Twine’s fantastic four not enough to send Dons up automatically

MK Dons thrashed Plymouth 5-0 at Home Park but will have to settle for a spot in the play-offs MK Dons thrashed Plymouth 5-0 at Home Park but will have to settle for a spot in the play-offs
MK Dons thrashed Plymouth 5-0 at Home Park but will have to settle for a spot in the play-offs
Plymouth Argyle 0-5 MK Dons

A Scott Twine masterclass away at Plymouth Argyle ensured MK Dons upheld their end of the bargain in a thumping 5-0 win at Home Park, but it was not enough to get them automatic promotion.

Twine netted a club record-equalling four goals against Argyle, with two in each half, while Harry Darling got his 10th of the season as Liam Manning’s side thrashed play-off hopefuls Plymouth, who dropped out of the top six as a result.

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Needing to win and for Rotherham to drop points away at Gillingham, the Millers were 2-0 winners at Priestfield to claim second spot behind champions Wigan Athletic, setting Dons up with a mouth-watering play-off campaign against Wycombe Wanderers.

Josh McEachran returned to the starting line-up for the final league game of the season, replacing Theo Corbeanu who started against Morecambe last week.

Both sides had huge incentives to win the game at Home Park and it started like a basketball match as both sides went hammer and tongs from the off.

As the game ebbs from one goal to the other, two quite sensational misses from Luke Jephcott would be catalysts for what would unfold in a remarkable 45 minutes of football.

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His first came with the scores level, getting on the end of Jordon Garrick's cross, somehow poking wide of Jamie Cumming's left-hand post.

Meanwhile at the other end, Scott Twine had already hit the crossbar with a thunderous free-kick from 35 yards, but his effort to give Dons the lead on 17 minutes was a thing of beauty, deftly bending it around the wall from just inside the D, Cooper had no chance as Dons took the lead.

Jephcott then had another almost identical chance to equalise just two minutes later, but once more put his effort in almost the same spot, just wide of Cumming's upright.

The keeper would then pull off a brilliant save to deny James Wilson with a header, but from there it would be Dons taking a firm grip of the game, and once again the League One Player of the Season Twine would be responsibile for it.

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Picking up the ball just inside the penalty area, he skipped past two challenges before smashing the ball past a hapless Cooper into the far side of the net, doubling Dons' advantage five minutes before half-time.

Despite news of Rotherham's goal at Gillingham putting them back into the automatic promotion spots, Dons weren't done as Harry Darling headed in McEachran's corner to make it 3-0 three minutes later.

To cap a remarkable half, former MK Dons midfielder Jordan Houghton was then shown his second yellow card in first half stoppage time as he hauled down the excellent David Kasumu to reduce the hosts to 10 men for the second half.

With the game effectively dead and buried, all eyes pulled focus on Priestfield but Dons still had eye for goals and Twine would not only complete his hat-trick but also equal a club record in the process.

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His third came on the hour mark when he tapped in Kasumu's cross for the easiest of the bunch from close range, while the fourth 17 minutes later was a wonderful strike from the edge of the box, leaving Cooper with no chance.

It could have been more too, with Twine forcing the Plymouth stopper into a brilliant save to tip his header around the post, while Cooper then denied substitute Dan Kemp late on from making it six.

With Plymouth's play-off hopes killed off, Dons' automatic chances too were killed off late on when Rotherham netted a second against Gillingham to secure their spot in the top-two, ensuring Dons a trip to Buckinghamshire rivals Wycombe.

Referee: Craigh Hicks

Attendance: 15,644 (1,313)

Plymouth Argyle: Cooper, Gillesphey (Randell 46), Houghton, Wilson, Scarr, Broom, Mayor, Garrick (Edwards 64), Sessegnon, Law, Jephcott (Ennis 46)

Subs not used: Burton, Hardie, Crichlow, Craske

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MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington, O'Hora, Darling, Harvie, Kesler-Hayden, Coventry, McEachran (Kemp 68), Kasumu (Smith 80), Twine (Wickham 78), Parrott

Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Corbeanu, Baldwin, Boateng

Booked: Wilson, Houghton,

Sent off: Houghton