MK Dons climb out of relegation zone after 3-0 victory over Bristol Rovers

    Image Credit: Milton Keynes Dons Football Club

    MK Dons have climbed out of the League One relegation zone after registering a truly convincing 3-0 home victory against Bristol Rovers.

    Russell Martin's men have leapfrogged Tranmere Rovers, who lost 4-1 to Coventry, though the Birkenhead club have a game in hand that could see them pull level on points with the Dons with a win.

    The visitors, already missing around eight first-team players for this away fixture, were left devastated after veteran goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola was forced off with a shoulder injury, seeing him replaced by 23-year-old Dutchman Jordi van Stappershoef after just 12 minutes of play.

    Four minutes later and the Dons were a goal up thanks to Rhys Healey, who now has three goals in three matches since his recent return from injury.

    A David Kasumu cross from the left side found Healey inside the Rovers penalty area, with the former Cardiff City man turning away from two defenders before slotting the ball beyond van Stappershoef for his fifth goal of the season.

    From then on, the Dons took control of the game and had the majority of chances, registering 19 shots on goal compared to Rovers' seven by the end of the 90.

    Despite their strong efforts, the Dons entered the half-time break just one goal ahead, but the second half saw Martin's side take full control.

    Sam Nombe, making his first start alongside Healey since a 2-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon in September, scored a great solo goal to help extend the Dons' lead to 2-0.

    Nombe intercepted a pass from former Don Ed Upson, chasing the ball down and running it into the box before seeing his initial effort saved by the Rovers goalkeeper. Van Stappershoef was unable to hold onto the shot, however, and Nombe managed to tap home his second league goal of the season at the one-hour mark.

    The Dons put the game to bed after 84 minutes thanks to Kieran Agard, who picked up a great forward pass from Jordan Houghton while running at goal. Agard slotted the ball home with his left foot to see the Dons extend their lead to three and claim all three points - their first of the new year and the new decade.

    With 11 points out of a possible 18 in their last six matches, the Dons will now be keen to kick on and continue their run of improved form, with their next league game coming away to Coventry City on Saturday 11th January, with an EFL Trophy 3rd Round tie against Newport County coming next Tuesday (7th January).

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