Dons 7-0 Oldham: Record breaking Dons in seventh heaven

editorial image

Dons climbed into the automatic promotion spots with a record-breaking 7-0 demolition of Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

Will Grigg bagged a brace in a superb man of the match performance, with Dean Bowditch, Darren Potter, Dele Alli, Benik Afobe Carl Baker all getting on the score sheet in an exhibition of no-nonsense football from the home side, who dominated from whistle to whistle.

Karl Robinson made three changes at the top end of the pitch to the side which started at Preston North End seven days earlier, with Samir Carruthers, Dean Bowditch and Will Grigg coming in to replace Daniel Powell, Ben Reeves and Benik Afobe. There was a familiar face among the Oldham substitutes, with Jabo Ibehre lining up for the Latics.

And the three changes seemed to make an immediate impact as Dons had the better of the opening 10 minutes. Bowditch did well to bring down Kyle McFadzean’s long pump forward on his chest, but fired his volley over from the edge of the D. Carruthers then turned provider for Grigg with a low angled ball from the left flank, but Grigg’s shot from 15 yards was deflected wide.

But he made amends in the 17th minute by firing Dons into the lead. Brian Wilson’s pass back to Paddy Kenny left a lot to be desired, and left the keeper with no option but to pick the ball up with Grigg lurking dangerously, giving away an indirect free kick inside the area. Rolled the ball just inside the box, Grigg left nothing behind in smashing low and hard past Kenny to put Dons 1-0 ahead.

It should have been 2-0 six minutes later when Carruthers put in another dangerous low ball into the area, but firing through the crowd, Bowditch’s curling effort was met by Kenny’s dive - though the Dons man had nearly wheeled away in celebration.

They really should have been high and dry by the half hour mark when another powerful run from Grigg allowed Baker space to shoot from the right. Beating Kenny, Baker’s effort was blocked by the back-tracking Oldham skipper James Wilson, who slid in to intercept.

There was very little forthcoming from Oldham in the opening 45 minutes. Comprehensively out-played in the midfield, the Latics simply couldn’t get hold of the ball, and when they did, they came unstuck by Dons firm defence. But their only real chance of the half should have seen them equalise nine minutes before the break. Slid in behind the defence, Dominic Poleon beat the offside trap and looked favourite to toe Oldham back into the game. But David Martin was quick to spot the danger, racing off his line to get a big hand to the attempt to keep the home side ahead.

Having scorned earlier chances, Bowditch finally doubled the lead three minutes before half time. Playing the ball out to the flank for Baker to chase, Bowditch raced into the area to meet his cross at the near post, netting Dons’ second, and his second of the season.

He could have made it three barely a minute later when Dons broke two-on-one, but Grigg stumbled as he tried to beat Genseric Kusunga, and couldn’t roll in the unmarked Bowditch.

Dons burst out of the box in the second half and within six minutes of the restart had doubled the lead to four. First, Grigg’s sheer tenacity earned him his second of the afternoon, beating the offside track to bully past substitute George Elokobi and smash in from close range.

The fourth was the pick of the bunch though. Carruthers held up play well on the left, rolling back to Lewington and then Potter on the edge of the box. Grigg spun his man and waited for Potter’s late break into the area, picking him out to bend the ball brilliantly around Kenny’s out-stretched hand into the far corner of the net.

With the game dead and buried, the home fans afforded a warm reception to Cowshed cult hero Jabo Ibehre when he was brought on, though the addition of extra fire power up front did little to affect the run of play.

Dons continued to flow forward with ease. Carruthers, finally finding his feet after a largely indifferent spell since signing in the summer, looked desperate to be on the ball at every opportunity. But while being urged to shoot, he spotted Alli breaking forward on the left, and spun a beautiful reverse ball out to him. Kenny though would be the party pooper on what would have capped a great team goal, diving to save in style.

Clearly not letting off the gas, Benik Afobe was brought on to replace Bowditch, and almost immediately forced the issue. Chasing a long ball forward, Afobe looked favourite to get their first, but was cleared out by Kenny, who raced out of the area to meet him. Referee Simon Hooper produced a yellow card for the keeper though, despite being the last man. Alli send the resultant free kick over the top.

He didn’t miss his next chance though as Dons made it five with 13 minutes to go. Winning the ball just inside the Oldham half, Alli took it to the edge of the area, before cutting inside and bending the ball around Kenny’s dive to put a bow on the result.

But there was more to come as Oldham turned off to Afobe, allowing him the freedom of the box to meet Baker’s cross to nod in Dons’ sixth with seven minutes to go.

And Baker was in the right place at the right time as the clock ticked over to 90 minutes, firing into the empty net after Kenny parried Grigg’s initial effort to break the club’s all-time winning record.

With results for Swindon and Bristol City going their way, Dons climbed to second in League 1, now just a point from the summit with a game in hand.

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 7,998

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, McFadzean, Kay (Baldock 64), Spence, Potter, Alli, Carruthers (Green 75), Bowditch (Afobe 68), Baker, Grigg

Subs not used: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Powell, Rasulo

Oldham Athletic: Kenny, Mills (Elokobi 46), Dieng (Tidser 56), Jones, Poleon (Ibehre 56), Philliskirk, Forte, Johnson, James Wilson, Brian Willson, Kusunga

Subs not used: Rachubka, Dayton, Winchester, Morgan-Smith

Booked: James Wilson, Baker, Spence, Kenny