MK Dons climbed to the top of League 1 on Saturday with a convincing 5-0 win over Crewe Alexandra.
With Swindon dropping points away at Sheffield United, Dons took full advantage as Devante Cole scored a first half brace, sandwiching Dean Bowditch’s elegant lob. Carl Baker made it four with 18 minutes to go before Daniel Powell rattled home a fifth late in the day.
There was an unfamiliar look to the MK Dons starting 11. Dean Bowditch led the line, with Carl Baker in behind him. Devante Cole was handed his first start on the left flank, with Daniel Powell returning to the starting line-up on the right. Will Grigg missed out with an ankle injury.
Unlike at Scunthorpe in midweek, Dons started with much more purpose about their play, and it paid off after just 12 minutes. A brilliant ball through by Carl Baker saw Bowditch beat the offside trap to go through on goal. His strike though was well stopped by Ben Garratt, but fell right into the path of Cole. His strike looked destined for the open goal, only to see it blocked by the Crewe defence, though the momentum and spin took it over the line, putting the visitors into a deserved lead.
They continued to stream forward, and it was only a matter of time before they doubled the lead. Baker and Bowditch both had shots saved by Garratt, but the latter didn’t need a second invitation when he beat the trap again, unleashed by Darren Potter, neatly lifting the ball over Garratt to go 2-0 up after 28 minutes.
If Dons were guilty of anything though, it was of some rough-housing in midfield and it almost gifted Crewe a lifeline, when Jamie Ness’ deep free kick found an unmarked Anthony Stewart at the far post. But his header was well saved by David Martin, who had otherwise been struggling to keep warm.
But the game was buried by the 38th minute when Cole swept home his second and Dons’ third of the afternoon. Latching on to a loose ball, Daniel Powell raced down the flank and with two unmarked in the centre, picked out Cole who made no mistakes in making it 3-0.
With the game lost, Crewe started the second half much brighter than they finished the first, but a goal-mouth scramble aside, didn’t really create much to threaten Martin’s goal.
On the reverse side, Dons had lifted off the gas considerably and weren’t as determined going forwards. That didn’t stop Cole looking for his hat-trick though, heading Dean Lewington’s cross just wide of the mark. He wouldn’t get another chance to complete his trio, as he was later replaced by Samir Carruthers.
Carl Baker, along with Darren Potter, was a having an inspired afternoon in the centre of the park and his hard work was rewarded with 18 minutes to go as he beat two men on the edge of the box before firing low into the bottom corner, leaving the hapless Garratt with no chance.
And he almost doubled his tally five minutes later with an audacious lob from the edge of the box, only to be denied by the woodwork as it rattled the crossbar.
Dons weren’t done there though, as Powell lashed in a fifth in the final minute to complete the rout.
Referee: Kevin Wright
Attendance: 4,319 (441)
Crewe: Garratt, Davis, Ray (Stewart 30), Dalla Valle (Inman 73), Baillie (Cooper 45), Jones, Leigh, Ness, Tate, Ajose, Grant
Subs not used: Etheridge, Turton, Atkinson, Haber
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, McFadzean, Kay, Spence, Potter, Alli (Clarke-Harris 78), Powell, Baker, Cole (Carruthers 65), Bowditch (Hitchcock 78)
Subs not used: Hodson, Green, McLoughin
Booked: McFadzean, Alli, Spence, Grant