MK Dons climbed up the League 1 table to eighth place as they dispensed of Carlisle United with a 2-0 win at stadiummk.
Luke Chadwick continued his red-hot form as he netted his third goal in two games to give the Dons control over their Cumbrian visitors. The home side were in controlling and goal-hungry mood, yet they only led by a solitary goal at half-time.
The pressure on Carlisle soon told though, and Ryan Lowe’s first Dons strike capped off a superb team move to double the Dons’ lead. Carlisle had a limited number of chances, with Danny Cadamateri at the heart of them, but in the end the Dons’ dominant performance resulted in a well-deserved three points and a clean sheet.
Karl Robinson made one change to the side who beat Blackburn Rovers in the week with Ryan Lowe replacing Charlie MacDonald, who dropped to the bench.
The Dons’ start was lively, energetic and one of a side who looked determined to record an emphatic victory. Yet again it was Daniel Powell with his power and drive who appeared to be the man who would break the deadlock for the Dons; the winger bulldozed his way past the Cumbrians’ defence and when he was eventually halted in the box Lowe picked up the loose ball to smash home only so see the assistant’s flag deny him his first goal for the Dons.
Carlisle left-back Chris Chantler was set to endure a torrid afternoon marking Powell as the winger broke free again to play a ball at Chadwick’s feet and the two-goal hero from midweek turned to better his angle to tuck a half-volley into the top corner.
After scoring one the Dons looked to have the bit between their teeth as they piled on further pressure in hope of extending their lead. First Lowe powered a shot at the near post, which Adam Collin was able to block, and the Cumbrian ‘keeper was back in action moments later when Powell’s cross-come-shot was tipped over the bar.
However, for his excellent saves Collin almost cost his side a second goal when his attempted clearance from the right of his box went horribly wrong and Dean Bowditch was on hand to pick up the scraps. A pass sideward found Stephen Gleeson in a central position and the skipper for the day riffled a shot which allowed Collin to make amends as he parried away.
After riding the wave of pressure Carlisle began to come into the game, with former Huddersfield man Danny Cadamarteri at the heart of the action. However, when the Cumbrians switched off at a corner Darren Potter seized the opportunity to break on the counterattack and release Powell ahead of him on the left.
Powell cut inside to make his way to the edge of the box but a finely timed solid challenge from Bradley Potts but an end to the Dons break.
Ten minutes before the break Bowditch had a glorious opportunity to double the lead as he shook off the defender to race on to a low cross from the right, but the forward failed to make the connection needed to at least test the goalie.
Carlisle returned from the dressing room with more fight about them as Cadamarteri instigated a break into the Dons box, but as Matty Robson tried to turn to shoot a fine tackle from Adam Chicksen killed the threat.
The MK-faithful took it upon themselves to raise the volume inside stadiummk, in hope that the noise would inspire a goal as the Dons attacked the Cowshed.
As the visitors started to threaten a possible leveller, the Dons turned on the style which resulted in a sensational counter-attack goal that was symbolic of their style of play. The Dons cleared their lines as they ended a Carlisle attack and set off on their own. The ball was released from defence, played on by Chadwick to Gleeson, who strode through midfield with ease to slip the ball to the feet of Powell.
From the left of the box Powell drove a shot at Collin which was blocked by the ‘keeper, but Lowe was there to follow up with a fine finish despite desperate efforts from a defender on the line.
With a fairly comfortable cushion in the score line Robinson made a double substitution to bring on fresh legs in MacDonald and Jimmy Bullard, making his debut, on for goalscorers Lowe and Chadwick respectively.
The Dons couldn’t afford to feel complacent though as Cadamarteri demonstrated the threat the Cumbrians still possessed in their side as he forced a point-blank save from David Martin.
The home side also went close to adding to the scoreline when MacDonald and Bowditch both had efforts deflect wide.
With six minutes remaining Cadamarteri continued to cause the Dons’ defence problems as he drilled a low shot from the right for Martin to turn just inches wide.
There always seemed to be another goal in the game for the Dons, and the home fans would have been hoping it was going to fall to Bullard as he darted into the box but saw his shot headed away by Chantler and Jay O’Shea shot over with the rebound.
In the end though, two goals was enough for the Dons to take the points their play had deserved.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Otsemobor, MacKenzie, Williams, Chicksen; Gleeson, Potter; Powell (O’Shea 85), Chadwick (Bullard 72), Bowditch; Lowe (MacDonald 72).
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Kay.
Goal: Chadwick 11
Carlisle United: Collin, Robson (O’Halloran 65), McGovern (Symington 73), Murphy (c), Noble, Cadamarteri, Edwards, Potts, Berrett (Thirwell 37), Jervis, Chantler.
Subs not used: Simek, Madden, Beck, Gillespie.
Attendance: 7,227 (381 away)
Goal-Don Goal times: 1st goal - 10.55; 2nd goal - 64.49