DONS returned to winning ways in emphatic style at Glanford Park on Saturday as they hammered a weak Scunthorpe team 3-0.
Luke Chadwick was first to react from Sam Slocombe’s hopeless flap 13 minutes into the game before he doubled Dons’ advantage with a cracker from 25-yards half an hour in. Alan Smith’s second half tap in made it comfortable as Dons strutted their stuff like it was a training exercise.
There were two changes to the Dons’ line-up following Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Crawley – Stephen Gleeson’s return to the first 11 saw Shaun Williams drop back into defence at the expense of Mathias Doumbe, while unsurprisingly, Charlie MacDonald lost his place after being hauled off at half time in midweek following his miss-laden first half at the Broadfield Stadium.
With both sides desperate for victory, it was Dons that started the brighter. Despite a shot well wide from Darren Potter, the visitors had the better of the play in the opening 15 minutes, particularly out wide. Both Angelo Balanta and Daniel Powell looked dangerous and keen to attack with pace, and the former appeared to have the upper hand over full-back Christian Ribeiro early doors.
It was Scunthorpe’s Mark Duffy who forced the first save of the game though after 13 minutes, firing across goal from the corner of the penalty area and forcing David Martin into a diving stop to put out for a corner.
But it was a goalkeeping howler at the other end which put Dons into the lead. After a deep Dean Lewington cross, Sam Slocombe struggled to deal with the swirling ball, palming the ball straight to Luke Chadwick who hooked the ball into the net for Dons’ first goal in three games.
From there, it resembled a training game as Dons strutted around the pitch with renewed confidence. Both full-backs had acres of space to run into, while the retreating Scunthorpe defences did nothing to stop Gleeson and Potter as they pulled the strings.
Chances weren’t entirely clear cut, but it was hardly a surprise when Chadwick doubled the lead on the half hour. With space and time, the midfielder lined up his shot from just shy of 25 yards, lofting the ball up and over Slocombe’s dive and into the top corner.
Daniel Powell had the perfect opportunity to end it before half time when, unleashed by Chadwick, he raced clear of the Scunthorpe but fired straight at Slocombe. The keeper could only chest the ball back into Powell’s path, but his second shot was at the stopper again. In the process, Powell appeared to pull up, and he was quickly replaced with Adam Chicksen.
The second half continued as the first ended. Dons looked well on control of things at both ends though Scunthorpe looked a little livelier and even created a few half chances, but nothing to have Martin worried.
But he needed to be alert when Josh Walker let fly from 20-yards, diving at full stretch to keep the ball at bay.
Dons wrapped it up as a spectacle 15 minutes into the second half when Alan Smith got the final touch after a scramble in the penalty area, scooping in after Lewington’s header across the face of goal.
From there on, it was routine. Scunthorpe offered little resistance as Dons passed around the midfield with ease, attacking sparingly, almost so not to offend their hosts.
Such was Dons’ dominance, a sustained period of pressure saw both Lewington and Otsemobor in the Scunthorpe penalty area vying for crosses. If there was a confidence problem going into the game, there certainly wasn’t by the end.
Looking keen to complete his hat-trick, Chadwick twice came close to scoring his third, shooting narrowly wide and seeing one deflected away for a corner. But his best chance came seven minutes from the end when Balanta was tripped in the area by David Mirfin. Stepping up to take the penalty, Chadwick hit it low to the keepers left, but Slocombe got a strong hand to it to keep it out.
Slocombe needed to be at his best when Ryan Lowe and Shaun Williams both had dangerous shots from the edge of the box late in the game, but it was academic as the game had long gone from Scunthorpe’s reach.
With other results going their way, Dons climbed back up to eighth in League 1.
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 2,737 (164)
Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Ribiero, Walker, Mirfin, Reid, Jennings (Ryan, 71), Duffy, Collins, Newey, Hawley, Prutton (Grella 63)
Subs not used: Severn, Kennedy, Gibbons, Canavan, Keegan
MK Dons: Martin, Otsemobor, Lewington, Kay, Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Powell (Chicksen, 38), Chadwick (O’Shea 83), Balanta, Smith (Lowe, 74)
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Doumbe, MacDonald, Alli
Booked: Kay, Smith, Collins