MK Dons’ season went out with a whimper rather than a roar on the final day as play-off hopefuls were convincing 3-1 winners at stadium:mk.
Kevin Lisbie scored a first half brace before turning provider for David Mooney 11 minutes into the second period to wrap up a routine victory for Russell Slade’s side.
Dons will be glad to see the back of the season, though Ryan Hall’s deflected effort gave the home support something to cheer about with 13 minutes to go.
Dons welcomed back Antony Kay for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in March. Without Brendan Galloway and George Baldock, Jordan Spence was redeployed at right back, while Dean Lewington returned to his familiar left back. Of the 18-man squad, nine of them had question marks hanging over their heads as to whether they’d be at stadium:mk next season.
While there was an end-of-season atmosphere in the crowd, neither side were playing with any particular spark in the opening 15 minutes. Orient, already assured of a play-off spot, enjoyed a lot of possession, but despite winning a couple of corners, created little. Dons meanwhile came closest to opening the scoring in the 14th minute when Ryan Hall’s powerful free kick was spilled by keeper Jamie Jones, but neither Izale McLeod nor Dele Alli could put it home.
And they were made to pay for the miss when, three minutes later, Kevin Lisbie headed Orient into the lead. Dean Cox was given time on the left-hand side to whip the ball in, and Lisbie, unmarked, sent his header back across the face of goal into the far-side of the net to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Dons continued to play patient football though, but struggled to create anything clear cut as the Orient defence stood firm. And Orient were actually the ones to come closest to scoring next too, but Cox’s effort from the edge of the box was well saved by Martin.
But the keeper wouldn’t last much longer, appearing to turn his ankle as he cleared a routine ball back to him. Despite struggling on for a few minutes, he eventually made way for 18-year-old debutant Charlie Burns.
While he had little to do in the remainder of the first half, there was nothing he could do about Orient doubling the lead. In the second minute of stoppage time, David Mooney held the ball up brilliantly before sliding in Lisbie, beating the offside trap and rolling neatly past Burns into the far corner of the net, making it 2-0 just before the break.
Dons, and particularly McLeod, started the final half of the season with a fire in their bellies. The striker did well to worm himself some space in the centre of the park but his shot was too far out to trouble Jamie Jones in the Orient net. Seconds later, McLeod picked Romain Vincelot’s pocket on the edge of the box but his shot was rushed this time, and straight into Jones’ arms.
Orient though could’ve put the icing on the cake with 53 minutes gone when Mooney raced clear of Kay, but his strike was well saved at his near post by Burns.
Again though, there was nothing he could do to prevent Orient putting the game to bed after 56 minutes, when Mooney again raced through, lashing the ball across the keeper from a tight angle to put the Os 3-0 up.
Try as they might, Dons simply could break down the stern Orient midfield, let alone the defence. And while they tried to play with a high line, it left Dons dangerously exposed over the top, with Mooney easily having the pace over Flanagan to chase long balls.
Dons finally got themselves on the score sheet with 13 minutes remaining, when McLeod nodded down a long lump forward into the path of Ryan Hall, whose shot took a wicked deflection on its way past Jones.
As the teams went through the formalities of the remaining time, Chris Dagnall missed a sitter in the final minute when he was put through on goal, but looking to send Burns the wrong way, put the ball wide of the upright.
The result means Dons finish the season 10th in League 1 with 60 points , 14 adrift of the final play-off spot.
Referee: Stephen Martin
Attendance: 9,965 (1,334)
MK Dons: Martin (Burns 33), Lewington, Spence, Kay, Flanagan, Gleeson, Alli, Hall, Smith (Rasulo 68), Kennedy (Powell 57), McLeod
Subs not used: Randall, Hickford, Summerfield, Loveridge
Leyton Orient: Jones, Omozusi, Sawyer, Vincelot, Baudry, Cox, Lisbie (Dagnall 62), Mooney (Batt 79), Odubajo, Clarke, Lundstram (James 67)
Subs not used: Larkins, Bartley, Simpson, Ness