Report: Walsall 1-4 MK Dons
Excellent strikes from Robbie Muirhead and Ben Reeves had the men from MK1 2-0 up and in control at the break.
Stuart O’Keefe turned home a Ben Tilney strike with 20 minutes remaining and Harvey Barnes put the icing on the cake late on either side of a consolation through Erhun Oztumer.
Tilney and Reeves replaced Joe Walsh (suspended) and Kieran Agard in the starting XI for the clash at the Banks’s Stadium.
Robbie Neilson’s men settled the better of the two teams and Reeves saw a shot blocked while Muirhead had got himself in some good positions.
The men from MK1 made the most of their strong start and took the lead in spectacular fashion on 11 minutes, Muirhead latching on to Barnes’ perfect through-ball before firing home a fine first-time effort.
Craig MacGillivray did well to deny Muirhead a second just past the quarter-hour mark after the striker had cut in from the right-hand side and tried to find the bottom corner.
The Dons continued to look composed on the ball as they aimed to extend their advantage while, at the other end, they were dealing comfortably with what Walsall were offering in attack.
With 25 minutes on the clock, the Dons countered through Muirhead down the left-hand side but he couldn’t pick out a team-mate with his cross.
The hosts threatened for the first real time on 27 minutes but Lee Nicholls was up to the task, pushing over Korey Roberts’ close-range header.
However, the Dons deservedly doubled their advantage in style on 33 minutes when Reeves arrowed a stunning 20-yard effort into the top left-hand corner. A second superb goal of the afternoon for the men from MK1!
Shortly afterwards, Ed Upson curled one not too far past the right-hand post before he fired wide after Barnes had seen an initial shot blocked.
Walsall escaped on 52 minutes when Barnes and George Williams both saw shots blocked inside the area after the hosts had failed to deal with a Dons corner.
George Baldock then forced MacGillivray into a save from 20 yards before, at the other end, Nicholls comfortably gathered Kieron Morris’ low drive.
After dealing with a corner, the Dons broke through Barnes midway through the second half and he tested MacGillivray with a shot following a 50-yard burst forward.
A strong away display got even better for the Dons with 20 minutes remaining when a Ben Tilney strike deflected off Stuart O’Keefe and found the bottom corner.
Darren Potter and Reeves left the field to standing ovations on 76 minutes – the former on his last appearance for the Club, bringing to a close six years of superb service. They were replaced by Giorgio Rasulo and Callum Brittain.
The hosts pulled one back through Erhun Otzumer on 85 minutes but, just a minute later, the Dons restored their three-goal advantage when Barnes scored a fine solo goal which capped off a strong showing on the final day.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Baldock, Williams, Lewington (c), Tilney; Potter (Rasulo 76), Upson, O’Keefe; Reeves (Brittain 76), Barnes, Muirhead (Agard 80).
Unused subs: Martin, Downing, Logan, Thomas-Asante.
Goals: Muirhead (11), Reeves (32), O’Keefe (70), Barnes (86).
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