MK Dons head into the Sky Bet League One play-offs in style after a 5-0 thrashing of Plymouth Argyle at Home Park.
Scott Twine scored a stunning four goals as Liam Manning’s men produced one of their performances of the season. Harry Darling grabbed the Dons’ third goal in between a pair of braces from the MK Dons number nine.
Their hopes of securing a dramatic final-day promotion were scuppered by Rotherham United, who beat Gillingham 2-0 in Kent to keep hold of second place. The Dons, instead, will compete in the Sky Bet League One play-offs – with Buckinghamshire rivals Wycombe Wanderers their opponents in the semi finals.
MK Dons made one change from their 2-0 win over Morecambe as Josh McEachran came in to the starting XI for Theo Corbeanu. Connor Wickham, back from injury, is among the substitutes.
MK Dons worked an early opening for Kasumu down the right but he was unable to link up with Scott Twine, who had made the run into the area. At the other end, Steven Sessegnon tried his luck for the hosts but his long-range drive was watched wide by Jamie Cumming.
Kasumu broke down the right again on eight minutes but appeared to be held back by his marker. The midfielder stayed on his feet and tried to beat Mike Cooper but was denied by the Argyle goalkeeper.
MK Dons’ number eight was enjoying an excellent start and on 10 minutes he was brought down for a free-kick, 30 yards out, from which Twine struck the crossbar.
Argyle then went agonisingly close themselves a minute later but Luke Jephcott failed to hit the target from close range. Jepchott had a carbon copy of his chance soon after but, again, couldn’t find the net with the goal gaping.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Twine was brought down inside the D which provided him with another free-kick opportunity – this time, he made no mistake, curling home with his right foot to give the Dons an early lead. 0-1.
Liam Manning’s men thought they had a quick-fire second but Kaine Kesler Hayden’s fierce strike from the edge of the area crashed into the side netting. Almost immediately, Cumming was called into action to palm away a goal-bound head header from James Wilson.
Just prior to the half-hour mark, Kesler Hayden teed up Kasumu, who had a shot deflected wide of the target. The Plymouth wall then stood up to a third Twine free-kick, awarded for a foul on Parrott.
With nine minutes to play in the half, Mayor curled into the arms of Cumming from 25 yards out. Jephcott then failed to take another opportunity to find the target from a right-wing cross.
On the break, Parrott went agonisingly close to doubling the MK Dons lead but was denied by a terrific diving save from Cooper. That led to a corner from which they did extend their lead to two.
It was Twine again, on the scoresheet. MK Dons’ top scorer collected Conor Coventry’s header back in from a cleared corner before working his way into the area and rifling home a stunning right-footed effort into the top corner. 0-2.
The Dons had their tails right up and they made it three before half-time courtesy of a bullet header by Harry Darling, who met Josh McEachran’s inch-perfect corner in from the right. 0-3.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts before half-time as Kasumu, who was having a storming half, drew another foul off former Don Jordan Houghton who, having already been booked, was shown a second yellow card and given his marching orders.
Half-Time – Plymouth Argyle 0-3 MK Dons
With the first shot of the second half, Mayor bent a right-footed attempt wide of the post from 25 yards out.
The Dons had their first opportunity six minutes in from a Coventry through pass but neither Parrott nor Kasumu were able to get a shot away in the end. Kasumu, though, was heavily involved as the Dons added a fourth with an hour on the clock.
Kasumu was played through by Kesler Hayden and he had the awareness and skill to pick out Twine with a cross and the MK Dons number nine completed his hat-trick – his second of the season – with a simple finish past Cooper. 0-4.
Twine wasn’t content with a treble and tried his luck at an unprecedented fourth from a free-kick but it sailed over the crossbar. He also went close with a header that was brilliantly turned behind by Cooper.
MK Dons’ hat-trick hero then tried to turn provider for Darling but his low cross was just behind his teammate. Shortly after, Kesler Hayden was denied, following a good run into the area, by Cooper.
Twine wasn’t to be stopped in his quest for a fourth, which he found with a sublime right-footed drive, 20 yards from goal which Cooper couldn’t get his right hand too. That was his final involvement before he was withdrawn for Wickham. 0-5.
The Dons’ mood took a hit late on when news filtered through from Kent that Rotherham had doubled their lead in stoppage time. That goal confirmed it will be a third-placed finish for Liam Manning – a remarkable achievement and one that could still lead to a promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.
Full-Time – Plymouth Argyle 0-5 MK Dons.
MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington, O’Hora, Darling, Kasumu (Smith 82), Twine (Wickham 81), Coventry, McEachran (Kemp 69), Parrott, Harvie, Kesler Hayden.
Subs: Ravizzoli, Corbeanu, Baldwin, Boateng.
Goals: Twine (17, 41, 60, 79), Darling (43)
Plymouth Argyle: Cooper, Gillesphey (Randell 46), Houghton, Wilson, Scarr, Broom, Mayor, Garrick (Edwards 66), Sessegnon, Law, Jephcott (Ennis 46).
Subs: Burton, Hardie, Crichlow, Craske.
Sent off: Houghton
Referee: C Hicks
Attendance: 15,644 (1,313 away)