By Martin Atherton
Despite having no fewer than ten first team squad members missing, Russell Martin’s MK Dons romped to victory over Swindon Town in their last game of 2020.
Goals from Cameron Jerome (2), Daniel Harvie and Regan Poole were enough to see off a poor Robins outfit, Jack Payne with the consolation for John Sheridan’s side.
The Dons line up was marred by a lack of substitutes – just six named, two of whom being goalkeepers and three being youth players – but there was little to have been worried about as they waltzed to a 4-1 away victory.
Contrary to the norm, the Dons opened the scoring early doors – an excellent cross by Dean Lewington met by Gladwin and, though the former Swindon man failed to convert himself, Jerome was on hand to fire home the rebound. 0-1!
Martin’s side then continued their pressure and doubled their lead not too long after, an exquisite cross-field ball from Gladwin being neatly sent in by Fraser for Harvie to dink over and double the away advantage. 0-2!
But completely out of the blue, Swindon midfielder Jack Payne stuck his side back into the tie with a screamer from 30 yards. Nothing Fisher could do about it, and game back on. 1-2.
The Dons almost immediately then regained their two-goal lead, Poole tearing down the right to put in a pinpoint cross – Jerome, however, just behind the ball and unable to connect.
But the Dons top scorer wasn’t to be denied his eighth of the campaign for too long as he was set through on goal by Gladwin to neatly tuck past the Swindon ‘keeper. 1-3!
For the home side, the half-time whistle couldn’t have come any quicker. As time was blown, the Robins quickly dashed down the tunnel with Pressley set to make three changes to his side for the second period. HT 1-3.
The second half, as was perhaps expected, became far more balanced as the Dons began to tire due to their lack of real options on the bench.
Swindon recommenced on the attack, Payne driving forward – play, however, was pulled back for a foul on Sørensen before he was able to find a teammate. Fisher was then forced into an excellent save to deny Pitman as the former Ipswich and Portsmouth striker looked to pull one back.
In a rare venture forward, Mason was hacked down by the Swindon ‘keeper for what seemed a definite penalty – the linesman, however, somehow missing it completely.
But despite the home side looking the likelier to score next, Poole connected excellently with Harvie cross to head home a fourth for the visitors and put the game beyond doubt. 1-4!
It all became too much for a Town side who looked disjointed and lost. Hunt, introduced at half time, was given his marching orders after a rash challenge on Poole – perhaps harsh, though there were few complaints from his colleagues.
The Dons comfortably saw out the rest of the game without a hiccup to make it back-to-back wins in the league. FT 1-4. What. A. Result.
A break from League One action now follows, with Martin’s side set to take on both Northampton (League Trophy) and Burnley (FA Cup) in between now and their next league fixture against Peterborough in mid-January.
Tonight’s performance was yet further assurance that the Dons are on the right path under their manager. Their passing was exquisite, the execution almost perfect, and their opposition were totally unable to get anywhere near them.
It all just seemed to click – we had been threatening to do something like this for some time.
Plenty to look forward to as an MK Dons fan in 2021. Happy New Year – and Come on You Dons!