A significant scar added to MK Dons' growing collection

Ellis HarrisonEllis Harrison
Ellis Harrison
MK Dons are left to lick the wounds of yet another play-off defeat

Nights do not come much worse than the one endured last night.

MK Dons suffered the worst play-off defeat in history, going down 8-1 over two legs to Crawley Town, with it only extending the record they hold for most play-off appearances without making a final. Now, it reads six.

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There have been defeats at Stadium MK before last night, but none have been quite as bizarre, rampant and, frankly, easy as the one Crawley inflicted. Like in the heavy 3-0 defeat at the Broadfield Stadium earlier in the week, the MK Dons team which had claimed fourth spot in League Two was AWOL, chasing shadows of Red Devils all over Bletchley. It has to be considered one of the worst losses to have ever played out since the stadium opened in 2007.

Both Alex Gilbey and Mike Williamson claimed the occasion got the better of the team in the first-leg, but the second out-stripped it in dramatic fashion. With some supporters’ backs up already with the choice of keeper between the posts - Filip Marschall back in the side after a month out ahead of Michael Kelly - moods did not improve when a poor touch from skipper Gilbey allowed Crawley to nip in and take the lead after just three minutes.

With the aggregate now reading 4-0, the 9,000 or so home fans tried to remain positive but when the second goal came on the half-hour, it spiralled. Some remained behind the team, some though didn’t even remain in the stadium.

As the night wore on - and it really did feel wearing - the dagger was driven in deeper and deeper. A consolation goal from Max Dean could have been two but for a saved penalty, Emre Tezgel hit the bar too, but generally speaking, they were anomalies in what was a dreadful performance. Crawley were effectively able to walk in a couple of their goals.

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Whether out-thought, tactically out-played, overawed or a mixture of them all, Dons’ slump was as miserable as they come. There was a similar mixture amongst supporters too: anger, venom, disappointment, embarrassment, disbelief too.

It was a night which drew a disappointing line under the season, and a night which most associated with the club will be desperate to forget quickly. It must also be a night the club must learn from and bounce back from swiftly, though it is one which will undoubtedly leave a significant scar.