MK Dons cruised to a 6-0 victory over St. James’s Gate in their first pre-season game of the 2014/15 season.
A first-half brace from Dele Alli and goals from Tom Hitchcock, Giorgio Rasulo and second-year scholars Kabongo Tshimanga and Kyran Wiltshire after the break helped Karl Robinson’s side get off to the ideal start of what will be a testing summer of friendlies.
With fitness the priority early, Dons boss Robinson named two different starting XIs for each half with Dele Alli, Giorgio Rasulo and Tom Hitchcock the only three players to feature in both sides. Goalkeeper David Martin and Ben Reeves were the only absentees, the former due to a planned rotation of goalkeepers and the latter due to a tight hamstring.
Included in the first starting line-up were new signings Kyle McFadzean and Tom Hitchcock but it was a star from last season, Dele Alli, who opened the scoring after just two minutes when he latched onto Dean Bowditch’s cutback to fire a half volley past the St. James’s Gate keeper.
Five minutes later, the Dons went close to adding a second after some good hold-up play by Hitchcock but Daniel Powell, who raced onto the striker’s lay-off, was denied by a good save from John Barrett.
McFadzean then saw a header cleared off the line following a Dean Lewington shot which was deflected behind for a corner.
Robinson’s men were in total control over their Irish opponents and they again threatened in the 13th minute through Rasulo, who saw a right-footed shot well-blocked inside the area after a one-two with the commanding Alli.
The Dons’ dominance continued through to the 25th minute when Barrett was called upon to make another strong save to deny Hitchcock a goal on his first Dons appearance. The striker, who joined on a free transfer from QPR earlier in the summer, struck his shot well from inside the box by a good reflex stop from the keeper.
Eventually, the Dons did add a second and it was Alli again applying the finishing touch to a sweet move, this time the midfielder fired home from 20-yards after a quickly-taken free-kick on the right from the impressive Rasulo.
Skipper Lewington then had a chance to add a third before the break with a 25-yard free-kick which was well palmed away by Barrett while St. James’s Gate, on a rare attack forward, had penalty appeals waved away after Baldock collided with Christopher Rossiter in the box.
At half-time Robinson made his eight planned changes and one of those, winger Green, almost created a goal for fellow recruit Hitchcock moments after the re-start but the striker headed narrowly wide.
On the hour mark the Dons boss introduced second-year scholar Ben Tilney in place of the double-goalscorer Alli and just a minute after that the Dons made it 3-0 with Hitchcock getting on the scoresheet with a neat close-range finish after a wonderful assist from Rasulo.
After receiving applause his team-mates, Hitchcock was replaced by Tshimanga and the striker, who netted a hat-trick in Saturday’s friendly with Buckingham Athletic, instantly provided the men from MK1 with their fourth of the evening, cutting-back for Rasulo to apply the coolest of finishes past Barrett.
Another one of Robinson’s replacements, Tilney, then had the ball in the back of the net in the 69th minute but the youngster’s finish from Lee Hodson’s cross was ruled out due to offside.
Soon after, Hickford went mightily close to adding a fifth with a right-footed shot from a corner which skimmed the right-hand upright.
However, on 75 minutes the Dons did make it five courtesy of a well-taken penalty from Tshimanga, who won the spot-kick himself. The 17-year-old raced onto Green’s inch-perfect through-ball before being fouled by the keeper, whom he sent the wrong way from 12-yards.
Keen to add more gloss to the scoreline, Robinson’s men continued to push forward and just 60 seconds after Tshimanga’s penalty, Summerfield came within a whisker of a sixth with a drilled right-footed effort which skimmed wide of the mark.
St. James’s Gate, to their credit, continued to work hard and they came close to adding a consolation goal in the 84th minute but they were denied by a good save from substitute goalie Charlie Burns.
The Dons managed to find a sixth goal late-on through young Kyran Wiltshire, who showed great skill and composure to fire Hodson’s cross into the bottom corner after some neat link-up play between the right-back and Green.
With an excellent result and everyone through unscathed, Robinson and his men can now stitch their attentions to Tuesday’s friendly with Drogheda United.
MK Dons first-half (4-2-3-1): McLoughlin (GK); Baldock, McFadzean, Flanagan, Lewington (c); Randall, Alli; Powell, Rasulo, Bowditch; Hitchcock.
MK Dons second-half (4-2-3-1): Burns (GK); Hodson, Kay, Hickford, McEveley; Potter (c), Alli (Tilney 60); Green, Rasulo (Wiltshire 65), Summerfield (Okito 82); Hitchcock (Tshimanga 62).
Subs not used: None
Goals: Alli 2, 35, Hitchcock 62, Rasulo 64, Tshimanga (pen) 75, Wiltshire 88