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Swindon Town 1-0 MK Dons
Town continued their unbeaten start to the League One season with a 1-0 victory over 10-man MK Dons at The County Ground on Saturday.
Matt Ritchie’s second goal of the season was enough to seal the points against Karl Robinson’s side, who had captain Dean Lewington sent off late in the first half.
Town started the stronger of the two sides, and went close to taking the lead after 22 minutes as James Collins glanced a Matt Ritchie cross towards goal, but Dons ‘keeper David Martin reacted brilliantly to tip it over the bar.
The visitors began to find their feet as the half progressed, but their hopes of wrestling the initiative were dashed after a 39th minute flashpoint.
After Dons skipper Lewington had been penalised for a tug on Tommy Miller, he was hassled for the ball by Simon Ferry and foolishly threw an arm in the direction of the Scot – who commendably gave no reaction.
Once the inevitable confrontation had subsided, the referee consulted his linesman before showing Lewington the red card – much to the dismay of the Dons supporters and coaching staff.
Town took just six minutes to make their numerical advantage count, as Ritchie floated a speculative cross into the box which evaded everyone and drifted into the far corner to make it 1-0 on the stroke of half time.
The second half began with the visitors seemingly galvanised by the loss of Lewington, but they continued to struggle to break down a stubborn home backline.
And it was still Paolo Di Canio’s side who always looked the more likely to add to the scoreline, as Andy Williams, James Collins and Tommy Miller all went close after the hour mark.
Williams was inches away from making it two with a brilliant solo effort on 74 minutes, as he skipped away from three challenges before rifling a 12-yard effort past Martin, only to see it rebound off the crossbar.
Dons boss Robinson threw on strikers Charlie MacDonald and Jabo Ibehre late on in the half as he desperately searched for an equaliser, and his side certainly looked more threatening as the game entered its closing stages.
Midfielder Darren Potter came closest to snatching a point for the visitors with a powerful 20-yard drive after 87 minutes, and though Wes Foderingham fumbled the greasy ball initially, he reacted quickly to gather it safely at the second attempt.
Though it was a gallant effort from the depleted Dons, they could find no way through another impressively solid defensive display from Town, who saw out four minutes of injury time to claim a deserved three points.
STFC: Foderingham; McEveley, McCormack (captain), Flint, Devera; De Vita (Navarro '73), Ferry, Miller, Ritchie; Collins (Storey '87), Williams