Dons 4-1 Notts County: Sensational second half for Dons

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  • Dons dominate first half, but can’t score
  • Carl Baker and Lewis Baker put Dons 2-0 up
  • Elliot Whitehouse pulls one back for County
  • Will Grigg’s brace makes it comfortable

Substitute Will Grigg scored a brace as Dons cruised to a 4-1 win over Notts County at stadium:mk on Saturday.

Despite dominating the first half, Dons went in level at the break, thanks in large part to some excellent goalkeeping from County stopper Roy Carroll.

But his resolve was eventually beaten by Carl Baker in the 63rd minute as Dons took the lead, before a sublime effort from Lewis Baker made it 2-0 11 minutes later.

Elliot Whitehouse threatened to make it a close finish with 11 minutes to go, but a double from Grigg in the 84th and 93rd minute ensured all three points.

After returning to winning ways on Tuesday night against Oldham, Karl Robinson made two changes to the starting 11. Devante Cole lead the line as Will Grigg dropped to the bench, while Dean Bowditch, who hobbled off against Oldham, was only fit enough to be named among the substitutes and was replaced by Carl Baker.

With County struggling down in 19th place in League 1, Dons set about applying the pressure early on. In their last game at stadium:mk, Robinson described the 2-0 defeat to Preston as ‘men against boys’ and it was certainly the case in the opening 15 minutes with Dons dominating proceedings. Carl Baker had a decent effort zip just wide of Roy Carroll’s uprights, while the keeper showed his agility in keeping out Lewis Baker and Daniel Powell’s efforts.

Devante Cole, who took a lot of criticism for his missed chance at the death against Walsall a week earlier, started brightly but his confidence took another battering in the 21st minute. He raced clear of Taylor McKenzie to go one-on-one with Carroll but at the vital time, he slipped and shot well wide of the mark.

He was almost gifted a goal on a plate eight minutes later though, but could do nothing about the chance as it went begging. Carl Baker was back at his tricky best on the left flank, and after beating three defender and the keeper to the byline, he tried to cut the ball back to Cole unmarked in the centre, but Sean Newton intercepted before Cole could tap in.

Dons continued to dominate proceedings, but were met with a determined Roy Carroll in the County goal, keen not to be part of a game that threatened to be a rugby score. Five minutes before half time, he was called on again as Ben Reeves wormed his way across the face of the penalty area before firing low towards the bottom corner. Carroll did well to get down low though, tipping it wide of the post.

And a minute later, he had to do it again to palm away Lewis Baker’s attempt, before bravely beating Cole to a deep Reeves cross just before the break.

Early in the second half though, it’d be Carroll’s counterpart David Martin who’d be called upon first, diving at full stretch to keep out Paddy McCourt’s free kick from the edge of the box.

It’d only be a blip though, as the County stopper proved to be the busier in the second period again. Having made another fine stop to keep out Carl Baker early in the half though, he was finally beaten in the 63rd minute from the same man as Dons took the lead. After Reeves danced his way into the area, he slid Carl Baker through and taking no chances, he lashed it past Carroll to fire Dons ahead.

And 11 minutes Carl’s namesake, Lewis Baker, doubled the lead, and it came courtesy of a sublime finish. Clipped in over the top, Lewis Baker managed to bring the ball under control, and then over Carroll with his next touch.

Having barely threatened all afternoon, County halved the deficit five minutes later. With Martin unable to keep hold of Jimmy Spencer’s initial effort, Elliot Whitehouse was on hand to put the ball home from pointe blank range.

But it wasn’t long before Dons restored their two-goal advantage as the two substitutes combined. Dean Bowditch did well to get to the byline on the left, and pulled the ball back for the eagerly waiting Will Grigg to perform a simple tap in to make it 3-1.

And it was wrapped up in stoppage time when Carroll parried Carl Baker’s shot, but only as far as Grigg who was able to double his tally with ease.

Referee: Keith Hill

Attendance: 11,911

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Kay, McFadzean, Hodson, L Baker, Carruthers, Powell (Bowditch 57), C Baker, Reeves (Randall 88), Cole (Grigg 57)

Subs not used: Burns, Green, Spence, Walsh

Notts County: Carroll, Adams (Spencer 69), Smith, Mullins, Hollis, G Thompson, Newton, Jones, McKenzie (Edwards 45), C Thompson (Whitehouse 31), McCourt

Subs not used: Pilkington, Hayhurst, Lita, Bajner

Booked: Whitehouse, Smith, Randall, Spencer