MK Dons lost their first game back at Stadium MK on Tuesday night as they were beaten 3-1 by Premier League Everton.
Gerard Delofeu and Ross Barkley fired Ronald Koeman’s side into an early 2-0 lead before Giorgio Rasulo’s rocket reduced the arrears on the half hour. Muhamed Besic put the game to bed with six minutes to go.
The Dons defence may have had a relatively new feel to it, but it showed off ominous signs of error-prone repeats of last season when Paul Downing’s ball back to David Martin somehow beat the keeper, allowing Gerard Deulofeu the simplest of finishes to put Everton ahead less than two minutes into the game.
Deulofeu was the thorn in Dons side again on 19 minutes when he burned Joe Walsh for pace down the right, getting to the byline and cutting back for an unmarked Ross Barkley, who similarly was left with a routine finish to double Everton’s advantage.
Everton were the only side in it at that point, with the relationship between Downing and Martin clearly showing teething problems. Downing twice allowed Kevin Mirallas space to escape his attentions, though his keeper rescued him on both occasions.
Trailing by two, Ben Reeves’ evening was called after 22 minutes as he dropped to the ground injured. His replacement, Giorgio Rasulo, did his level best to give Dons a fighting chance when he rattled home a fierce strike from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 on the half hour mark.
Dons had found their feet by the interval and were almost level when Daniel Powell’s driving run and shot was deflected into the path of Nicky Maynard, who had been given scant few opportunities until that point, but the ball was poked out of his reach by Everton keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
Making a host of changes on the hour mark gave Everton a new lease of life, and they were unlucky not to be further ahead when Leighton Baines overlapped Darron Gibson to pick out Aiden McGeady at the far post. Somehow, Martin kept the shot out with a save between his legs, not that the keeper knew much about it.
Robinson’s changes were far less sweeping as his side nears the beginning of the season, with Brandon Thomas-Asante and new pro Oran Jackson taking to the field with 17 minutes remaining, highlighting if nothing else, the lack of depth at the manager’s disposal.
Everton put the game to bed in terms of a scoreline with six minutes to go when Muhamed Besic got the final touch on a ball fired across the face of goal.
Referee: Mike Dean
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington (Tilney 66), Downing (Kasumu 83), Walsh, Williams, Upson (Jackson 73), Potter, Carruthers (Furlong 83), Powell, Reeves (Rasulo 22), Maynard (Thomas- Asante 73)
Subs not used: Burns, Church, Osei-Bonsu, Tshimanga