Pouring rain and blustery winds almost perfectly summed up a dank MK Dons at the Macron Stadium come 5pm on Saturday night.
League whipping boys Bolton Wanderers were made to look capable of world domination by a Dons side void of ideas, creativity and valour; a million miles from the financially stricken, rock bottom Championship they have been for the previous 27 games this season.
It’s a story all-too-often heard from Karl Robinson before he boards the bus heading back to stadium:mk: losing at Huddersfield, losing at QPR, losing at Brentford, Birmingham, Nottingham Forest... the list is continuing to grow, but the unacceptable performances on the road continue. Especially when it rains.
Dubbed ‘the biggest game of the season’ by Robinson only three days earlier, the players were far from their best from the opening whistle. They were even far from being bad; bad might have been a little more tolerable than the display the 503 travelling pilgrims were made to endure against Bolton. Those same souls have been made to wait 169 days since their last trip from an away ground with three points stored neatly in their pockets.
The road has not been kind to Dons this season. Just seven points have been accrued outside the safe and familiar confines of stadium:mk - even a trip to League 2’s Northampton Town in the FA Cup only brought about a last-gasp draw.
But few could’ve foreseen the embarrassing situation which would unfold in Bolton. While Wanderers’ record at the Macron isn’t one to be sniffed at, Dons showed so little fight that the game was effectively gifted to the Trotters barely had five minutes passed. And it only worse as the torrent of rain fell during the disastrous second half.
‘Something has to change’ is an oft uttered but distinctly vague phrase thrown out by managers with no idea the true source of the problem, and while Dons’ injury and squad depth problems are clear, there doesn’t appear to be a solution on the horizon.
While a couple of players are on the horizon according to Robinson, the lackluster performances on the road will have fans, and maybe even the manager himself, drawing up a much longer list of positions he’d love to improve. The excuse of money, or lack thereof, has flogged so much that even the dead horse has grown tired of it.
So, yes, something has to change. But with trips to Cardiff City and Derby County up next, it could be a long time before Dons celebrate another point.
It never rains, but it pours.