MK Dons net five in dominant win over Walsall

    Image Credit: Milton Keynes Dons Football Club

    Milton Keynes Dons banished the demons of their disappointing loss to Stockport County with a much-needed 5-0 victory over Walsall at Stadium MK.

    The Dons started the match retaining the majority of possession, but the visitors made life difficult for them as they pressed well and kept the home side from being able to do much with the ball.

    Walsall had the first real chance of the match after five minutes of play, with Mo Faal charging towards goal and slotting a shot just wide of Michael Kelly's back post.

    The visitors were gifted a free kick halfway through the Dons' area, but it was dealt with comfortably by Warren O'Hora's header from inside the box.

    The Dons were caught napping in the 14th minute, allowing Faal a strong run down the right flank with only Daniel Harvie close enough to keep him under pressure.

    The Walsall man, however, got past Harvie and was able to get a clean shot on goal, with Kelly forced to make a crucial save early in the match.

    Mike Williamson's side attempted their own counter, with Alex Gilbey trying to cut a pass back into the centre of the visitors' penalty box, but no white shirts could get near it in time before the defensive line recovered and cleared the danger.

    Joe Tomlinson tried to make something happen, cutting inside from the left flank before letting fly a strong strike on the edge of the box. The effort was struck perfectly straight and hit a Walsall defender before being cleared on the rebound.

    The Dons were the first to strike just shy of the half-hour mark, with Emre Tezgel scoring his first goal of the season for the club.

    A cross swung in from Joe Tomlinson on the left, with Gilbey getting a headed flick to the ball and seeing it land in front of Tezgel inside the box, who was able to tap the ball home and give the Dons a much-needed 1-0 lead.

    A lovely passage of play saw the Dons pass the ball around efficiently in the Walsall half, with Stephen Wearne picking out Tomlinson on the edge of the box. Tomlinson struck a shot but couldn't get enough power behind his effort and it was scooped up by Smith.

    A Walsall counterattack put the Dons under immense pressure, with a high lofted cross heading for the middle of the Dons' box, but snuffed out by Kelly who dived on the ball to prevent disaster in behind.

    The Dons started the second half lively, with Wearne getting involved in two potential chances right from the get-go. His initial effort was cleared out from the goal mouth, and his second was blocked and cleared away from danger.

    After making a couple of tactical substitutions 10 minutes into the second half, the Dons found themselves with a penalty opportunity as sub Max Dean was taken out by Smith, forcing the ref to point to the spot - the first time all season for the Dons in the league.

    In front of the home fans, Dean coolly slotted the penalty into the bottom corner and put the home side ahead 2-0 with his 10th league goal of the season.

    Dean was involved once again as the Dons made it 3-0 just minutes later. Holding up the ball and avoiding pressure from the opponents, Dean was able to slot through a pass for Gilbey to run onto, charging down the keeper before sending it home comfortably into the bottom corner to extend the lead.

    Lewis Bate came close to increasing the Dons' lead, with Lofthouse's pass to the edge of the box setting him up perfectly for a strong shot along the ground, only to see his effort go wide of the mark.

    The fourth goal came in the 75th minute, as Dan Kemp picked out Max Dean from inside his own half, with the striker having the instincts to slot the ball to the left for the oncoming Tomlinson who raced forward before striking the ball cleanly into the corner of the goal.

    It was 5-0 in the 79th minute after Walsall failed to deal with a Dons corner. The ball from Kemp fell into the path of Dean, who quickly turned and netted his second of the match.

    Despite having six minutes of added time, the visitors had no answers for the Dons who continued to dominate the rest of the match and comfortably saw out the result, picking up a hugely important and morale-boosting 5-0 victory over Walsall at Stadium MK.

    The chase for automatic promotion heats up with Wrexham picking up the win over Mansfield, meaning that just three points separate the Dons from second and third in the league, with five matches remaining for Mike Williamson's side.

    Their next test comes on Easter Monday on the road to Notts County, before another away day at Forest Green Rovers the following Saturday. The Dons are next at home against Mansfield Town on Saturday 13th April.

    MK Dons Lineup: Kelly, Lofthouse, Norman, O'Hora, Harvie (69' Lewington), Tomlinson, Bate, Gilbey, Payne (55' Robson), Wearne (69' Kemp), Tezgel (55' Dean)

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