REPORT: Wigan 5-1 MK Dons - Grigg scores a hat-trick as Dons get thumped
Will Grigg broke the hearts of the fans who once held him dear, netting a hat-trick in Wigan Athletic's ruthless 5-1 drubbing of MK Dons.
Grigg scored after just 12 minutes, and when Ethan Ebanks-Landell put into his own net 11 minutes later, the writing was on the wall, though Callum Brittain's surprise strike on 35 minutes threatened to make a game of it as Dons went in 2-1 down at the break.
The second half would be a one-sided affair though, with the excellent Nick Powell getting a well-deserved third before two Grigg goals in two minutes handed Dons their heaviest defeat of the season.
The result though doesn't make a huge difference to the league standings though, with Dons still a point from safety.
Dan Micciche made three changes to the side which started against Blackburn five days earlier, bringing Elliott Ward, Kieran Agard and Scott Golbourne back in at the expence of Scott Wootton, Robbie Muirhead and Ouss Cisse.
Former Dons top-scorer Will Grigg started for the home side, and it took him just 12 minutes to break the hearts of the fans who still hold him in such high regard, tapping home Wigan's opener after Michael Jacobs got the better of George Williams to cross low.
Wigan looked every bit the title contenders they are, seemingly able to cut Dons open whenever they wanted. Jacobs was enjoying a lot of the ball on the Wigan left, while Nick Powell was having similar joy in the centre of the park as they looked to put the game out of reach early on.
Their advantage was doubled on 23 minutes when Powell's cross, arrowed towards Grigg's far-post run, was cut out by Ethan Ebanks-Landell but inadvertently directed past Nicholls.
The pressure kept on coming too, with Gavin Massey forcing Nicholls to scramble across his line as he fired narrowly wide.
But from almost nowhere, with their closest previous attempt an Elliott Ward header over the bar, Dons pulled one back 10 minutes before the break. Chuks Aneke's powerful run from halfway was met by Callum Brittain, who dropped his shoulder to initially lose defender Dan Burn's attentions before firing low past Christian Walton to reduce the arrears.
Brittain was inches away from an unlikely equalise seven minutes later when Aneke again threatened to turn provider, but his low cross was palmed just out of Brittain's reach by the diving Walton.
The second half started at a rapid rate of knots with both sides knowing the next goal would be crucial in the outcome. Dons threatened early on with Brittain and Aneke nearly combining, but the latter couldn't test Walton.
Nick Powell was Wigan's most productive player and their biggest threat too, and looked desperate to get on the scoresheet. He nearly made it 3-1 when his shot thumped off the near post, but he would get his reward two minutes later when he put the game out of Dons' reach, climbing above Williams to head home Massey's cross at the far post 12 minutes into the half.
The introduction of Robbie Muirhead and Brandon Thomas-Asante did little to chance the course of the tide as Grigg stuck the knife into his former club with two goals in two minutes to complete his hat-trick. His second came on 75 minutes as he raced onto a long ball over the top, lobbing the ball over Nicholls. He thought the chance had gone though as it bounced off the bar before bouncing over the line.
His third came two minutes later, slotting in Jacobs' cross at the far post completing a memorable afternoon for the striker.
For Dons, the final whistle couldn't come quick enough, especially when substitute Gary Roberts was left totally unmarked and should have made it six in the final minute of the game.
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Attendance: 8,404 (333)
Wigan Athletic: Walton, Byrne, Elder, Morsy, Power, Grigg (Vaughan 77), Massey (Walker 77), Jacobs, Dunkley, Poewll, Burn
Subs not used: Jones, Perkins, Bruce, Roberts, Colclough
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Ebanks-Landell, Ward, Williams, Golbourne (Muirhead 64), Upson, Brittain, Pawlett (Ugbo 80), Agard (Thomas-Asante 70), Aneke
Subs not used: Sietsma, Wootton, Reo-Coker, Cisse
Booked: Golbourne, Agard, Burn, Byrne, Upson