The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Colin Hen­rys

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.”

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

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

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