Dons fan Phil McNamara was at Tuesday's pre-season friendly against Drogheda and has sent the MKDSA this report and match gallery. Access the gallery by clicking here.
Perfect conditions and a decent playing surface in County Louth for the friendly versus Drogheda United. Drogheda relegated to League 1 last season and who are halfway through there current season, are having much better fortunes and a good possibility of returning to the League of Ireland Premier League this year.
This, we knew would be a step up from St James Gate on the Monday, as they play Leinster League Football, which is Non League and this would prove to be a sterner test, a good game from the word go, high energy and a good work out for the team. Drogheda were competitive and with there match fitness helping them, made the Dons work hard.
The game started brightly and immediately Daniel Powell seized on a ball in the area, to put the Dons, 1 up, the game then went from end to end, with both sides making chances and the tackles were competitive, hard but fair, Williams then hard the best notable chance from the Dons has his head, clipped the bar from a Reeves corner.
Drogheda got back in the game, when Charlie Burns and he won't need reminding, spilled a simple ball and allowed Droghedas Captain Lloyd Buckley, the simpliest task of putting the ball into the Dons net, Karl Robinson was clearly unhappy and made his disapproving voice known to Burns in the Dons goal.
Half Time 1-1.
The Dons started the second half with Oran Jackson being introduced to the back 4 and immediately he started to have an impact with some nice play and some good touches, this lad for me is one for the future, he was impressive and showed a great attitude to his work ethic and ability.
Then just as Karl was making the 10 substitutions he wanted to introduce, Daniel Powell picked up the ball and hit a sweet shot from outside the area into the bottom left hand corner to put the Dons 2 1 Up.
The changes were then made with Charlie Burns the only outfield player left from the starting X1 with Dave Martin who is with the squad, but still not match fit, It was then Burns who redeemed himself with a great save from Drogheda Sub Paul Finnegan, to keep the Dons in a winning position, Samir Carruthers who was introduced in the 2nd Half, looked exceptionally sharp and fit, had a great chance, which just curled wide.
Then with 4 minutes to go, came the goal of the game, which was a goal worth the admission money alone, started by the impressive Paul Downing, who controlled the ball and passed an excellent ball into midfield to Tom Hitchcock, he then fainted a superb dummy on a Drogheda midfielder, collected the ball and passed a great through pass into the path of Brandon Thomas-Assante, who was left one on one with keeper and proceeded to produce a cool finish round the keeper for the Dons to go 3 1 up and it was game over.
Fair play to Drogheda United a nice club, who showed great hospitality and kept going right to the end, to give our boys the work out they needed.
In my opinion, good work, a much younger looking Dons with a few experienced Pros, was impressed by the attitude and desire of the young players with the more experienced players helpng the youngster to blend in nicely.
Hard to pick a Man of the Match, all the lads put in a good shift and worked hard, obviously results are not important now, its getting minutes on the pitch, team bonding, especially with the young and new players and the fitness levels.
But if I had to pick on a few stand out performances - I would have to say Oran Jackson and Brandon Thomas-Assante look very bright young footballers, who will have a big future at the club, also impressed with Downing who looks a commanding centre half who likes to play football the right way out from the back and Samir Carruthers who looks really keen and sharp, If he takes that into the season, he will be a big asset to the team.