A rampant MK Dons produced a five-star performance to brush aside Colchester United with a 5-1 victory and climb up to second in the League 1 table.
The Dons produced a storming second-half performance, having already been 2-0 up thanks to Luke Chadwick and Shaun Williams’ penalty, to thrash the U’s and extend their unbeaten run to eight matches.
There was a brief moment of light for Colchester when Ian Hendersen netted, but his goal was sandwiched between goals from Jon Otsemobor and Chadwick. A straight red card for Gavin Massey resulted in the U’s playing the final 25 minutes with 10 men and Ryan Lowe delivered a fifth.
The Dons handed a full debut to loan signing Patrick Bamford as he stepped into the lone striker role in the place of the suspended Alan Smith while fellow loanee Zeli Ismail took up a place on the bench. Dons were without skipper Dean Lewington, meaning Adam Chicksen
was given the opportunity to impress in his familiar left-back position.
Colchester came into the game in difficult form – with only one win in six – and opted for a cautious start at stadiummk. It took 10 minutes for the first shot to be registered and it came from the Dons as Dean Bowditch picked up the ball from deep in midfield before unleashing an effort which dragged just inches wide.
New boy Bamford looked keen to make an impression and his movement up front indicated the Chelsea starlet would be at home in the Dons’ attacking line-up. Unfortunately though, his first real chance to impress a slip at the crucial moment saw his shot fire over the bar.
The U’s were strong in midfield and enjoying a good battle with the Dons’ notoriously impressive duo in the middle of the park. There was a golden chance for the U’s to hurt the Dons when Clinton Morrison cropped up on the right of the pitch and cut the ball into the path of Ian Henderson. Fortunately for the home side though, the defence were clear up before David Martin was called into action.
The Dons appeared a little flat compared to their usual fast and slick play, but there were hints that Robinson’s men could turn on the style when required. Bowditch was again at the heart of the attacking play with a break down the right where he found Bamford moving into the box.
The understanding between Bamford and Chadwick was already visible as the former Manchester United midfielder picked up the through ball and, with the keeper already committed to diving; he passed the ball beyond John Sullivan.
It was a goal that quickly dented the visitors’ early promise, and the Dons doubled the blow nine minutes later when the lively Bamford continued his impressive display, darting through the box only to feel his heels clipped by the hopeful lunge of Tom Eastman.
Referee Darren Deadman had little hesitation in pointing to the spot and Williams duly stepped up. With two penalties and one goal from open play already to his name Williams was buoyant with confidence and it showed as he powered the spot-kick into the left corner.
Colchester refused to crawl into their shells though, and continued to pass the ball around the Dons when the opportunity arose.
However, the Dons could have had the game buried on the stroke of half-time when some excellent football saw the ball cut straight through the U’s with Chadwick finding Potter who duly produced a sublime ball into the path of the free Balanta, but the QPR loanee lifted a first touch shot over the bar.
The Dons continued their dominance after the break with Chadwick driving into Colchester’s box to find Bamford, but the striker, even at full-stretch, could not manage to get his foot on the end of the cross.
Colchester United’s introduction of Massey at the interval appeared to bring a new dimension to the visitors’ play as they looked to use the most of his pace down the channels.
Yet, it was the Dons who registered the third goal of the game on the score board when Bowditch’s corner found the free Otsemobor, who rose to flick his header past the despairing Sullivan.
At that point, despite the Dons already being 3-0 up, the game exploded into life as Henderson made the most of defensive mistakes from the Dons, picked the ball off Bowditch and thrashed his effort home to pull a goal back for the U’s.
But the drama kept on coming at stadiummk when just a minute after Henderson had dented the Dons’ lead Chadwick was able to restore the three-goal cushion. Bamford, who went off minutes later to a standing ovation, passed the ball to Chadwick and with an air of calmness he beat Sullivan from eight yards.
Things went from bad to worse for the U’s as in the 66th minute a strong lunging tackle from Massey on Chicksen resulted in a straight red for the winger who had been on the pitch for 21 minutes.
The important thing for Colchester was to stop the Dons from running away with a thumping scoreline, a difficult task when the Dons were on-song. Substitute Lowe decided to join in with the goal scoring and when he picked up the ball from outside the area there was only one thing on his mind, and he produced a sensational finish into the top-right corner.
With the game safely beyond doubt the Dons could have taken it easy, but the introduction of Zeli Ismail suggested otherwise as the livewire winger terrorised the U’s defence. The teenager almost had a debut goal to his name when he was found by Lowe and he duly stung the palms of Sullivan.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Otsemobor, Williams, Kay, Chicksen; Gleeson (c), Potter; Bowditch (Ismail 85), Chadwick (Ismail 76), Balanta; Bamford (Lowe 69).
Subs: McLoughlin (GK), Kouo-Doumbe, MacDonald, Galloway, Sekajja.
Goals: Chadwick 28, 64, Williams (pen) 37, Otsemobor 60, Lowe 82
Colchester United (4-3-3): Sullivan; Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman (Thompson 70),Potts; Bond (Massey 46), Eastmond (Duguid 70), Wordsworth; Henderson, Morrison, Sears.
Subs: Cousins (GK), Rose, Bean, White, Thompson.
Booked: Okuonghae, Morrison
Sent-off: Massey 66
Goal: Hendersen 63
Referee: D Deadman (Cambridgeshire)
Goal-Don Goal times: 1st goal – 27.35; 2nd goal – 36.33; 3rd goal – 60.45; 4th goal – 62.33; 5th goal – 63.45; 6th goal - 81.10