Cambridge United got off to a dreadful start for 2019, falling to a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Sky Bet League Two high flyers MK Dons on New Year’s Day.
George Maris returned from injury to move back into the starting eleven as Colin Calderwood’s only change from the clash with table toppers Lincoln City.
United had the worst possible start shortly before five minutes when Rhys Healey peeled off his marker to power a header from six yards out beyond David Forde.
Three minutes later the ball was in United’s net again, when Kieran Agard ran across the front post and nodded it into the far corner.
And a nightmare opening to the year continued for Colin Calderwood’s men, as Chuks Aneke proved to be the most alert inside the U’s area on 11 minutes, with the striker pouncing on a loose ball and slamming in MK Dons third goal.
The U’s actually had the better of the remainder of the half after that point, but failed to convert any chances at the other end.
George Maris forced Lee Nicholls to catch in the centre of his goal midway through the half, before Jabo Ibehre carried United forward on the counter attack but drilled an effort over the top from the edge of the area moments later.
Liam O’Neil went close too with a dipping shot that looked to have the beating of Nicholls but clipped the top of the MK Dons net. A quick one, two pass combination between Lambe and Ibehre opened up United’s best opportunity inside the area for the latter, but his shot was closed down hastily by Nicholls on the half hour mark.
The striker also headed against the post a minute before the break from Jevani Brown’s precise cross, however it stayed out and the U’s went down the tunnel with an almighty deficit to overcome in the second half.
Colin Calderwood made a triple substitution when the teams re-emerged as Osadebe, Dunk and Azeez took to the field in place of Lambe, Brown and Ibehre.
Azeez was quickly into the action and was denied with a goal line clearance a minute into the second half and just moments after Harry Darling had headed against the post.
The hosts continued to threaten though and struck the woodwork themselves when Conor McGrandles ended his overlapping run with a vicious strike which clipped the underside of Forde’s cross bar.
Paul Lewis whipped an excellent delivery towards Harrison Dunk on the hour mark and the winger made clean contact with a header but Nicholls was equal to it, saving out to his left.
As United pushed forward looking for any glimpse of a route back into the encounter, Rhys Healey grabbed his second of the game midway through the half on the counter attack, cleverly shifting the ball past Greg Taylor before shooting low into the net to make it four.
From there, the hosts continued to increase the disappointment for the U’s. Kieran Agard was fouled by Jake Carroll inside the U’s area with 15 minute to play, and picked himself up to fire in a fifth for the hosts from the penalty spot.
And substitute Sub Osman Sow rounded off a miserable afternoon for United, as he had the simplest of finishes five minutes from time to complete a six nil score line.
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington, Baudry, Gilbey (D’Ath, 79 mins), Aneke (Sow, 64 mins), Agard, McGrandles, Houghton (Watson, 77 mins), Cargill, Healey
Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Taylor, Darling, Carroll, Lewis, O’Neil, Maris, Lambe, Brown, Ibehre
Bookings: O’Neil, Halliday
Attendance: 8,128 (1,048)