MK Dons avoid fightback to claim 3-2 victory over Swindon Town

    Image Credit: Milton Keynes Dons Football Club

    Milton Keynes Dons avoided a late fightback to defeat Swindon Town 3-2 at Stadium MK, earning three points in back-to-back matches.

    The Dons named an unchanged side from the one that beat Bradford 4-1 in midweek, hoping to build some momentum under Mike Williamson.

    Having scored earlier in the week, the Dons attempted to get Joe Tomlinson involved almost immediately will a long ball over the top targeting the wide man. He narrowly missed the ball, which bounced comfortably into Mahoney's arms, but it was a positive start for the home side.

    The visitors began targeting the left side of the Dons' defence, sending Rushian Hepburn-Murphy forward on a number of attacking runs, trying to create problems for Jack Tucker. Tomlinson supported his teammate on one passage of play, putting his body between him and Hepburn-Murphy to see the ball out for a goal kick.

    The Dons forced Mahoney into action after a nice passage of play saw them pick out Alex Gilbey on the right flank, with the captain sending a low ball across the box towards goal, with Tomlinson chasing. The Swindon keeper pounced on the ball in time, however, cutting out the threat.

    Max Dean came close to opening the scoring just shy of the half-hour mark, collecting a ball over the top, controlling it in the air and striking a clean shot towards goal with power. Mahoney managed to get his body in the way of it and kept the score level.

    Dean was involved again, receiving a pass from Gilbey on the edge of the box before turning and curling a shot towards the bottom corner, only to see Mahoney outstretched and palming the ball away to prevent a superb goal.

    George McEachran, brother of former Don Josh, attempted a long-range effort but his shot never threatened Craig MacGillivray, with the ball sailing comfortably over the bar.

    After his previous two attempts were foiled, Dean finally broke the deadlock. Gilbey began the play with a pass to Conor Grant, who slotted a great ball into the box for Dean to run onto. Dean then coolly slotted a shot in the far corner, beating the outstretched Mahoney and giving the Dons a 1-0 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the half.

    The Dons continued to build on their opening goal momentum, with Gilbey forcing Mahoney into making a vital save within the opening five minutes of the restart, winning a corner in the process.

    Mike Williamson's side then tried to create problems in the visitors' box, passing the ball around but unable to get a shot away. Swindon then quickly countered, taking the ball down the other end, but a vital Tucker tackle prevented the danger before Tomlinson was fouled by McEachran halfway through his own area.

    After another counterattack, Swindon pulled themselves level with Jake Young's shot from outside the box beating MacGillivray to the far corner of the net.

    The goal saw the Robins truly come into their own, grow into the game and begin to take control of play as the Dons found themselves firmly on the back foot.

    Against the run of play, the Dons found themselves take the lead once again through an excellent Warren O'Hora goal. Collecting a ball cleared from the Swindon box, O'Hora pressed forward before offloading to Payne, who then slotted the ball back to the defender running into the box.

    O'Hora then lifted the ball calmly over Mahoney and into the far corner, sending the Dons crowd into rapturous applause, giving Williamson's side the lead once again.

    Taking the lead saw the Dons come to life once again, with Gilbey offloading a pass to Payne on the edge of the box, seeing his former Charlton Athletic teammate tackled just as he attempted to strike the ball, ultimately seeing it bobble out for a goal kick.

    The Dons came agonisingly close to taking a two-goal lead when Payne collected a pass and managed to keep hold of possession despite heavy pressure from two Swindon defenders.

    He managed to pick out Gilbey in the centre of the box, but the Dons captain takes one touch too many before seeing his shot saved by Mahoney and bobbling out for a corner.

    The Dons extended their lead with five minutes remaining in regulation courtesy of some smart play by Alex Gilbey. The Dons captain picked up the ball from a Cameron Norman pass inside the box, taking the ball right to the edge before cutting back a pass, hitting a Swindon player and seeing the ball bounced beyond Mahoney and into the back of the net.

    Halfway through added time, Swindon pulled a goal back through a Fraser Blake-Tracy header at the back post from a free kick deep inside the Dons' area.

    The visitors attempted to ruin the Dons' evening, but the home side held on and avoided a fightback from the Robins to claim all three points in back-to-back games for the first time since August, with the 3-2 victory seeing them climb to 12th in the league.

    MK Dons Lineup: MacGillivray, O'Hora, Tucker, Harvie, Norman, Tomlinson, Robson (85' Devoy), Payne (85' Leko), Gilbey, Grant (56' Williams), Dean (85' Eisa)

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