Another dour show from MK Dons saw them firmly thumped 3-0 by Queens Park Rangers as fighting in the crowd marred the trip to Loftus Road.
Dons once again struggled to create in front of goal, and while they held Rangers in the first half, it was with an air of inevitability that Jay Emmanuel-Thomas poked home the opener with 20 minutes remaining.
Matt Phillips’ strike made it 2-0 eight minutes later. As fighting broke out amongst the 1,070 Dons fans behind the goal towards the end, Junior Hoillet completed Dons’ embarrassment by flicking in a third two minutes from time.
The result sees Dons remain 20th in the Championship.
After the disappointing display against Huddersfield, dubbed ‘rubbish’ by manager Karl Robinson, in midweek, Dons restored the team which beat Blackburn 3-0 a week ago. Ben Reeves, Simon Church and Rob Hall were all back in the starting line-up, with Carl Baker, Samir Carruthers and Nicky Maynard on the bench. Darren Potter was also named among the substitutes after two months out with a knee injury.
QPR were by far and away the more dominant of the two sides in the opening 25 minutes. Nedum Onouha, Matt Phillips and Daniel Tozser all fancied their chances as Dons struggled to get out of their own half for long periods. David Martin though remained untested, short of a few claims for corners.
When Dons did get the ball, it often ended up back with the keeper who was forced to kick long as the home side pressed high, suffocating the visitors and making them play quickly, ultimately losing possession in the process.
Defensively though, Dons were holding pretty firm. Despite a dodgy clearance from Kyle McFadzean which almost gave a goal to Tjaronn Chery, the front line of Massimo Luongo and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas were left fairly powerless. QPR’s chances instead fell to unlikely sources, and the best one of the bunch came in the 34th minute when Paul Konchesky romped forwards to latch onto Phillips’ through ball. But despite rolling the ball under keeper Martin, Antony Kay was on hand to scoop the ball to safety from under his crossbar.
It was shaping up to be more of the same from both sides in the second half, but the introduction of Samir Carruthers in the midfield for injured Ben Reeves 11 minutes after the restart seemed to give Dons a new lease of life.
And he was at the heart of Dons’ best move of the game in the 62nd minute. His pin-point ball from the edge of the box somehow made it through to Simon Church, and his neat turn gave him a sight of goal. Rangers Rob Green though was alert to the danger and was quick off his line, getting a vital hand to the left-footed strike and putting it behind for a corner.
And has been so often the case this season, while Dons were to miss their best chance, QPR took theirs to take the lead with 20 minutes to go. Flicking the ball over Jordan Spence inside the box, he then beat McFadzean to poke the ball past Martin and put his side in front.
And that lead was doubled eight minutes later when Matt Phillips struck home Konchesky’s wonderful cross-field ball to put the game beyond reach.
It could have been even worse for Dons when a shambolic attempt at a challenge released QPR two-on-one with Junior Hoillet and Leroy Fer racing in on goal. But while Spence managed to hold them up, Kay’s vital challenge on the edge of the box prevented Fer from getting his shot away.
But while fan trouble marred the end of the game as fighting broke out among the MK Dons fans, QPR did make it 3-0 two minutes before the end, as Hoillet scooped the ball over his shoulder from a corner to put a silver-lining on it for Chris Ramsey’s side.
Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 15,567 (1,070)
QPR: Green, Onuoha, Hall, Hill, Konchesky, Tozser, Henry (Faurlin 84), Phillips, Chery (Hoillet 80), Luongo (Fer 56), Emmanuel-Thomas
Subs not used: Smithies, Perch, Doughty, Hoilett, Polter
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Spence, Kay, McFadzean, Poyet (Maynard 79), Forster-Caskey, Hall (Baker 67), Murphy, Reeves (Carruthers 56), Church
Subs not used: Burns, Hodson, Potter, Powell