HALL HAT-TRICK DE­LIGHTS DONS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Harry Wilmin

MK DONS boss Karl Robin­son in­sisted his side can cope with what­ever any­one has to throw at them af­ter hit­ting Ley­ton Ori­ent for six to close the gap on sec­ond­placed Pre­ston to one point.

Rob Hall bagged his first pro­fes­sional hat-trick, while Dean Bowditch,Will Grigg and Dele Alli added to an em­phatic score­line as Ori­ent went down to their worst de­feat since a 6-1 ham­mer­ing against Carlisle 13 years ago.

Jay Simp­son added a con­so­la­tion for the vis­i­tors, but Robin­son ad­mit­ted his sub­sti­tu­tions in the sec­ond-half told you ev­ery­thing you needed to know.

“I think it showed you how com­fort­able I thought we were when I brought Dar­ren Pot­ter off, be­cause when I know I can bring the per­son who dic­tates the game off we’re com­fort­able,” he said.

“I think it was im­por­tant that on the back of the Pre­ston game the night be­fore that we un­der­stood the enor­mity of the chal­lenge.

“We had al­ready put the pres­sure on our­selves that we had to win here.

“We can’t have Pre­ston in our mind-set, I think if we’re play­ing like this in the play-offs no one will want to play us.

“I be­lieve we’re the only team in the top six to have won on Satur­day, so it’s now on­wards and hope­fully up­wards – but what­ever any­one wants to throw at us we can take it.”

Bowditch kick-started the rout in the 22nd minute when he poked home at the far post from a Grigg cross be­fore Hall added a sec­ond two min­utes later with a cross­cum-shot that sailed un­der the bod­ies of a crowded penalty area and into the net.

Grigg net­ted a third and his 21st of a fruit­ful cam­paign from the penalty spot af­ter Alli was brought down un­der pres­sure from Chris Dag­nall in­side 29 min­utes.

And Hall grabbed his sec­ond of the af­ter­noon in the 36th minute with a long-range strike be­fore he coolly slot­ted away his third just be­fore the hour.

Simp­son’s well-hit strike from the edge of the area was merely a con­so­la­tion for Ori­ent in­side the 69th minute be­fore Alli added a stunning sixth for the Dons nine min­utes from time.

“I have to say that MK Dons were so far the best team we have faced in the league,” ad­mit­ted Ori­ent chief Fabio Liverani, who’s side have now slipped into the rel­e­ga­tion zone, al­beit with a game in hand.

“They play very good foot­ball, they keep the ball on the floor and they got in good one-ver­sus-one po­si­tions in the fi­nal third – so well done to them.

“I’d say that psy­cho­log­i­cally this de­feat is more wor­ry­ing than any other re­sult in the sea­son, but there’s points still to play for and it’s in our hands to change the out­come.

“Un­for­tu­nately it’s been two or three games that we’ve been hav­ing to say th­ese ex­cuses af­ter each match, so I want to apol­o­gise to the sup­port­ers. But we just need to restart and plan ahead for the rest of the sea­son, be­cause we’re good enough to get our­selves out of this.”

PIC­TURES:TGSPHOTO

DOU­BLE UP: Rob Hall scores his sec­ond goal SIX OF THE BEST: Dele Alli cel­e­brates with Carl Baker and Dean Lew­ing­ton

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