Date: 22nd July 2008 at 11:59pm
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Roberto Di Matteo made no changes to his starting eleven for his side’s second pre-season friendly, which saw the visit of Sheffield Wednesday.

Sam Baldock managed to shake off an ankle knock to continue up front, while trialist Florian Sturm played once again on the left side of midfield. There was no sign of possible signing Calum Elliot, although Mark Wright overcame a dead leg to feature on the bench.

There was no place in the Owls side for former Dons winger Wade Small, however the visitors fielded a strong side for their trip to stadium:mk.

Reminiscent of four days ago against the Royals, Dons started the game brightly and passed the ball around slickly in the centre of the park. The home side even managed to capitalise on their good start with the opener.

Florian Sturm, making his second appearance on the left side of midfield whilst on trial at the club, grabbed the goal after just four minutes. Aaron Wilbraham made space inside the penalty area before laying off the Austrian, who finished with a great left-footed strike.

However, the hosts’ lead didn’t lost very long, as their Championship visitors were level within eight minutes. Florian Esajas’ 30-yard free-kick caught out the entire Dons defence, including stand-in goalkeeper Nathan Abbey, and flew into the back of the net before anybody could move.

It was to be a game where finishing would be key, and the Dons could of retaken the lead again had their strikes been a little bit more lethal. Jemal Johnson had an effort expertly tipped around the post by Owls’ stopper Lee Grant, before Dean Lewington hit the woodwork with an attempt from the edge of the box.

Those chances were to be ruefully regretted when Brian Laws’ men stormed back into the game shortly afterwards, leaving their opponents gazumped.

Just after the half-hour mark Akpo Sodje was played in clear down the right-hand channel, who crossed low for Deon Burton to tap Wednesday into the lead.

The third not long after was almost a carbon-copy of their second, although there was some offside controversy as Sodje appeared to be standing in an offside position when played in behind the Dons’ backline. However play continued, and Sodje once again put the ball on a plate for strike partner Burton to convert.

Another striking contrast between the sides was the depth of one’s squad. Dons, thread-bare to the extreme and containing several trialists, up against a side who introduced Jamaican international and former Bolton man Jermaine Johnson at the interval.

The striker added a fourth for the Owls right after the break, after a dazzling run in which he beat four defenders before blasting past Abbey.

The second period then drifted out into insignificance for both sides, although Mark Wright did make an appearance after picking up a dead leg whilst on the club’s Portugal jaunt.

The game also featured two other trialists attempting to impress manager Roberto Di Matteo enough to earn a contract with the club. Striker Sami Sari entered the fray in the second half, although failed to impress in attack, and does not appear to be the answer to the side’s striking problems, while a trialist who appeared to slot into defence also looked woefully out of his depth. This player, though, will remain nameless, as even the official site do not seem to recognise him, calling him simply ‘trialist’.

Dons will be hoping for some more positive news after their final friendly game next Wednesday against Watford, before the real business gets underway.







Summary
All in all, it was once again not a pretty scoreline for the Dons, and the performance was even less endearing than against Reading on Saturday. However, it is important to note that Sheffield Wednesday are much further down the line in their pre-season preparations than ourselves.

The side was also without key names such as Willy Gueret, Danny Swailes & Drissa Diallo, all missing through injury. However, it is plainly clear that both Mr Di Matteo and Mr Winkelman need to dust down the cheque-book and make some signings before the season proper gets underway.

Sturm must surely be snapped up on a season-long contract, and could well be a more-than-adequate replacement for Lloyd Dyer, although a striker is still desperately sought-after.