was making his 100th appearance for the club, skinned his marker and delivered a hard, low cross that Szmodics converted at the near post.
Posh were comfortable from then on as they made it three wins in three home games, since the playing surface turned rough, by an aggregate of 12-2.
It might be best to keep it muddy.
Posh: Christy Pym, Dan Butler (sub Frazer Blake-Tracy, 86 mins), Frankie Kent, Mark Beevers, Niall Mason, Joe Ward (sub Idris Kanu, 68 mins), Jack Taylor, Ethan Hamilton, Siriki Dembele (sub Mo Eisa, 86 mins), Sammie Szmodics (sub Reece Brown, 74 mins), Jonson Clarke-Harris (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 68 mins).
Unused subs: Dan Gyollai, Mo Eisa, Harrison Burrows.
MK Dons: Andrew Fisher, Dean Lewington, Regan Poole, Ben Gladwin, Scott Fraser, Ethan Laird, Andrew Surman (sub Joe Mason, 13 mins), Lasse Sorensen (sub Lewis Johnson, 65 mins), Daniel Harvie (sub Jacj Davies, 76 mins), Matthew Sorinola, Cameron Jerome (sub Charlie Brown, 76 mins).
Unused subs: Lee Nicholls, George Williams, Warren O’Hora.
Posh: Clarke-Harris (7 mins), Szmodics (30 mins & 65 mins).
Posh: Taylor (foul).
MK Dons: Davies (foul).
Referee: Marc Edwards 8.