Dons 4-1 Stevenage: Bamford brace comfortably sees off Stevenage

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Dons made light work of a poor Stevenage team on Saturday, cruising to a 4-1 win.

A Patrick Bamford double put Dons 2-0 up after 22 minutes before Dele Alli added a cheeky third a minute later. The copybook was blotted slightly when Darren Potter turned into his own net just before the break, but a Shaun Williams penalty after 62 minutes put the game to bed.

Samir Carruthers was out with whiplash after a strong challenge at Peterborough, so Dele Alli returned to the starting line-up on the left flank. Dean Bowditch had hoped to make the substitutes bench but suffered another set back in his recovery. Daniel Powell though was fit enough to make the bench for the first time this season.

It was one way traffic for the opening 15 minutes, with Stevenage barely touching the ball as Dons looked to assert themselves early, keen to learn from the mistakes of last week against Peterborough.

Patrick Bamford came close to opening the scoring after seven minutes when his header had Chris Day scrambling across his line. But he made a mends six minutes later, this time his glancing header from Shaun Williams’ free kick clipped the inside of the post, leaving Day flat-footed as it gently crossed the line to give the home side the lead.

It took just 10 minutes to double the lead too, with Bamford once again getting on the end of it, this time a Luke Chadwick cut back from the byline after a strong drive forward by Alli set the move in motion.

Robinson said he wanted Dons to kill teams off earlier, and that’s exactly what they did. Barely two minutes after Bamford doubled the lead, he turned provider for Alli as he darted a low ball into the box. But Alli slipped as he went to strike, and it looked as though the chance had gone. But from the floor, he swung a leg at it, catching Day by surprise and putting Dons 3-0 up with just 24 minutes on the clock.

It was one way traffic. Stevenage, when they did on occasion touch the ball, looked at playing in behind, launching balls for Luke Freeman to chase. On the odd occasion he beat the offside trap, David Martin was quick off his line to gather.

But they did pull one back three minutes before half time as Freeman burst down the left, but his cross was met by Darren Potter who bent it passed Martin into his own net, reducing the arrears to just two goals as they went in at the break.

Stevenage’s late first half strike may have accounted for Dons’ reserved start to the second half. While they were still comfortably the better team, and saw far more of the ball than their opponents, the threat of another Stevenage goal stopped the home side from flowing forward without regard. Both Lee Hodson and Dean Lewington were more cautious in getting forward

But if there was any doubt in the result, those were ended when Shaun Williams added a fourth from the penalty spot after 62 minutes. Alli, jinking in from the left flank, felt contact from Sam Wedgbury and went down. Though there was little appeal from Dons, referee Andy Woolmer pointed to the spot, with Williams making no mistakes in dispatching it.

With the Dons fans buoyant, they were given something else to cheer when Daniel Powell made his long-awaited return from injury with 22 minutes to go, replacing Chadwick. Though cautious, he looked keen to get involved and took a few bumps from the Stevenage midfield.

With both managers making changes, the game shuddered to a halt as time on the clock began to run out. With the game put to bed, Dons looked content to see out the remainder in second gear, though it would have been a much more uncomfortable final 10 minutes had Freeman’s shot gone in, rather than striking the base of the upright as it did.

Oumere Tounkara could have restored some pride for Stevenage with three minutes to go , but with just Martin to beat, he bent his ball the wrong side of the post.

In the end, Dons saw out the clock in calm fashion, with the Cowshed in full voice and bouncing throughout the second half.

The result sees Dons climb back into the play-off spots in sixth.

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 7,770 (611)

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Hodson, Kay, Williams, Gleeson, Potter (Reeves, 82), Chadwick (Powell 68), Alli (McLeod 79), Green, Bamford

Subs not used: McLoughlin, Otsemobor, Smith, Baldock

Stevenage: Day, Wedgbury, Hills (Cowan 46), Ashton, Dunne, Freeman, Tansey, Smith (Tounkara 68), Doughty (Shroot 90), Hartley, Deacon

Subs not used: Arnold, Jones, Heslop, Lopez, Shroot

Booked: Deacon