MK Dons 3 Port Vale 0
mk.stadiumMK Dons recorded back-to-back League wins for the first time this season thanks to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Port Vale at
In their last home game of 2013 the Dons turned on the style with a superb first half performance which saw them rack up a 3-0 lead at half-time with goals courtesy of Stephen Gleeson, Ben Reeves and
With such a comfortable lead the Dons were able to ease up in the second half, ahead of a busy Christmas period, but importantly they notched up their third clean sheet in as many games.
Robinson was able to name an unchanged side for only the second time this season as he was able to stick with the same starting XI which beat Wolves a week earlier.
The Dons could not be in a complacent mood though, they needed to ensure they were at their best from the offset to guarantee a result against a Port Vale side who have their own dreams of the play-offs this campaign.
It was the dream start for the home side when Gleeson bagged his first goal of the season a superb curling effort from the best part of 35-yards. The ball fell to the midfielder who was afforded too much space and he was able to send his fine strike beyond the reach of Sam Johnson.
The link-up on the left-hand side between Dean Lewington and Dale Jennings was proving to be a fruitful way of creating chances for the Dons. Jennings’ break saw him cut inside before hitting a dipping effort to be turned away by the Valiants’ goalie.
From the resulting corner the ball fell back to Reeves on the edge of the box and the midfielder drilled a low effort through a static Vale defence and into the back of the net. Johnson did not appear to see it until it was too late, by which time Reeves had wheeled away to celebrate the Dons’ second of the match.
It was an impressive and dominant opening half an hour from the Dons. They had enjoyed a large share of possession and limited the number of times Port Vale ventured into their half but even when they did they provided little threat to the back four and David Martin.
It became apparent that the Dons’ confidence was soaring as a long ball by Shaun Williams caused the Port Vale defence to be turned inside out as Reeves’ run went unnoticed to collect the pass. The presence of Reeves forced Johnson off his line and when the ball was crossed in for Bamford, the striker was unmarked as he turned the ball home.
Port Vale looked shell-shocked at both the score and their own toothless first half performance. The visitor did, however, get a slight reprieve when referee Eddie Ilderton denied the Dons a penalty despite what appeared to be a clear handball from Chris Robertson in the box.
The Valiants would have been relieved to hear the sound of the half-time whistle but when they returned for the second half they were once again against the ropes. Gleeson went close to his second only for Johnson to parry his effort while Williams saw a smart free-kick fall just wide and Reeves had a close-range shot deflected over the bar.
The first real chance to get back into the game came for Port Vale when former Dons loanee Chris Lines played an excellent cross into the box for his team-mates but Martin was alert enough to smother the ball and clear the danger.
After 65 minutes, with little coming in the way of chances, Valiants’ boss Micky Adams opted for a double substitution bringing on Chris Shuker and Ben Williamson in place of Daniel Jones and Chris Birchall, in the hope that fresh legs would introduce a fresh wave of chances from the visitors.
The Dons’ first change of the game came 10 minutes later when Jennings, who had been superb going forward and tracking back, made way for George Baldock who penned a new two-and-a-half year deal before kick-off.
The spell of pressure Port Vale had been craving came as time ticked away with Lines again providing a dangerous cross into the box which was well-cleared by Williams. Robertson went close to find a consolation for the visitors when his header from a corner looped just over the bar.
An important point in the game came five minutes from time when Antony Kay was brought on to play for the first time in three months following hip surgery. The centre-back has been sorely missed by the Dons and was an ideal boost for the hosts.
Another strong performance and impressive result from the Dons was the perfect present for the fans at MK1 and sets up a busy couple of weeks for Robinson’s men.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Hodson, Williams, Spence, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson (Kay 83); Carruthers (Galloway 87), Reeves, Jennings (Baldock 75); Bamford.
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Smith, Banton.
Goals: Gleeson 4, Reeves 13, Bamford 32
Port Vale: Johnson, Jones (Griffith 30), Robertson, Dickinson, Chilvers, Myrie-Williams (Shuker 65), Tomlin, Pope (c), Lines, Duffy, Birchall (Williamson 65).
Subs not used: Boot (GK), Dodds, Hughes, Hugill.
Attendance: 7,882 (644 away)