If he wasn’t already the name on everybody’s lips coming into the ground on Saturday, Dele Alli certainly was when they left as the teenager netted a superb hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition of Crewe Alexandra.
Having put pen to paper on a new deal two days earlier, and being crowned Young Player of the Month for August on Friday, Alli made it a perfect weekend, scoring two minutes into both halves, before completing his hat-trick with six minutes to go.
Will Grigg, Benik Afobe and Ben Reeves also found the back of the net as Dons crushed the visitors, whose only register on the score sheet came courtesy of Kyle McFadzean’s own goal after five minutes to equalise at 1-1 - the only time Crewe looked in with a sniff of a point all afternoon.
Karl Robinson made just one change to the side which, in his opinion, he picked poorly leading to the 2-1 defeat to Bradford in midweek. Samir Carruthers, who had started the two previous games, made way for Dean Bowditch.
All eyes were on Dele Alli prior to kick off as he picked up his Young Player of the Month award, having signed a new long-term deal earlier in the week. His manager described it as a reward for his efforts in the last 12 months, and he repaid the gesture by firing Dons ahead after just two minutes. Great footwork in midfield from Darren Potter allowed Alli space to break forward into the area, and Potter picked out his central partner, who coolly slotted home the opener.
The lead though would last barely four minutes, and it came from another defensive blunder, this time from Kyle McFadzean. Crewe skipper Matt Tootle had no-one to aim for in the penalty area, but looped in a high cross anyway. McFadzean was under it, but his header came off the top of his head, and sailed up and over David Martin and into his own net, levelling for the visitors in bizarre circumstances.
Crewe may have felt a little hard-done by when Dons retook the lead 10 minutes later, but Will Grigg certainly seemed convinced that his header had crossed the line, nodding in Reeves’ corner.
He should have doubled the lead eight minutes later when Alli set him through, but keeper Ben Garratt was a match for the strike. Dons were comfortably on top after they went ahead. Alli’s confidence was high as he chased down all over the field, while Grigg was making a nuisance of himself to the Crewe defence, buzzing around the back four, rushing them into some hasty clearances.
Grigg could have wrapped up a hat-trick by the half hour mark, but saw another chance go agonisingly close. Getting on the end of Reeves’ ball in, his strike was fired hard into the ground, looping up and onto the bar before bouncing to safety.
They had the chances to be high and dry by the interval. Reeves, Bowditch and Alli all had further chances before the break to extend the lead further, with Bowditch’s chance at the death the closest they come, getting on the end of Reeves’ ball in, forcing Garratt into a fine low stop. At the other end, Crewe barely broke into the attacking third, certainly not for long enough to carve a chance.
It took Alli just two minutes to score in the first half, and he replicated it identically in the second to put the game beyond Crewe. Losing his man in the box, he rose brilliantly to power home Reeves’ ball from the left flank to make it 3-1 to the home side.
Powell should have wrapped it up a minute later when he made light work of the Crewe defence, but saw his strike come off the outside of the post.
Like in the first half, there were still very few signs of life from the visitors - their best chance coming on the hour mark when Potter up-ended Crewe substitute Oliver Turton 20 yards out, with Martin doing well to tip over Febian Brandy’s free kick. Martin needed to be at his best eight minutes later too when a quick Crewe free kick caught Dons snoozing, as Brandy crossed for Thierry Audel to shoot first time. Martin though was quick to react to palm it away.
Afobe drew a line under the game though in the 69th minute. Unleashed by a stunning ball over the top by Alli, Afobe shrugged off George Ray’s attempts to smash home Dons’ fourth of the afternoon, sparking the appearance of another of pair’s unique celebrations.
It was almost like a training game in the latter stages for the home side. Attacks were free-flowing, with each player seemingly fancying their chances of hitting the back of the net before the day was done. Reeves and Powell both deserved goals for their efforts, with the former coming close with 15 minutes to go.
Even McFadzean, ranging forward from defence, chanced his arm from distance, forcing Garratt down low to keep out the decent effort.
But who else but Alli would have the final say of the afternoon, capping a magnificent few days with his hat-trick. Picking up a brilliant back-heel from Tom Hitchcock, Alli faked to shoot with his left before switching to his right, smashing home his third and Dons’ fifth of the afternoon.
The pick of the goals came at the death though, and saw Reeves get his just desserts for a fine performance. Hitchcock again played his part, rolling the ball in to Afobe, whose one-touch lay off was perfectly into the path of Reeves, bending the ball around Garratt’s out-stretched hand to complete the rout at 6-1.
Referee: Darren Bond
Attendance: 7,049 (244)
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Baldock (Spence 75), McFadzean, Kay, Potter, Alli, Bowditch (Hitchcock 82), Powell, Reeves , Grigg (Afobe 59)
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Randall, Carruthers
Crewe: Garratt, Tootle, Guthrie, Ray, Oliver (Cooper 82), Audel, Waters (Brandy 57), Nolan, Haber, Ness (Turton 57), Grant
Subs: Shearer, Atkinson, Cooper, Jones, Leigh