Chris Maguire’s sensational late double saw Coventry City come from behind to beat MK Dons 3-1 at stadium:mk.
Dons edged the first half and went in ahead courtesy of Shaun Williams’ injury time penalty. But Coventry were by far the better side in the second period, but needed a deflected Chris Dagnell effort to get them level. And after an earlier sighter, Maguire two stepped up with free kicks on the edge of the box - his second the pick of the pair - to give City a 3-1 win and all three points.
New signing Dale Jennings went straight into the side after signing on loan from Barnsley on Thursday as Karl Robinson made two changes to his side. Daniel Powell also returned to the starting line-up after missing out on Tuesday night, with Dele Alli and George Baldock dropping to the bench.
The bubbling atmosphere made for an excellent start to the match, as both sides fancied their chances early on. Powell looked eager to impress, and twice found himself with a sight of goal in the opening seven minutes. First, he launched a shot just over the top of Joe Murphy’s crossbar, before being sent through by a brilliant Ben Reeves ball, but Murphy was a match for it, closing the angle and getting a strong leg to the strike and putting it out behind for a corner.
At the other end, Ian McLoughlin remained untested in the opening 25 minutes, but the pace of Callum Wilson was an attribute the visitors were trying to exploit, and he nearly worked an opening for Chris Dagnall, but for the quick thinking of Dean Lewington who got across to clean up.
The best opportunity City had came with a 26th minute free kick on the edge of the area, which skipper Carl Baker fired straight into the wall.
For all the lack of goal-mouth action and clear-cut chances, the battle in midfield was certainly keeping the fans entertained. For the home fans, their first glimpses of Dale Jennings looked promising too as he made a nuisance of himself on the left flank, making City full-back Cyrus Christie’s afternoon all the more difficult as he chased everything down.
Both sides had decent chances towards the end of the half to break the deadlock. First, Wilson’s strike was deflected just beyond McLoughlin’s far post, before Patrick Bamford sent a header over the top after Dean Lewington’s excellent ball in.
But it wasn’t to be deadlock at the break. As the clock ticked over to 45 minutes, the excellent Reeves held the ball up well with his back to goal, but was barged in the back by Dan Seaborne and collapsed to the ground. Referee Jeremy Simpson was right on the scene, and pointed to the spot. Williams made no mistakes in sending Murphy the wrong way, giving Dons the lead at the interval.
McLoughlin, with his back to the wall of noise coming from the City supporters, made a fine stop just five minutes after the restart to keep out John Fleck’s effort, diving acrobatically to his left. Steven Pressley’s men started the half the better of the two sides, but they were helped by Dons doziness, unable to string two passes together.
But for all their possession inside the Dons half, little came of the City pressure. And it needed a slice of luck for the visitors to get level. A seemingly loose ball from Fleck was brought down by Chris Dagnall, whose shot on the turn took a wicked deflection off Dean Lewington to loop up and over McLoughlin to equalise for the visitors.
Dons should have been ahead less than two minutes later though, when Reeves fired in a low ball which Bamford could only get a toe to. But Jennings should have scored with the follow-up, but incredibly watched on as it rolled wide. His debut came to an end with 19 minutes to go, replaced by Dele Alli.
As the clock ran down, Dons looked more than happy to settle for a point. The defence were taking their time on the ball and breaks forward were slow and measured. It didn’t stop McLoughlin from making two excellent saves though as City pressured in the latter part.
But with Dons giving away as many free kicks as they did on the edge of the area, it was only a matter of time before they got one right. Substitute Chris Maguire, who earlier put one over the bar, bent his 86th minute up and over the wall, beating the unlucky McLoughlin to win it for the visitors.
His second, just two minutes later, was even better than the first, sailing into the top corner to double the lead - a harsh scoreline on Dons but one that sees them slip to 12th in League 1.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
MK Dons: McLouglin, Lewington, Hodson, Williams, Spence, Potter, Reeves (Carruthers 88), Gleeson, Powell (Smith 76), Jennings (Alli 72), Bamford
Subs not used: Burns, Flanagan, Baldock, Banton
Coventry City: Murphy, Seaborne, Christie, Fleck, Baker (Maguire 64), Adams, Thomas, Dagnall (Webster 90), Clarke, Wilson, Moussa (Phillips 89)
Subs not used: Burge, Haynes, Garner, Maund
Booked: Gleeson, Wilson