MK Dons slipped to tenth in League One as they were beaten 4-1 at home by cash-strapped Sheffield Wednesday, who shot up into the play-off places.
The Owls, who appeared in court to face a winding up order earlier this week, certainly lifted their spirits with a resounding victory over a Dons’ side previously unbeaten at home in the league.
Wednesday’s set plays tore that record apart though as they fought back from 1-0 down after Mark Carrington had fired the Dons ahead from the edge of the area, picking up Darren Purse’s weak clearance. It seemed this gave Carrington a taste for goals, as soon after he forced Arron Jameson into a superb save with his strike from a similar position.
However, Wednesday were quickly back in the game, Tommy Spurr nearly picking out Neil Mellor in the box, only for his cross to be intercepted by Mathias Kouo-Doumbe. The Sheffield side kept up the pressure and two goals in just five minutes turned the game around for them.
Some unsure goalkeeping allowed former Liverpool striker Mellor to head the equaliser in from Tommy Miller’s corner, and things went from bad to worse for Karl Robinson as he was quickly forced to reshuffle his side when star striker Sam Baldock was forced off with an injury.
Lewis Guy, replacing Baldock, later had a chance to score but could not get past Jameson, who easily saved. In truth, the Dons looked tired after their exhausting home cup defeat against Stevenage in midweek which had gone to extra time and penalties.
It was then just a matter of minutes before the Owls were in front as a speedy counter attack spearheaded by Gary Teale resulted in the ball finding its way in after hitting an unfortunate Luke Chadwick.
Throughout the afternoon the Dons failed to close down Wednesday’s passing, while the Owls constantly put pressure on the MK midfield and attack to limit their clear cut chances, and ultimately it appeared that this was where the game was won and lost.
Baldock’s height against a huge Sheffield defence was initially a problem too until he was substitued as he found it hard to break through the partnership of Purse and Mark Beevers who towered over the little front man.
Teale, a possible contender for man of the match continued his outstanding contribution in the second half - first, his fantastic pace saw him close to wearing the Dons back line down, and he was only stopped by a brilliant tackle from Danny Woodards.
He was not to be denied another assist though as, with 20 minutes to go, his cross from the left found Mellor, who yet again leapt above the MK defence to head his second of the game. Then, with just over five minutes remaining, Mellor completed a well taken hat-trick with yet another header, this time from a Spurr corner to ensure Wednesday were home and dry.
Dons’ boss Karl Robinson summed up the game as follows: “When we scored, I didn't celebrate too much because I knew we were in for a tough 85 minutes and that proved to be the case. Neil Mellor has been doing what he did here for years - he gets on people's shoulders and he gets up well”
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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