Colchester’s fans were in good spirit before their encounter on Saturday, and hopes were high as in form MK Dons visited the Weston Homes Community Stadium. There were two changes to the squad that last faced Crewe, with Tom Eastman being given his home debut in place of the suspended Magnus Okuonghae, and recent addition to the squad Casey Thomas sat on the bench in favour of Anthony Wordsworth. Captain Kem Izzet was riding the bench once again.

The game started off well for the home side as they dominated possession and opportunities on goal in the early part of the game, but the hosts couldn’t convert and saw a number of chances go to waste. The deadlock was broken after 23 minutes however, as Lloyd James’ saw his cross guided into the far corner of the net with a deft head from Matt Heath.

After having a strong command of the game in the first 35 minutes nevertheless, John Ward’s side saw their grip on the game loosen when the visitors equalised in the 37th minute. Charlie MacDonald converted an easy tap in from Daniel Powell’s pass across the goalmouth and in a strong period of play, Tom Flanagan then put the Dons on top going into the half, with another easy goal scored close to the end of added time.

The U’s came out flat once again the second half, looking complacent and uncoordinated both in defence and in attack. Despite this, the home side went close a few times, the best opportunity coming when Andy Bond beat the offside trap, only to blast the ball high over the bar in a 1-on-1 with the keeper.

The last 15 minutes of the game were the most damaging for the home side. MacDonald popped up again and knocked in the visitors third after some shoddy defending left him an open net in the 74th minute, then Stephen Gleeson’s curling shot from the edge of the box made it 4-1 in the 87th minute, and the rout was completed when Jabbo Ibehre tapped in yet another easy goal for MK Dons deep into injury time, wrapping up a 5-1 victory for Karl Robinson’s side.

Post-game, John Ward admitted the result was ‘tough to take’. Speaking of how the team should go forward from here, Ward said that it was now a question of ‘professionalism’ and ‘taking it on the chin’. Indeed, whilst there is no doubt there is reason to be disappointed with the result, the U’s will need to learn from this and move on quickly if they are to rebound next week when they visit Carlisle.

Colchester now sit 14th in the League 1 table with 23 points from 18 games.

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