DONS returned to stadium:mk in spectacular fashion with a dominant 5-0 win over Oldham Athletic on Saturday.
Dean Bowditch opened the scoring from the penalty spot nine minutes into a drab first half, but the game came to life in the second. Daniel Powell doubled the lead just 90 seconds after the restart before he struck again 20 minutes later. Mathias Doumbe then bent one in at the far post to make it 4-0 before Stephen Gleeson added a fifth goal with 14 minutes remaining.
Dons returned to stadium:mk for the first time in more than a month, and made three changes to the side that lost out to Charlton on Tuesday night. Powell, Jabo Ibehre and Doumbe were all promoted to the starting 11, with Gary MacKenzie suspended, while Alan Smith and Charlie MacDonald had both picked up knocks at The Valley and missed out – MacDonald was fit enough for the bench though.
After Dons gave away two penalties against the League 1 leaders on Tuesday, they had their chance to take the lead from the spot after nine minutes, but it was a controversial call. Powell powered through the Oldham defence before rifling into the net from the edge of the six yard box – but incredibly referee Brendan Malone called play back for a tug on his shirt, pointing to the spot. Fortunately, Bowditch comfortably put the penalty away, giving Dons an early advantage.
The goal aside, the first 20 minutes passed without incident. Neither side looked better than the other, though Dons probably looked the more likely to extend their lead but for Oldham’s offside trap catching Ibehre out time and time again. Oldham’s wingers, made up of former Dons loanees Filipe Morais and Keanu Marsh-Brown, were hardly involved in the action, while Powell and Bowditch saw much more of the ball but couldn’t quite put the final ball in.
The first half will not go down as one of the classics. Neither side looked like creating much, while the atmosphere in stadium:mk hardly added to the spectacle. Dons had a good chance to double their advantage on the half hour mark though when Ibehre beat the offside trap but slipped on the ball as he went clear. Bowditch was on hand to pick up the loose ball and worked his way into the area, but his shot was blocked as the Oldham defence made their way back – the best chance of the half.
David Martin was a spectator for much of the 45 minutes but needed to be at full stretch when Kieran Lee found his range from the edge of the penalty area. The keeper flew to his left to tip the ball around the post – the resulting corner flew straight into the side netting.
The first half ended on a sour note though, as Paul Black left the field on a stretcher. Challenging with Powell on the byline, the defender looked like he twisted awkwardly. Powell sportingly played the ball out immediately rather than breaking into the penalty area, allowing the Oldham physio onto the field. Black was replaced by Zander Diamond.
It took just 90 seconds of the second half for Dons to extend their lead as Powell latched onto Bowditch’s neat chip, beat the offside trap, and easily rounded Latics’ keeper Alex Cisak to coolly tap home to put the home side two goals to the good.
Dons had a fire in their belly for the second half, and Cisak was called into action again five minutes after the break when Luke Chadwick tried an ambitious effort from 35 yards. The shot dipped just in front of the keeper, and he could only palm it out for a corner. Bowditch then had the keeper scrambling to make another excellent save, tipping the striker’s shot just over the bar as Dons continued on the front foot.
With the result looking comfortable, boss Robinson made a double substitution just after the hour mark, withdrawing Chadwick and the excellent Bowditch for MacDonald and Jay O’Shea.
And it was the latter who turned provider for Powell to score his second on 65 minutes. The Irishman broke down the left before cutting inside and slipping it through to Powell, and With his back to goal, Powell turned on the spot and unleashed a shot which crept in at the far post to give Dons a 3-0 lead.
But the best was yet to come as Doumbe made it 4-0 three minutes later. Latching onto James Tavernier’s ball wide, the centre back found acres of space in the penalty area to brilliantly bend the ball across goal and into the top corner.
It was nearly made five 14 minutes from time when a mix up between Lee and Cisak almost allowed MacDonald a sight at an open goal, but as the attack reset, Gleeson found himself in plenty of space in the penalty area to rifle home Dons’ fifth.
O’Shea was unlucky not to make it six with four minutes to go when he saw his shot deflected onto the crossbar.
It was a win that took a long time coming, but one their second half performance deserved. Dons remain fifth in the table, but are back at stadium:mk on Tuesday night for the rearranged Bury fixture.
Referee: Brendan Malone
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington (Chicksen, 68), Tavernier, Williams, Doumbe, Gleeson, Potter, Powell, Chadwick (MacDonald, 64), Bowditch (O’Shea, 63), Ibehre
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Flanagan
Oldham Athletic: Cisak, M’Voto, Black (Diamond, 41), Morais, Simpson, Adeyemi (Smith, 66), Tarkowski, Taylor, Lee, Marsh-Brown (Parker, 52), Kuqi
Subs not used: Bouzanis, Winchester
Booked: Simpson, Diamond