Sunderland progressed to the semi-finals of the Papa John’s trophy with a 3-0 with another trip to Wembley on the horizon.
The lads made a great start to the game as Diamond forced an own goal by Dean Lewington. Despite dominating the possession MK Dons couldn’t make it count and were punished by two late goals by Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke.
Sunderland were looking to make it a third trip to Wembley in the space of three years with another good run in the cup and make it into the semi-finals.
Lee Johnson made four changes for the Papa John’s EFL Trophy quarter-final: Remi Matthews, Luke O’Nien and a debut for new signing Jordan Jones who came in for Lee Burge, Grant Leadbitter, Wyke and McGeady.
Sunderland started the game well and created the first chance of the match - Jack Diamond was slipped in down the right and whipped a ball to Lynden Gooch who couldn’t make the contact to beat Lee Nicholls.
The lads made their early pressure count on the break, O’Brien combined well with Gooch and slipped in Diamond on the right, and his cross was turned into his net by Dean Lewington.
With Jones, Diamond and Gooch playing it was a very mobile and quick Sunderland attack, and they made it count with a direct counter-attack.
Sunderland were forced into an early change as Callum McFadzean went down with a groin problem and was replaced by Dan Neil which moved O’Nien to left-back.
The hosts had grown into the game, but the lads looked one good final ball away from hitting them on the break again.
The Dons had their best chance with five minutes to play in the half Joe Mason broke into the box and squared it looking for Scott Fraser, but Luke O’Nien made a vital clearance to deny Fraser from tapping home into an empty net.
Since Sunderland scored, the hosts had grown and grown into it, and despite not testing Matthews they had dominated the possession.
Five minutes into the second half, Mason was played in by Fraser down the left, but the angle was always against him and it was a comfortable save for Matthews.
The home side were getting closer to an equalizer, it was Matthew Sorinola’s time to let fly from range, and his deflected effort whistled past Matthews’ post.
Sunderland made a quadruple change on the hour mark as McGeady, Leadbitter, Wyke and Oliver Younger replaced Jones, Willis, O’Brien and Scowen.
The Dons had their best chance of the game as Fraser started the move and almost finished with a low strike but was denied by an excellent stop from Matthews.
Sunderland doubled the lead with 15 minutes to play, Diamon did well down the left-hand side and his ball in was headed clear to McGeady who fired it past Nicholls who made an awful error as it squeezed past him.
The hosts will have felt aggrieved to be two behind to a team who had only one shot on target, but the lads had taken their chances, with a bit of help from MK Dons.
The lads sealed a place not the semi-final with a goal from Sunderland’s in-form striker - Charlie Wyke. Leadbitter’s whipped in corner was flicked into the far corner by the big man leaving Nicholls with no chance.
Sunderland almost made it 4-0, but McGeady’s goal was waved away for offside following a good break by Diamond.
The hosts had all but given up and Sunderland were looking for a fourth, Diamond with a good run into the box fired an effort towards goal but was denied by a good Nicholls save.
Full Time: MK Dons 0-3 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Luke O’Nien
Sunderland: Matthews; Power, Willis (60’), Flanagan, McFadzean (Neil 12’); Diamond, Scowen (60’), O’Nien, Jones (60’); Gooch, O’Brien (60’).
Subs not used: Patterson & Maguire