Injury ravaged MK Dons suffered their worst defeat in three years at Brunton Park as their miserable run against Carlisle continued.
Greg Abbott's Cumbrians ran riot in the North West, ruthlessly punishing an unfamiliar Dons defence missing some key performers through injury. First half goals from Ian Harte and the excellent Matty Robson had Carlisle in control at half-time, before three goals in 11 second-half minutes secured the Dons' fate.
Robson set up Bristol Rovers loanee Darryl Duffy for a goal on his home debut and then provided a cross for Scott Dobie to make it four before Joe Anyinsah's close-range finish completed the rout. It gave Carlisle a third straight win over the Dons, having come from two goals down to win here last season and won a seven-goal thriller at stadiummk in November.
And it left Dons boss Paul Ince in no doubt that his squad will need strengthening - in the short term by injured players returning to fitness and in the long term will new arrivals. Sol Davis challenges Carlisle's Kevan Hurst. Playing with a makeshift defence that had new boy James Tunnicliffe as its only specialist centre-half alongside skipper Dean Lewington, they were blown away by a Carlisle outfit who were more industrious than inspired.
They actually started brightly at Brunton Park, pushing the home side onto the back foot with the impressive Luke Chadwick pulling strings from his favoured position behind the striker. Dean Morgan drew a decent save from Adam Collin between the home sticks and, from Andros Townsend's resulting corner, Jude Stirling saw a header cleared off the line by Adam Clayton.
But once they fell behind on 21 minutes - Harte ghosting unmarked into the penalty area to glance home Kevan Hurst's right-wing corner - it started to look like a game that would be taken from them.
Aaron Wilbraham drew another decent save from Collin when he got on the end of a Stirling cross on 29 minutes, but the Dons were dealt a hammer blow 10 later as Robson started to take a stranglehold on the game. Clayton's speculative long-range shot took a huge deflection off Peter Leven and squirted into the left side of the Dons box. Robson had read the situation better than Andros Townsend ahead of him and managed to nip in before squeezing an excellent finish past Willy Gueret from a tight angle.
It should have got worse before half-time as Duffy sent Dobie into acres of space down the Carlisle right and Robson blazed his low centre wastefully over, but the former Hartlepool winger would do plenty more damage after the interval. Duffy had already drawn an excellent save from Gueret in a one-against-one bang on the hour-mark, but within six minutes he'd made it three as Robson escaped Stirling's attention down the left to give the striker a simple tap-in.
It got ugly in a hurry as Robson, working his way to an inevitable man of the match award, again found space on the left flank to cross dangerously into the box and Dobie had time to both control and lace a volley past Gueret without any markers around him.
Three minutes later it was five as Anyinsah, scorer of winning goals in both the last two meetings between these sides, stepped off the bench to bag his customary goal against the Dons - turning home another cross from the left, this time from Peter Murphy.
Alex Rae's introduction to midfield again served to underline the Dons' injury problems, though the 40-year-old veteran was notably strong in the tackle as Ince's side desperately tried to hold themselves together.
Townsend, a willing runner and the Dons' most likely source of joy all afternoon, fired a deflected shot just wide with six minutes to go and Chadwick, meandering his way into the box from Gobern's flick, wasn't far off with his effort either. But in the end they were grateful to escape with five as Anyinsah crashed a powerful drive against the crossbar after Clayton's ball forward.
A tough dose of reality for Ince's team from a side fast becoming their bogey team. In the week before they face Southend they will hope for a much-needed boost from the treatment room.
Carlisle United (4-4-2): Collin; Keogh, Livesey (c), Harte, Murphy; Hurst, Clayton, Thirlwell (Taiwo 79), Robson (Marshall 76); Dobie (Anyinsah 72), Duffy.
Subs not used: Pidgeley, Kane, Bridge-Wilkinson, Offiong.
Goals: Harte 21, Robson 39, Duffy 63, Dobie 71, Anyinsah 74
MK Dons (4-4-1-1): Gueret; Stirling (Flanagan 82), Tunnicliffe, Lewington (c), Davis (Rae 72); Townsend, Gleeson, Leven, Morgan (Gobern 53); Chadwick; Wilbraham.
Subs not used: Carrington, Howell, Randall, Harrison. Booked: Gleeson, Townsend, Davis, Chadwick
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear)