COLE TOO HOT FOR THE ALEX
MK DONS swept Crewe aside to go top of the league, and boss Karl Robinson believes his side have sent a big statement out to their promotion rivals.
Having put six past Crewe in the reverse fixture, Manchester City loanee Devante Cole’s double and one apiece for Dean Bowditch, Carl Baker and Daniel Powell fired the Dons to victory.
And Robinson could not hide his delight at their depth of attacking quality – with former loanee Benik Afobe having joined Wolves and Will Grigg also missing out with injury.
“We’ve come into this game with two of the league’s hottest strikers not available to us for differing reasons and we’ve scored five goals,” he said. “That’s a real statement of intent to me.
“Add to that the way the players have held on in that second half, and showed a real desire not to concede, it shows how much it matters to them.
“It was a real sign of character from the players. We’ve got a lot of games to play so nobody’s getting carried away but we’ve sent out a statement.
“To come away to Crewe and perform like we did is brilliant.”
The Dons hit their stride immediately as Baker’s inch-perfect throughball dissected the Crewe defence on 12 minutes and, though Ben Garratt saved Bowditch’s shot, Cole’s follow-up spun in off Alan Tate.
Bowditch beat the offside trap again on 28 minutes to race onto Darren Potter’s lofted pass, his lob doubling the lead despite Garratt getting a hand to it.
Crewe’s defence could not handle the Dons’ flowing attack- ing movement, and Cole, unmarked, added his second ten minutes later with a low finish from Powell’s cross.
Steve Davis changed to a flatback four at the break which slowed the momentum of the visitors, but Baker got a deserved goal on 72 minutes, cutting in from the left and firing into the bottom corner.
He nearly had another five minutes later too, clipping the top of the crossbar with a chipped effort despite being surrounded by defenders.
Nicky Ajose nearly grabbed a late consolation, with David Martin turning his powerful strike wide on 86 minutes.
But Powell sealed the win in the final minute, Jordan Spence’s cross falling kindly for him to power in the loose ball.
And Crewe boss Steve Davis said: “They were very good in both boxes, and the difference was we weren’t good enough defensively.
“We know we can do better than that, and will need to do better next week. I’m disappointed with the goals, but we knew the extent of what we were up against.
“We’re not too down though. We’re still out of the bottom four, which is important psychologically. There’s still a lot to play for. “I’ll always try and look on the positive side of things. You can’t dwell on these things, these results do happen. We’ve got to improve.”
FEEL THE LOVE: Carl Baker is congratulated after scoring the Dons’ fourth goal STAR MAN CARL BAKER MKDons HAMMER: Daniel Powell drives home the fifth goal for the Dons