Dons’ turbulent start to the season settled on Saturday as Karl Robinson’s men made light work of Carlisle at stadium:mk.
After a dramatic opening three games to the League 1 campaign, a return to winning ways was just what the doctor ordered, even if the manager wasn’t entirely happy at the full-time whistle.
Still without suspended Alan Smith and Dean Lewington, Robinson named Antony Kay on the bench after his three match ban alongside fellow new recruit Jimmy Bullard.
But it was the familiar faces who played a part in creating the opening goal after 12 minutes as Daniel Powell rolled the ball to Luke Chadwick on the edge of the area to volley in past the full-stretch Adam Collin in Carlisle’s goal.
Ryan Lowe, Dean Bowditch and captain Stephen Gleeson forced the keeper to make fine saves within minutes of Dons’ opener, but they couldn’t find a way past him.
At the other end, David Martin was having another quiet afternoon largely thanks to his defence, who were once again making it difficult to find a way through.
Unusually, Dons made a slow start to the second half. Robinson later claimed it was down to over-confidence, but Carlisle began to build and had Dons with their backs to the wall for the first 20 minutes of the half.
But a brilliant counter-attack saw Dons double their lead. Darren Potter started the move with an all-or-nothing tackle in his own box, and set Gleeson free down the centre and he raced over the half way line. Slipping the ball to Lowe, the striker then unleashed Powell in the box who fired in a shot on goal which Collins did well to keep out.
But he could do nothing about Lowe following up as he put the ball into the back of the net for his first goal in Dons colours and taking the score to 2-0.
After that, the home side looked in total control. Bullard’s introduction gave them a new edge, with utter dominance in midfield as the five passed among each other with ease, making the visitors chase the ball for most of the final 15 minutes.
The final whistle will have come as more of a relief for Carlisle than Dons, who could easily have won by a considerable distance.
But Karl Robinson wasn’t entirely happy with his side’s performance, especially at the start of the second half.
“I felt we looked so comfortable in the first half,” said Robinson. “Maybe they thought we didn’t have to turn up in the second. If you give Carlisle a chance, you’ll end up on the wrong end of the result like we saw last year.
“We felt we started brightly, but our play deserved more than we got. But we’ve seen many a time at stadium:mk when we’ve been dominant and not got the second goal and the opposition have nicked one.
“It’s nice to see Ryan Lowe score, but we want to see Charlie MacDonald score as well because of his work rate. There’s a really healthy relationship between them, and a real togetherness between them. I think they realise they have to have that to keep pushing each other and keep each others standards high.”