MK DONS 3 DONCASTER ROVERS 0
Dons downed League One leaders Doncaster Rovers this evening and could not have written a better script for the match if they tried.
It was a near perfect evening for Karl Robinson’s side who were excellent value for their 3-0 victory against Bryan Flynn’s men.
All time leading scorer Izale McLeod broke his goal drought to open the scoring – the club’s best ever marksman finding the net for the first time in eight matches since his return to stadiummk.
Winger Dan Powell then fired home a wonderful second just hours after signing a new contract which will keep him at Dons for a further two years.
The biggest cheer of the night though was saved for the third, which sub Stephen Gleeson buried with his first touch back in Dons colours after a broken foot had kept him out since early December.
“My players put in a wonderful performance,” Robinson said.
“You could pick your headline. Izale scored for the first time since his comeback, Powell topped off his new deal with a wonder goal and Gleeson has come back and scored. You couldn’t wish for better.
“That was us at our best. We’ve not seen that often enough and the reason for that is injuries and suspensions.
“Tonight I was able to put out the front four I wanted to at the start of the season.
“The place was rocking in here this evening.”
High flyers Doncaster thought they had opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour but James Harper’s low effort was disallowed by ref Keith Stroud who had spotted a foul on Powell.
At the other end Chris Lines tested Rovers keeper Gary Woods with a speculative drive which swerved in the air but was eventually easily grabbed by the keeper.
Powell was then only a fraction away from connecting with Dean Bowditch’s flighted cross, which agonisingly sped past his head as he arrived to pounce in the six yard box.
The two sides drew 0-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium just three weeks ago and as with that game, Doncaster’s performance did not justify their lofty position.
Dons began to command proceedings and regularly found themselves with the ball in dangerous territory.
One of these moves resulted in a free-kick on the edge of the area and from it, Bowditch was desperately unlucky not to open the scoring.
The wide-man bent the ball deliciously around the wall but his shot crashed onto the post, before bouncing back off a diving Woods and onto the upright again.
There was then a blow when Luke Chadwick limped off injured, but this did at least lead to an early introduction to the game for goalscorer McLeod.
The striker joined Lowe on the pitch, a combination Robinson has said he wouldn’t play together, and both were involved in the 39th minute opener.
Lowe’s low effort stung the palms of Woods who could only parry it, and a well placed McLeod made no mistake with the rebound which he converted with a thumping finish.
The goal clearly meant a lot to both striker and manager and after the break Powell chipped in with his goal which was also in the dream script for the evening.
It was a special strike too as after turning in the box he dispatched a rocket of a volley past Woods who stood no chance of stopping it.
McLeod was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty but that injustice was forgotten when Gleeson made his dream introduction to the game.
The Irishman, who was roared onto the pitch, smashed a beautiful low finish past Woods from the edge of the box to remind everyone how much Dons have missed the influential midfielder.
Dons will now hope to use a superb night’s work to reignite their hopes of reaching the play-offs.
MK Dons: McLoughlin, Lewington, Williams, Potter, Bowditch (Doumbe 74), Chicksen, Lowe, Powell, Lines, Kay, Chadwick (McLeod 37). Unused subs: Gleeson, Flanagan, Baldock, Rasulo.
Doncaster: Woods, Quinn, Husband (Bennett 63), Jones (Griffin 46), Hume (Paynter 57), Harper, Cotterill, Lundstram, Spurr, McCombe, Coppinger. Unused subs: Maxted, Wakefield, Sinclair, Howieson.