MK Dons had a near-perfect start to their 2012/13 League 1 season as they eased to a 2-0 win at home to Oldham Athletic.
Darren Potter’s first half header put the Dons in control before Man Of The Match Daniel Powell doubled their lead after the break with a superb goal on the counter-attack. In reality the scoreline could have been greater had it not been for the form of Latics’ ‘keeper Alex Cisak who made fine saves from Jay O’Shea and Charlie MacDonald.
Oldham did manage to get the ball into the back of the net, but Robbie Simpson’s strike was riled offside.
However, the game was marred for the Dons when an off-the-ball incident involving Antony Kay and Simpson resulted in a red card for the Dons defender on his home debut.
Full League debuts were handed to summer signings Kay and Ryan Lowe as Robinson made three changes to the side that won on penalties in the Capital One Cup a week earlier.
Without Stephen Gleeson (suspended), Shaun Williams (ankle) and Mathias Kouo-Doumbe (knee) the Dons were a little light on numbers meaning youth team players Brendan Galloway and Dele Alli were named among the seven substitutes.
On the hottest day of the year League football made a eagerly-anticipated return, but in soaring temperatures neither side came bursting out of the blocks. The Dons were happy to allow the visitors to pass the ball around in the opening phases, with no plans to tire themselves out by chasing the game.
It was the right plan as the Dons quickly pounced on an Oldham error which allowed Daniel Powell to break through the right flank only to lift his final shot over the bar. Soon after Luke Chadwick, partnering Darren Potter in the centre of midfield, drove forward to find Powell again on the flank but his cross into the box never found its intended target of Lowe as Alex Cisak intervened.
Lactics’ skipper Dean Furman appeared frustrated at the lack of chances his side were creating when he picked up the ball after hard work Lee Croft and from some 30-yards drilled an effort well wide.
The Dons had to be patient in their play, but when they were able to break they did so at pace. Adam Chicksen, remaining in the right-back position, used his speed to make his way down the flank, allowing Powell to get ahead of him, but the defender opted for a cross-come-shot which whipped wide.
At the other end the Latics were looking the most dangerous from set plays as the dangerous Youssouf M’Changama played a clever free-kick to his left where Jonathan Grounds was waiting to turn an effort at Martin which was excellently tipped over.
The Dons though were banging on the door, yet again Powell proved to be a handful as he powered a shot at the near post only for the combined effort of Cliff Byrne and Cisak to deflect the ball out for a corner.
From the resulting corner Bowditch sent a pin-point accurate delivery into the box where Potter, who seemed to have acres of space, sent a bullet head home to put the Dons in front.
Five minutes before the break Lowe had an excellent opportunity to double the lead when he latched on to a superb long ball over the top of the Lactics defence but his lob over the ‘keeper fell inches wide.
Yet again Powell was a handful as he teased the Oldham defence, moving from the edge of the area the winger used his strength to power into the box yet his fierce shot rattled the crossbar.
Oldham had a good opportunity to pull the scores level when a free-kick was played short to M’Changama, who was a real threat at set plays, but his long-range effort went straight to Martin’s grateful arms.
The visitors looked a little livelier in the second half as they tried to find a way back into the game. Robbie Simpson had a glorious chance when a long ball beat the Dons defence to leave the striker with plenty of time and space, but the Oldham man waste the moment as he fired well wide.
The Latics had another chance to test Martin when a foul by Chadwick presented M’Changama with another free-kick, however, when the Dons goalie made a commanding collection it allowed the Dons to switch from defence to attack.
Martin released the Dons with the ball quickly finding Jay O’Shea who in turn fed the ball to Powell, who occupied a more central position. In an excellent display Powell tore through the Latics box and, with a quick glance up, the Luton-born front man picked out his spot as he tucked a composed finish past Cisak.
In the 67th minute Oldham thought they had narrowed the deficit when Simpson bundled the ball home, but the assistant referee’s flag was quickly raised to rule out the goal.
A flurry of substitutes from both sides interrupted the rhythm of the game but the introduction of Charlie MacDonald, Jabo Ibehre and Alan Smith allowed the Dons to step up another level.
Dean Lewington found himself inside the Lactics area and a cheeky back heel opened up an avenue for Ibehre. The forward used all of his strength to power a ferocious shot which had to be tipped away by Cisak.
Moments later the Oldham goalkeeper, who had been excellent between the sticks, was back in action as he blocked a shot from O’Shea but the loose ball fell straight to MacDonald. However, as MacDonald desperately tried to turn in the rebound, Cisak made an incredible reaction save to deny him.
There was an ugly end to the game as Kay and Simpson were caught in a confrontation which resulted in red for the Dons man and a melee on the pitch.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Chicksen, MacKenzie, Kay, Lewington (c); Potter, Chadwick (Smith 81); Powell, O’Shea, Bowditch (MacDonald 65); Lowe (Ibehre 75).
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Otsemobor, Alli, Galloway.
Booked: MacKenzie, Chadwick, Smith
Sent-off: Kay 90
Goals: Potter 34, Powell 59
Oldham Athletic: Cisak; Byrne, M’Voto, Tarkowski, Grounds, Croft, M’Changma, Furman (c), Montano (Hughes 66); Simpson, Slew (Taylor 80).
Subs not used: Brown, Bouzanis, Smith, Millar, Winchester.
Referee: Ian Williamson (Berkshire)
Attendance: 7,409 (512)
Goal-Don Goal times: 1st goal 33.01; 2nd goal 58.44