MK DONS eased into the next round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a comfortable 2-0 win over 10-man Northampton Town.
Ishmel Demontagnac was sent off just after the half hour mark for a reckless, horrendous challenge on Dele Alli, and from then on it was a cakewalk for the Dons.
MK Dons were in charge of the tie from the early stages, with Patrick Bamford looking lively.
Firstly he chested down a Dean Lewington long ball and his first-time shot only just went over the bar before he hit the woodwork in the 14th minute.
Shortly afterwards, Jason Banton crossed the ball in, and the Chelsea loanee floated a header against a post, which cruelly rebounded off the inside of the post back into play and was cleared.
Demontagnac got the Cobblers first opportunity of the game in the 17th minute when a cross found its way to him at the back post. He steadied himself but his left foot shot went straight to the keeper and provided no problems for Ian McLoughlin.
New loanee signing Danny Green, who only joined on a month’s loan from Charlton Athletic late last night, floated a nice ball in for Bamford, but another of his headers was just wide of the far post as Dons threatened Northampton.
in the 20th minute, captain Chris Hackett dinked a ball too far when he got in behind the defence, but Demontagnac seriously hampered his side’s chances of getting through to the next round when he recklessly went through Dele Alli, which resulted in the Northampton man being given a straight red card - Town’s fourth in successive away matches.
From the resulting free kick Shaun Williams produced a good diving save from keeper Matt Duke, who put in an impressive display the last time the two sides met in the Capital One cup last month and did so again in this one.
Alli then looked like he wanted revenge for the horrendous challenge put in on him by making a great run in the middle, but when the ball was played through for him, he got his feet muddled up and the chance went begging.
Green had a good effort from the edge of the box as the game neared half time following some neat passing on the edge of the box, with Ben Reeves’ shot blocked.
The challenges began to fly in and all of a sudden the atmosphere in the stadium picked up some extra intensity.
Reeves produced a good 25-yarder in first half injury time, but that was the last of the action in the opening 45 minutes.
Within the opening two minutes of the second half Antony Kay tried picking up where he left off at Sheffield United by thumping a long-range effort only just over the bar.
Bamford then could have done better rather than shooting straight at the legs of Duke, who was imperious in goal yet again.
But the Cobblers had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the 50th minute when Jacob Blyth powered his shot directly at McLoughlin, when he arguably would have been better showing some more composure and opting for placement rather than power.
Bamford had been causing problems for Northampton, and he was fully deserving of his goal in the 52nd minute. Banton showed great strength on the left, and there was a hint of luck as the ball deflected into the six-yard box. But Bamford showed great determination and heart to get there first, and he prodded the ball home to give the Dons a 1-0 lead that rewarded their dominance.
It was only six minutes later when MK Dons doubled their lead, with Banton getting his second assist of the game. Great work out wide by him again saw him get past the full back, and he picked out the run of Alli, who finished the ball with aplomb into the top corner to make it 2-0.
With the Dons having an extra man against League Two opposition, they were able to stroke the ball around fairly comfortably, and just after the hour mark the Dons skipper played a lovely ball through for Reeves. His shot was deflected into the path of Bamford, who was unable to turn the ball home when sliding at the back post.
Soon after Alan Smith came close to diverting Green’s cross goalwards but the ball was a touch too quick for him in the six yard box.
When the substitutions began in the 64th minute for both teams there was a bit of a lull in play, but Blyth shot only just wide after showing good battling qualities to get himself to a shooting position on the edge of the box.
George Baldock almost created an instant impression when he delivered a dangerous ball into the box after he got past his man having just been brought on, but Lee Collins positioned himself well to clear the danger.
The Dons were well on top though and were happy to see the tie out.
Banton terrorised the Cobblers’ backline, and a rasping 25-yard effort from him was very well saved as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
Matty Harriott tried twisting and turning to find some room on the edge of the box for the visitors though, and when he eventually unleashed his shot, he was leaning back too much and the effort went high and wide.
Baldock was only just offside when played through, while Bamford ran into the ball in another through-ball deep into stoppage time, but that was the last of the action as the MK Dons cantered into round two of the Johnstone’s Paint trophy, making amends for their first round defeat at the hands of Northampton Town last season.
Ian McLoughlin, Jon Otsemobor, Dean Lewington (c), Shaun Williams (Brendan Galloway 83), Alan Smith, Ben Reeves, Dele Alli (Luke Chadwick 70), Patrick Bamford, Jason Banton, Danny Green (George Baldock 78), Antony Kay
Subs not used: Giorgio Rasulo, Samir Carruthers
Yellow cards: Alli, Williams
Matt Duke, Kevin Amankwaah, Darren Carter, Lee Collins, Ishmel Demontagnac, Chris Hackett (c) (Danny Emerton 64), Ben Tozer, Gary Deegan (Ivan Toney 85), Matt Heath, Jacob Blyth, Matty Harriott (Hooper 89)
Subs not used: Dean Snedker, Clive Platt
Yellow cards: Tozer, Toney
Red cards: Demontagnac
Attendance: 4,299 (861 away)
Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire)
Assistant referees: Matt Foley, Oleksandr Saliy
Fourth official: Neil Hair