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Match Reports

📝 Match Report: City 1 MK Dons 0

Cheick mate to The Grecians

3 September 2022

Match Reports

📝 Match Report: City 1 MK Dons 0

Cheick mate to The Grecians

3 September 2022

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Exeter City returned to winning ways, recording a 1-0 win over MK Dons at St James Park thanks to Cheick Diabate's bullet header.

The young defender's first goal of the season secured all three points against an in-form Dons, on the day that Jay Stansfield - wearing number 9 - came on to rapturous applause for his Grecians debut.

Matt Taylor made only the one change from the last league outing away to Accrington Stanley with Jonathan Grounds coming in to replace the injured Alex Hartridge, while deadline day signings Stansfield and Harry Smith were named on the bench.

The opening ten minutes of the game did not see too much action, but the pressure on The Dons defence by both Jevani Brown and Sam Nombe was forcing mistakes and causing plenty of issues in the final third.

MK's chances were few and far between, but a slip from keeper Jamal Blackman in a one on one with Will Grigg, almost looked like the away side were going to take the lead. The City defence held firm and cleared the ball away, the game was now starting to heat up.

A beautiful free kick from Jack Sparkes a little under the 20 minute mark almost sent the home support into delirium but the ball agonisingly flew inches over the bar, with Dons keeper Jamie Cumming getting nowhere near the effort.

The chances were starting to come more and more for City as the game went on, with the French midfield maestro Tim Dieng combining well with Sparkes, Brown and Nombe, but with all the efforts they were still struggling to find the target.

Some magical football from Harry Kite saw the midfielder combine with Dieng and Nombe once again almost opened the scoring, but a heavy touch from Sam led to the ball rolling into the hands of an unbothered Cummings in the MK goal.


A searching ball into the area from the marauding Kite down the right hand side missed the boot of Brown on the edge of six yard box by millimetres after a gut busting run into the area. 

Seconds later and the ball was then at the feet of The Dons, and with that their biggest chance of the game but an on rushing Blackman in the City goal made himself as big as possible and made a fantastic save from point blank range, keeping the game goalless.

Nombe once again got himself in the right place, but he couldn’t find the back of the net. From the resulting corner, the Dons keeper Cummings had to claw the ball off his goal line twice in quick succession. First a bullet header from Dieng, followed up by another header this time from captain Pierce Sweeney.

With only 20 seconds played in the second half, The Big Bank erupted after a huge penalty shout for an alleged foul on Nombe in the area, but the shouts waved away by referee Ben Toner.

Moments later and Sparkes almost made it 1-0 but an inspired Cumming in goal for Dons made another superb save to keep the game at 0-0. The Big Bank was absolutely bouncing after the emphatic start to the second half.

Another chance went a miss, this time Brown is the player whose shot sailed just over the bar, after some lovely football down the right hand side this time from Josh Key finding Brown six yards out but the game was somehow still 0-0.

With 63 minutes played Taylor made his first change of the game with Rekeem Harper coming on to the field of play to replace Dieng.

The deadlock was broken with 25 minutes to go as a floated corner from Brown found Diabate lurking at the back post. A bullet header from the colossal centre back found the back of the net, erupting SJP into delirium. 


The moment that every City fan had been waiting for came in the 79th minute, with the introduction of transfer deadline day Stansfield, the son of the legendary Adam, donning the number nine shirt worn by his father. The noise from The Big Bank was deafening with every touch from the young forward. 

Stansfield almost had his moment as he found himself just inside the penalty area but his effort flashed just wide of the far post. 

It was complete performance from the Grecians, who pick up their third win of the season. 

The next game for City is an away trip east to play Charlton Athletic in an exciting clash at The Valley on Saturday 10 September.

City: Blackman, Key, Sweeney (C), Diabate, Grounds, Sparkes, Kite, Collins, Dieng (Harper), Brown, Nombe (Stansfield)

Subs not used: S. Brown, Caprice, Chauke, Jay, Smith

MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington (C), Tucker, O’hora, Grigg (Dennis), Johnson, Grant (Smith), Burns (Kayode), Harvie, Lawrence (Oyegoke), Devoy

Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Kayode, Barry, Jules

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 5931 (286 away)

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