Dons’ woes continue with Papa John’s Trophy thumping by Bristol Rovers
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Luca Hoole headed Rovers in front on 33 minutes, before a John Marquis brace early in the second half put the game to bed. Substitute Harvey Saunders made it 4-0 with 20 minutes to go, threatening to make it more than embarrassing for the visitors, before Mo Eisa fired in from the spot when he was fouled by Alfie Kilgour, earning the defender his marching orders.
Taking charge of the side on a caretaker basis for only the second time in his career, Dean Lewington made seven changes to the side for the Papa John's Trophy encounter against Bristol Rovers. The four keeping their places were Jamie Cumming, Jack Tucker, Dawson Devoy and Louie Barry, while Warren O'Hora was afforded a rare night off.
While it was not directly the start of a new regime in charge at Dons, anyone expecting to see dramatic changes under Lewington's watch were instead given more of the same of what they have seen this season.
And it almost cost them a goal inside six minutes when Dons were sliced open too easily, and Lewis Gordon shaped to shoot but instead squared to Aaron Collins who should have been left with a simple tap-in. But somehow the striker sent his effort wide from inside the six-yard box, and suffered injury in the process, forcing him out of the game.
Having struggled to find the back of the net on Saturday despite creating a lot of decent chances, the visitors failed to give keeper Anssi Jaakola anything to worry about in the opening 45 minutes. Louie Barry and Dawson Devoy both had efforts blocked by the Rovers defence, while Will Grigg got into some promising areas but the ball failed to make it to him.
Rovers meanwhile looked capable of cutting Dons open with relative ease when they broke forwards, and saw a John Marquis effort ruled out for offside before Luca Hoole headed the hosts in front on 33 minutes.
And though Dons finally gave Anssi Jaakola something to do early in the second half when skipper for the night Johnson fired an effort on target, it was not long before Rovers doubled their advantage. With the ball fired across the face of goal, it looked like Paul Coutts would poke home with a simple finish, but he miscued his effort into the path of Marquis, who finished the job 10 minutes after the restart.
From there though, the weeks fell off in dramatic fashion for the visitors. Marquis made it 3-0 midway through the second-half when another defence-splitting pass opened Dons up, and the striker was able to fire past Cumming from the edge of the box.
And Harvey Saunders had barely been on the pitch a minute when he was left completely unmarked at the far post to rifle in a fourth for the hosts with 20 minutes still to play.
Dons did pull one back though with 10 minutes to go though when Mo Eisa was downed by substitute Alfie Kilgour in the box, earning the Rovers man a red card, allowing the striker to send Jaakola the wrong way for his fourth goal of the season.
There was still a twist in the tail to be had though, when with 10 minutes to go, substitute Alfie Kilgour tripped Mo Eisa, who had earlier replaced Grigg, in the box not only giving away a penalty but earning him his marching orders. Eisa sent Jaakola the wrong way from the spot for his fourth of the season.
Referee: Declan Bourne
Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Connolly, Gordon (Sinclair 69), Marquis, Collins (Coburn 13 (Saunders 68), Rossiter (Coutts 45), Evans, McCormick, Gibbons, Hoole, Thomas (Kilgour 69)
Subs not used: Belshaw, Westbrooke
MK Dons: Cumming, Tucker, Jules, Oyegoke, Lawrence, Devoy, Robson, Johnson, Smith (Grant 64), Barry (Dennis 63), Grigg (Eisa 69)
Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Kemp, Harvie, Ilunga
Booked: Johnson, McCormick
Sent off: Kilgour