Report: Dons 4-1 Notts County
Goals from the two Bakers – Carl and Lewis – opened up a two-goal lead, one which they restored through Will Grigg after Elliott Whitehouse had momentarily reduced the arrears.
Grigg grabbed another in injury-time to wrap up an impressive showing in front of almost 12,000 fans.
Carl Baker and Devante Cole replaced Dean Bowditch and Will Grigg in the starting line-up for the match with the Magpies.
Karl Robinson’s men started in confident manner, controlling possession and spending large periods in the opposition’s defensive third.
Two chances arrived in quick concession just past the 10-minute mark – Carl Baker curling just wide from the edge of the area before Lewis Baker forced Roy Carroll into a fine fingertip save from 25 yards.
Carroll then tipped over Daniel Powell’s dangerous cross prior to Ben Reeves seeing a shot blocked after more intricate football and Cole driving down the throat of the former Manchester United keeper.
The men from MK1 maintained the intense pressure on the visitors as they looked for what would have been a deserved lead, with some fantastic football being played in the process.
County almost gifted Cole the chance to put the Dons 1-0 up on 20 minutes but he couldn’t get enough on his shot after a lack of communication between Carroll and Sean Newton.
Cole was presented with another opportunity a minute later when he latched on to Samir Carruthers’ through-ball to put him one-on-one, but he sent his effort wide of the left-hand post.
The Dons came even closer on 28 minutes when Carl Baker received the ball, drove at and beat three County men including Carroll and cut the ball back towards Cole, who was unfortunately behind the well-positioned Newton.
Following another slick move, Reeves flashed a shot off target on the half-hour mark, just as he did eight minutes later as the relentless pressure continued on the County goal.
The impressive Carroll came to the visitors’ rescue once again on 40 and 43 minutes respectively, brilliantly pushing away efforts from Reeves and Lewis Baker.
That proved to be the last real action of a first half the Dons dominated, which they continued to do in the second period with Carl Baker registering another shot on target on 49 minutes.
Lee Hodson was on hand to block Blair Adams’ shot before David Martin did brilliantly to push away Paddy McCourt’s free-kick as County threatened for the first time shortly afterwards.
At the other end, Carl Baker brought the best out of Carroll with a fierce drive from 15 yards after the Dons had once again carved up the County defence.
Robinson introduced Grigg and Bowditch with the aim to try and bring a fresh impetus to the Dons’ attack, but it was one of the starters – Carl Baker – who finally broke the deadlock on 63 minutes, receiving the ball, beating his man and firing clinically past Carroll from a tight angle. 1-0
Lewis Baker doubled the Dons’ lead on 74 minutes, latching on to Hodson’s delivery over the top, controlling the ball and expertly lifting the ball over Carroll. 2-0
Totally against the run of play, Elliott Whitehouse reduced the arrears five minutes later when he tapped home from close range after Martin had parried Jimmy Spencer’s initial effort. 2-1
However, the Dons’ two-goal advantage was restored on 84 minutes, Grigg guiding the ball home from 12 yards after Bowditch had beaten his marker and pulled a perfect ball back. 3-1
Grigg scored his 15th of the season in injury-time to complete an ultimately clinical display, arriving at the right time after Carroll had pushed away Carl Baker’s initial effort. 4-1
There was still time for Bowditch to be denied as the Dons went in search of a fifth while, at the other end, Hodson cleared off the line from Spencer.
MK Dons: Martin; Hodson, Kay, McFadzean, Lewington (c); Carruthers, L Baker; Powell (Bowditch 57), Reeves (Randall 88), C Baker; Cole (Grigg 57).
Unused subs: Burns, Spence, Walsh, Green.
Goals: Baker (63), L Baker (74), Grigg (84, 90+3).
Attendance: 11, 911 (559 County fans)