HALL HAT-TRICK DELIGHTS DONS
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.”
DOUBLE UP: Rob Hall scores his second goal SIX OF THE BEST: Dele Alli celebrates with Carl Baker and Dean Lewington