Disappointing end to the season as Dons are comfortably beaten by Rochdale

MK Dons 0-3 Rochdale

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 2:05 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th May 2021, 2:08 pm

MK Dons dropped out of the top half with a distinctly lethargic performance on the final day of the season as they were beaten 3-0 by relegated Rochdale at Stadium MK.

Second half goals from Aaron Morley, Jimmy Keohane and Stephen Humphrys saw Dale claim all three points against a disappointing Dons, who barely threatened all afternoon.

While they could have finished as high as ninth, the result would see Dons drop to 13th in League One.

Matt O'Riley was the only change from the side which faced Fleetwood Town a week earlier. He hobbled out of the game in the first half at Highbury, replaced by Ethan Laird in his final game before heading back to Manchester United.

There was a distinct end-of-season feel to the game, with little riding on it for either side. Matthew Sorinola hit the crossbar from a free-kick from just five minutes as Dons started brightly, but the early fizz soon wore off as both sides settled into their routines.

Jake Beesley fired into the side netting for the home side which was as close as Rochdale would come in the opening half, but played some decent stuff at times without really causing many problems.

Laird, back in the side for what is likely to be the final time before his loan spell comes to an end, only lasted half an hour when he took a heavy challenge from Gabriel Osho and had to be replaced by Louis Thompson.

While Andrew Surman came close with a decent effort straight at keeper Jay Lynch, and Scott Fraser was twice through on goal as he looked to break over the top but was just beaten to it on both occasion by the keeper.

The game had little zip and pace towards the end of the first half, Rochdale fired it into life with two goals in the opening four minutes of the second half. The first came when Aaron Morley netted a brilliant free kick just 90 seconds in, before a huge deflection on Jimmy Keohane's effort left Fisher with no chance as Rochdale doubled their advantage.

Dons were at sea for large periods of the second half as the visitors looked to cut them open at will, with Jay Lynch largely untroubled.

Matt O'Riley came on as a second half substitute but lasted just 13 minutes as a recurrence of his groin injury appeared to force him off again, and he was replaced by Brooklyn Ilguna - the 17-year-old making his debut for the club.

His impact was minimal though as he lined up alongside Will Grigg as the Sunderland man also struggled to make inroads, starved of the ball for most of the game.

Rochdale rounded out their seven year stay in League One in style as they made it 3-0 with five minutes remaining. Coming from a poor Andrew Fisher pass straight at substitute Abraham Odoh, he fed Stephen Humphrys who evaded Zak Jules' challenge before firing home to complete a thoroughly disappointing afternoon for Dons.

Referee: Tim Robinson

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, Darling, Jules, Sorinola, Laird (Thompson 31), Surman (O'Riley 56 (Ilunga 69)), Kasumu, McEachran (Bird 69), Fraser, Grigg

Subs not used: Nicholls, Sorensen, Davies

Rochdale: Lynch, Osho, McNulty, O'Connell, Dooley, Morley, Beesley (Humphrys 79), Keohane, Rathbone (Odoh 71), Done, Grant (Newby 71)

Subs not used: Bazunu, Lund, Brierley

Bookings: Kasumu