Hat-trick for Johnson as dismal Dons are thrashed by Lincoln
Lincoln City 4-0 MK Dons
Brennan Johnson netted a second-half hat-trick but was lucky to even be on the pitch as Lincoln City thrashed MK Dons 4-0 at Sincil Bank.
The Imps striker had been booked just moments before a late challenge on Ethan Laird earned a second talking to from referee Bobby Madley, who allowed him to continue, and he would make Dons pay for it.
All three of his goals would come in the first 14 minutes of the second half, twice beating Andrew Fisher from close range before putting home a penalty to complete his hat-trick.
Cohen Bramall's excellent free-kick made it 4-0 to round out Dons' dismal evening.
With injuries to Louis Thompson, Cameron Jerome and Warren O'Hora keeping them out of the side, Russell Martin made just one change to the side which drew 0-0 with Ipswich on Saturday as Daniel Harvie was replaced by Matthew Sorinola.
Three Dons players switched Stadium MK for Sincil Bank this season – Conor McGrandles, Joe Walsh and Regan Poole – and all three made the starting line-up for the Imps.
It was a patient first half for both sides, and much like at Ipswich, Dons' lack of cutting edge at the top end of the pitch would be their undoing. Chances were tough to come by, with Will Grigg and Matthew Sorinola both having half-chances but it was mistakes at the other end were the only way Lincoln saw anything of Andrew Fisher's goal.
Matt O'Riley and Scott Fraser were both guilty of gifting possession away close to their own goal, but Harry Darling, Zak Jules and Dean Lewington looked in good form and limited the work Fisher was required to do.
The home side could probably think themselves lucky to have their full compliment of players when Brennan Johnson, who had only just been booked, then caught Ethan Laird very late and escaped with just a word from referee Bobby Madley. And he would go on to make a huge impact for the home side.
Lincoln's best chance came from former Don Poole though just before the break when he got on the end of the dangerous Cohen Bramall's cross, but his effort was cleared off the line by a combination of Darling and Lincoln's Callum Morton.
The second half though would see Dons capitulate to their worst defeat of the season, and it would be Johnson at the heart of it. Slid in by Morgan, Johnson neatly lifted the ball over Fisher for his first of what would be a hat-trick three minutes after the restart.
His second came five minutes later when he found found himself in a similar position, this time with Dons unwilling to clear their lines and he slotted home again to double Lincoln's advantage.
Dons' mashing of the self-destruct button continued when Zak Jules kept hold of Morgan as the ball was whipped into the box, offering referee Madley little option but to award a penalty, which Johnson converted at the second time of asking for his hat-trick.
Things would only get worse for Russell Martin's side when the excellent Cohen Bramall fired in a free-kick which Fisher did well to tip onto the post, but it came back off him for Lincoln's fourth with a quarter of an hour to go.
As good as Lincoln were in the second period, they were allowed to be by Dons, who were simply not at the races in the second half, and blown away in comprehensive fashion.
Referee: Bobby Madley
Lincoln City: PalMer, Poole, Jackson (Eyoma 63), Edun, Scully, Bramall (Jones 79), Walsh (Monstma 79), McGrandles, Morton, Johnson (Anderson 67), Rogers
Subs not used: Long, Sanders, Draper
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, Darling, Jules, Laird (Harvie 55), Sorinola, McEachran (Kasumu 55), Surman (Houghton 70), O'Riley, Fraser, Grigg (Brown 70)
Subs not used: Nicholls, Sorensen, Mason
Booked: Poole, Johnson, Laird, Kasumu, Darling, Harvie