Awful Dons thumped by lowly Wigan

Wigan Athletic 3-0 MK Dons

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 5:01 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th March 2021, 5:02 pm

A dismal MK Dons showing at the DW Stadium saw them lose for the third time in four games, going down 3-0 to Wigan Athletic who got themselves off the bottom of the table in the process.

Never looking a match for the Latics, who had lost eight of their previous 10 prior to kick-off, Dons fell behind to George Johnston's header after 23 minutes.

Russell Martin made two tactical substitutions on the half hour to give Dons a semblance of life with Harry Darling hitting the crossbar from range, but Callum Lang and Joe Dodoo goals, separated by just six minutes in the second half, added to Dons' misery in Lancashire.

Suffering their second defeat in a row, and their third consecutive loss on the road, Dons slipped a further place in League One to 16th.

After their 3-2 defeat to Gillingham on Tuesday night, russell Martin made three changes to the side to face Wigan. After a handful of substitute appearances following ankle surgery, Jordan Houghton was handed his first start since November, replacing Andrew Surman in the centre of the park, while Joe Mason came in for Cameron Jerome and Daniel Harvie returned from injury to start at left wing-back in place of Zak Jules.

Two of those changes would last just 32 minutes though as Dons made a torrid start to the game. While they looked to get their usual passing game working in the opening stages, Wigan looked more lively and eager, breaking down the visitors at every corner.

Callum Lang had a great chance within the opening three minutes but was denied by Andrew Fisher, but it came as little surprise to see Wigan take the lead after 23 minutes when an unmarked George Johnston's looping header from 12 yards found the net.

It could have been 2-0 when the ball was pulled back to Gavin Massey, but Fisher once again came to Dons' rescue.

Dons' turmoil continued until Houghton and Harvie were withdrawn for Surman and Jules, and it sparked them into life before the break. Ethan Laird forced keeper Jamie Jones into a good save to tip over the bar with seven minutes to go before the break – their first meaningful effort on goal – before a stunning Harry Darling strike from 30-yards whipped through the air but came back off the post.

It looked a far more assured showing in the first 15 minutes of the second half, with Surman in particular appearing to make a big difference in the way Dons were able to control the tempo and cause more of a threat to the Wigan goal. Mason whipped an effort just wide of the post, and Grigg nearly got on the end of a training ground set-piece routine, but the wheels would fall off in the next 10 minutes as Wigan would score twice to put the game comprehensively out of reach.

Their second came on 64 minutes when Scott Fraser was robbed of possession when facing his own goal, and a cross from the right was nodded home by Lang.

Six minutes later, Dons' often-questioned use of Fisher came unstuck when his loose pass went straight to Viv Solomon-Otabor and with two to choose from and only Darling on the line to beat, Joe Dodoo compounded their misery to make it 3-0.

Though the result was out of reach, Dons would seek out something of a consolation, but as close as they would come was Fraser's effort cracking the crossbar with six minutes remaining.

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Wigan Athletic: Jones, Darikwa, Tilt, Johnston, Lang (Assgaard 85), Massey (Perry 90), Ojo (Clough 90), Wootton, Solomon-Otabor (Gardner 85), Dodoo (Proctor 74), Robinson

Subs not used: Evans, Whealan

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O'Hora, Darling, Laird, Harvie (Jules 32), Houghton (Surman 32), O'Riley, Fraser, Grigg (McEachran 75), Mason (Jerome 59)

Subs not used: Nicholls, Brown, Thompson

Booked: Tilt, Laird