Burnley dished out a stern lesson in finishing at stadium:mk on Tuesday night as they ruthlessly put MK Dons to the sword, winning 5-0.
Joey Barton put the visitors ahead after 15 minutes, but Dons probably shaded things in the opening 45 minutes. The second half would be another story though, with Burnley showing no mercy in front of goal.
Sam Vokes needed just 32 seconds of the second half to double the lead, and Andre Gray put a seal on the win on 64 minutes as he nodded in a third.
Matthew Lowton added a fourth before Antony Kay was given his marching orders. George Boyd hammered in a fifth late on to complete the rout, leaving Dons teetering on the edge of the Championship relegation zone once more.
After making wholesale changes to his side for the FA Cup on Saturday, Karl Robinson named arguably his strongest side for the visit of Burnley. Dean Lewington, Darren Potter, Samir Carruthers and Nicky Maynard were amongst the returning faces, and David Martin was fit against to start in goal after missing out through injury.
Like at Northampton on Saturday, Dons started well. The passing through the centre of the park was neat and crisp, with both Rob Hall and Josh Murphy seeing a lot of the ball early. Hall was unlucky too as his strike was just over the top, clipping the roof of the net.
But in a season quickly being defined by individual errors, it was another which cost Dons dearly, and it came from the usually reliable Potter. Dawdling 30 yards from goal, Potter was caught off guard by Joey Barton who picked his pocket and raced through on goal. Keeping a level head, he easily put the ball past Martin to give Burnley the lead.
Dons almost responded within four minutes, though Hall had to do better when Murphy’s hard work saw him get the ball across. But with bodies in the way to help him, Hall could only fire straight at Tom Heaton in the Burnley net.
It was Maynard’s turn on the half hour mark but he too could only shoot straight at Heaton after solid work from Hall to put him in on the angle.
Dons looked to be playing the better stuff despite being a goal behind. Burnley though weren’t without their chances, and the dangerous Andre Gray could have doubled the Clarets’ lead 10 minutes before the break when he was left unmarked around the penalty spot, but his shot, from David Jones’ corner, was deflected just past the upright.
While Burnley won’t have felt too aggrieved by only going in a goal to the good, it took them just 32 second half seconds to double the advantage, and it came via a wonderful individual effort from Sam Vokes. Picking the ball up 25 yards out, a quick shuffle from right foot to left saw him skip past both Antony Kay and Kyle McFadzean, leaving the pair in his wake. One-on-one with Martin, like Barton, Vokes made no mistakes in beating the keeper to put the visitors 2-0 up.
Despite the deficit, Dons continued to play the nicer football. Carruthers was at the heart of everything, though both Murphy and Hall were enjoying plenty of ball in the wide areas. The introduction of Daniel Powell on the hour gave them another outlet too, with the ineffective Ben Reeves making way. It would make little difference though.
With chances coming and going for the home side, it was with an air of inevitability when Burnley made it 3-0, Andre Gray nodding in Barton’s free kick after 64 minutes to put the result beyond any doubt.
Burnley’s killer instinct was in full effect, so it was of little surprise when Matthew Lowton made it 4-0 with 20 minutes to go, but salt was really rubbed in the wounds with 15 minutes to go when substitute George Boyd raced through only to have his heels clipped by Kay. As last man, referee Stephen Martin had no choice but to send him off.
While he just missed out on winning his side a penalty, Boyd would eventually get his reward, lashing home a fifth for Burnley eight minutes from time to complete a torrid night for Robinson’s side.
Referee: Stephen Martin
MK Dons: Martin; Spence, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Potter, Carruthers; Hall (Forster-Caskey 74), Reeves (Powell 60), Murphy, Maynard (Church 74)
Subs not used: Cropper, Hodson, Walsh, Bowditch
Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Kightley (Boyd 57), Jones, Barton (Ulvestad 72), Arfield, Vokes (Hennings 75), Gray
Subs not used: Gilks, Duff, Taylor, Darikwa
Booked: Barton, Mee
Sent off: Kay