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MK Dons 1-5 Crawley Town (Agg 1-8): Danilo Orsi scores twice as ruthless Reds reach League Two play-off final

Crawley blew MK Dons away for the second time in a matter of days as a 5-1 victory at Stadium MK – and an 8-1 win on aggregate – took them to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final.

Scott Lindsey’s side had established a 3-0 first-leg lead in West Sussex on Tuesday – and that was extended to 5-0 within the first half-hour in Buckinghamshire, courtesy of Jay Williams and Danilo Orsi.

Max Dean volleyed in to pull one back for the hosts, but the two-goal cushion on the night was restored by Orsi after slick build-up between Klaidi Lolos and Liam Kelly.

Dean saw a penalty well-saved by Reds goalkeeper Corey Addai, before Jack Roles came off the bench to smash in a fourth, shortly after he had crashed a shot off the left-hand post.

Orsi then turned in a Ronan Darcy cross in second-half stoppage time to complete his hat-trick and round off a thoroughly one-sided affair.

Crawley will face Crewe at Wembley on Sunday May 19 – live on Sky Sports Football – with a place in Sky Bet League One at stake.

How Crawley ripped MK Dons to shreds

Only once has a deficit of three goals or more been successfully overturned in play-off history – when Sheffield Wednesday beat Peterborough last season – so MK Dons boss Mike Williamson called for “relentless” attacking from his players to turn the game in their favour.

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Crawley take an early lead as Jay Williams storms forward from midfield and squeezes his shot into the back of the net

Three minutes in, the difficulty of their task was cranked up a notch when Williams stormed forward from midfield, pinched the ball from Alex Gilbey and squeezed a shot into the bottom left corner under pressure.

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Milton Keynes Dons’ Max Dean somehow avoids a red card after stamping on Jay Williams

MK enjoyed spells of possession after that, but they were passive with it and so it came as little surprise when Crawley – who looked like the home side – established a 5-0 aggregate lead with Orsi taking advantage of Dan Harvie’s misjudging of a bounce and firing in his 22nd goal in all competitions this season.

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Crawley look Wembley bound as Danilo Orsi fires them into a commanding two goal lead!

In first-half stoppage-time, Dean volleyed in to halve the deficit on the night after a lapse in concentration at the back, though there were question marks over whether he should have even been still on the pitch after appearing to stamp on Williams earlier in the half.

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Danilo Orsi taps home his second of the night to send Crawley into dreamland!

Two minutes into the second half, Crawley had restored their two-goal cushion on the night in style, with Klaidi Lolos threading the ball to Liam Kelly, who squared for Orsi to nonchalantly roll in his second of the night. The shouts of ‘ole’ could be heard from the away section by this point.

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Jack Roles smashes home Crawley’s fourth of the night and seventh of the tie!

MK then won a penalty when Kelly was adjudged to have handled Ellis Harrison’s cross, but Dean was unable to beat Corey Addai, who dived to his right to bat the spot-kick away.

As the hosts’ energy began to wane, Roles tried to catch them out with an early shot that hit the post after the slightest of touches from goalkeeper Filip Marschall, but he did manage to put one away shortly afterwards, taking charge after Orsi had held the ball up.

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Danilo Orsi completes his hat-trick as Crawley score their fifth goal of the night and humiliate MK Dons

And it got even better for the ruthless Reds, as Orsi bundled in to complete his treble on an incredibly memorable night.

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Crawley’s Danilo Orsi and Liam Kelly react to their stunning 8-1 aggregate victory over Milton Keynes Dons to reach the League Two play-off final

Williamson: MK Dons ran out of steam

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MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson believes his side ran out of steam after a hard season over the two play-off semi final ties against Crawley. 

MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson told Sky Sports:

“We just ran out of steam in terms of the season, the night. I feel for the boys in there because it’s a real, real tough one to take. I’ve had some tough days in football and I think this is up there with the hardest time and defeat.

“Those boys have given everything; I don’t look at it on a one-off occasion, I look at it over the course since we’ve come in and they’ve run their socks off. Even today when we lost our composure and our shape, they still carried on running. For me, that’s going to take them a long way.

“What I know about football is when you’re hurting, you have to react to it and that is just getting your head down and working hard.

“I need to say congratulations to them. I thought they were excellent over both legs. For us, it was another night of what could go wrong did go wrong. The early goal was hard to take, but the boys didn’t change the way they wanted to play in the first half and until we got to the last 20 minutes, it opened up completely and I felt it got away from us.”

Lindsey: My boys were outstanding tonight

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Crawley manager Scott Lindsey praises his side after their ‘outstanding’ 5-1 victory over MK Dons to reach the League Two play-off final.

Crawley manager Scott Lindsey told Sky Sports:

“I’m really proud. We came into this game really humble and really respectful that we had another task in the shape of MK Dons – who are a very good side. Even though we were 3-0 in front at half time, as it were, we felt we still had a lot to do, so we kept our feet firmly on the ground coming into the game.

“My boys didn’t half perform well tonight – I thought we were outstanding. We scored some great goals, we were aggressive in the press and aggressive with the ball.

“As a manager, you know how football can be – it’s got a nasty habit of kicking you where it hurts, so you never really relax until the final whistle, if I’m honest with you. But I actually enjoyed certainly the last 20 minutes where we were brilliant with the ball. We picked them off, made them run and it was clear to see they got frustrated with that.

“We’ll recover tomorrow and we’ll be back in on Monday and getting to work. We’ll watch Crewe at length and in detail, start putting a gameplan together in the early part of the week and nothing will change with our preparation. We’re really looking forward to it.”

What’s next?

Crawley advance to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final, where they will face Crewe at Wembley on Sunday May 19, live on Sky Sports Football.

MK Dons will remain in the fourth tier for the 2024/25 campaign.

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