Taylor stars as Leeds United bounce back with win
Uwe Rosler’s men built a two-goal lead and could have been further in front, but had to withstand a big finish from their hosts to hold on to claim all three points.
The Leeds side showed three changes from the one that lost against Ipswich with Scott Wootton in at right-back for Gaetano Berardi, Alex Mowatt back in midfield in place of Tom Adeyemi and Sam Byram restored to the right-wing role in a 4-3-3 formation with Mirco Antenucci left out.
With more than 6,000 travelling fans roaring them on, United made a good start with Mowatt and Charlie Taylor getting early efforts in.
MK Dons showed they could be dangerous as Rob Hall shot wide after going on a good run and Josh Murphy curled a shot.
Marco Silvestri had to make his first save to turn Sam Gallagher’s effort over while David Martin was forced to save at the other end soon after to keep out Chris Wood’s header.
Dons player Murphy saw a shot saved by Silvestri’s leg, but it was Leeds who took the lead just after the half-hour.
Taylor showed why Manchester United are believed to be keeping tabs on him as he charged into the area from his left-back position and went down under Baker’s challenge. United had two stonewall penalties denied in their previous two games, but this time were awarded a spot-kick by referee David Webb, which Wood put away for his fourth goal of the season.
Wood could have scored again soon after when meeting a cross from Stuart Dallas, but could only turn the ball over.
Silvestri kept Leeds ahead when he pushed Hall’s strike onto the post and Gallagher hit the rebound over.
But on the stroke of half-time United made it 2-0 after Taylor was superb again, beating several home players before firing an unstoppable shot past Martin.
Leeds started the second half as they ended the first with Byram getting away, but he sent his shot over. Mowatt was then denied by keeper Martin at the near post.
After looking in control, however, United had to dig in for a spell past the hour mark. Murphy saw a low shot saved by Silvestri and the keeper then made an excellent save to keep out Diego Poyet’s effort.
MK Dons did finally beat Silvestri 16 minutes from time as Murphy’s low cross eluded the visitors’ defence and was netted from close range by substitute Simon Church.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Samir Carruthers was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Dallas. But they still made the running as they threw everything at Leeds in the closing stages and Silvestri was forced into another save by Reeves’ free-kick.
United did manage a breakaway and Wood fired into the side-netting before a nervy finish in eight minutes of added time.
It stayed 2-1 to the end, though, with goal-line clearances at both ends, Cook being denied for Leeds.
United boss Rosler was relieved to see his side get over the line as they just managed to avoid a repeat of their Bristol City draw when they had been two up.
He said: “The way we managed the game in first 15 to 20 minutes of the second half was impressive and we could have easily scored in that period.
“But then the panic button set into play, even with a man more. All credit to MK Dons, they made some tactical changes. They put (Carl) Baker in the right back position and he put ball after ball into our box and they got momentum with some corners.
“It was difficult for us to get the ball down and play and use our man advantage.
“But in this league, you need to find a way to win, even when you are not playing pretty over ninety minutes which is what we did.
“We were nervous, you could see that. I think in the back of our minds a little bit was the Bristol City game. But we will get better on that part as well.”
MK Dons 1
(Wood 31, pen, Taylor 43)
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Sky Bet Championship
MK Dons: Martin, Spence (Bowditch 73), McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Poyet, Carruthers, Baker, Hall (Church 58), Murphy, Gallagher (Reeves 58). Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Murphy, Cook, Mowatt (Adeyemi 77), Byram (Antenucci 84), Dallas (Bellusci 90+2), Wood.
Referee: David Webb.