FA Cup: How Luton Town & MK Dons Need to Rescue Their Seasons
January 26th was a mammoth day for both Luton Town and Milton Keynes Dons. Both sides dumped Premier League opposition out of the FA Cup to secure potentially lucrative ties in the fifth round of the tournament.
Yet that magnificent day has been followed by inconsistent and faltering form from both. Between Luton and MK Dons, eight games have been played since their victories over Norwich and QPR respectively. In these games, both teams have lost three and drawn one.
This downturn in form has caused MK Dons to lose touch with the play off positions in League One. Earlier in the season they were fighting for automatic promotion, yet now they are struggling to remain in the top half of the table. Even by winning their games in hand, at best they would find themselves eight points behind the top six.
You sense that if they do not make the playoffs this year, manager Karl Robinson may be out of the door.
Luton Town have also fell away from the playoff positions in the Conference Premier and need to win all of their games in hand to eradicate the gap.
With less than a third of the league season remaining, both sides must now muster the results to push themselves back into contention.
This may be especially difficult for the MK Dons who lack an instinctive and regular goal scorer.
Maybe it is therefore a good thing that both sides suffered comprehensive defeats in the fifth round of the FA Cup today.
MK Dons did not show any sign of a good performance in the first half of their match against a resurgent Barnsley side. After finishing the half 2-0 down a slight glimmer of hope was afforded to them when they pulled a goal back. Barnsley dominated the final minutes however and came out 3-1 winners.
Luton Town put up a fight in the early stages against Millwall but ultimately paid the price for some poor defending, before going down 3-0.
It would be a travesty to see either side miss out on a chance of promotion once more. Multiple failures to gain promotion in recent years have caused fans to become frustrated.
A fabulous cup run is thrilling while it lasts, but when its over without a trophy to show for it, results in the league have to be there.
Sadly and especially for the MK Dons, the task at hand is going to be tricky. It is up to the teams to try and turn their league campaigns around and ensure there can be better in store for the fans of both sides.
It's the fans after all who will remember the pain of a poor league campaign more than a valiant but expected cup exit.
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