MK Dons (Home) – Papa Johns’ Trophy

Jun 9, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

The Memorial Stadium Tuesday 13th December 2022

Bristol Rovers 4

Hoole (33), Marquis (54 & 67), Saunders (71)

Mk Dons 1

Eisa (pen, 80)

Referee: Declan Bourne Attendance: 864

Just a few months ago, following an EFL Trophy tie group stage match against a robust Crystal Palace U-21 side, manager Joe Barton told the media representatives at his post match press conference that he would be fielding a youth team in the final group match of the competition.

He didn’t do that, of course, and his side made it through the group stage as runners up, beat Colchester United in the first knockout tie and were now facing MK Dons in the last 16 of the competition.

The visitors, already beaten by Rovers on their own ground in league action in October, arrived at the Mem with a temporary manager in charge in the shape of defender Dean Lewington, a player with 902 first class appearances to his name.

Lewington was taking charge following the weekend sacking of boss Liam Manning and his entire management team and he made seven changes to the starting lineup.

Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, Barton named quite a strong Rovers side that included Aaron Collins and Jordan Rossiter, who took the captain’s armband for the evening.

Rovers took charge of proceedings from the off and Collins looked certain to give Rovers an early lead but, when played in by Lewis Gordon, he skewed the ball wide of goal and ended up in a crumpled heap in the back of the net.

It transpired that he had been challenged as he went to shoot and had stud marks from the back of his knee down to his ankle. The striker could barely walk as he was helped around the pitch to the dressing room, with fears that the injury could keep him out of the side for a lengthy spell.

Surprisingly it took 33 minutes for Rovers to register their first goal of the evening and it came from an unlikely source, in the shape of Luca Hoole. When an Antony Evans corner was cleared, Rossiter picked up the loose ball and crossed to the back post where Hoole headed home from close range.

Deep into first half stoppage time Rovers lost their skipper who signalled to the bench that he was unable to continue and he disappeared down the tunnel to be replaced by Paul Coutts.

A second goal arrived on 54 minutes and came after a cross from Evans was mishit by Coburn but coming in behind him was John Marquis, who made no mistake from close range.

The third goal, just 13 minutes later, saw Marquis double his tally for the evening. Running on to Coburn’s header, he decided to shoot first time and beat goalkeeper Jamie Cumming from the edge of the area.

Harvey Saunders added a fourth goal just a minute after being sent on as a substitute, beating Cumming with a left foot effort after a cross from Luke McCormick.

Eight minutes after coming on as a replacement for Bobby Thomas, Alfie Kilgour was red carded for a foul on yellow substitute Mo Eisa. It looked to be a harsh decision and was compounded by the fact that a penalty was also awarded and Eisa scored his side’s consolation from the spot


Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Gibbons, Hoole, Thomas (Kilgour, 70), Connolly, Gordon (Sinclair, 70), McCormick, Rossiter (Coutts, 45+1), Evans, Collins (Coburn, 14) (Saunders, 70), Marquis.

Substitutes: Belshaw, Westbrooke.

MK Dons: Cumming, Tucker, Oyegoke, Lawrence, Jules, Robson, Devoy, Smith (Grant, 64), Johnson, Barry (Dennis, 64), Grigg (Eisa, 70).

Substitutes: Ravizzoli, Kemp, Harvie, Ilunga.


No former Rovers players involved for MK Dons

A yellow cards was issued to Luke McCormick

A red card was issued to Alfie Kilgour

Jordan Rossiter was skipper but Paul Coutts took the armband when he was substituted

Five substitutes used, one of them being Josh Coburn who was, in turn, substituted himself

Nine added minutes

(Photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman