Dons edge seven-goal thriller against Northampton Town

MK Dons 4-3 Northampton Town

A quite remarkable seven-goal thriller unfolded at Stadium MK on Saturday as Dons edged out Northampton Town, despite trailing after just 79 seconds.

Fraser Horsfall volleyed home Mark Marshall's free-kick in the second minute of the game to give Northampton the lead before Andrew Surman and Will Grigg gave the lacklustre Dons the advantage heading in at the break.

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Northampton were level within a minute of the restart though as substitute Ryan Watson made an immediate impact with a stunning strike as Dons struggled to get into their stride during the second period. The visitors thought they had done enough to secure their first win under caretaker boss Jon Brady.

But substitutes Cameron Jerome and Charlie Brown both found the net in the closing stages to ensure Dons' third win in a row, lifting them into the top half of the table.

Following the excellent 1-0 win over Hull last Saturday, Russell Martin opted to name an unchanged side to take on Northampton, who similarly named the same team which started against Ipswich in their 0-0 draw on Tuesday night.

Cameron Jerome had overcome the illness which ruled him out of the win at the KCOM Stadium, but he returned on the bench in place of John Freeman.

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But they couldn't have made a worse start as after just 79 seconds, Fraser Horsfall was left completely unmarked at the far post to brilliantly steer Mark Marshall's free kick past Andrew Fisher to give Northampton the lead.

Dons have usually reacted well to going a goal behind but for 15 minutes or so, looked at sea. Passing was loose particularly around the back three, and it could have been disastrous when Sam Hoskins picked up a loose pass in midfield and with Fisher well out of his goal, rolled his effort just wide of the empty net.

But Dons began to find their feet and were level on 13 minutes when Andrew Surman smashed home a spectacular volley from the edge of the box after Matt O'Riley's free kick was only half cleared.

From there the home side looked better, albeit far from their best, and they were left off the hook when Marshall struck the post and Hoskins was deemed offside.

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Scott Fraser and Ethan Laird were seeing a lot of the ball in dangerous positions but it would be a popular goal to see Dons take the lead on 34 minutes.

A loose pass in the Northampton midfield was intercepted, and Joe Mason slid the ball towards Will Grigg who cut inside onto his right foot and bent it brilliant around Jonathan Mitchell's dive for his first Dons goal since May 2015.

Fraser had two great efforts before the break but the game was finely poised heading into the second period.

Substitute Ryan Watson needed no introduction to Dons fans, but made an immediate impact after coming on at the break as he smashed home Northampton's equaliser barely a minute into the second half, and it set the tone for the home side for the rest of the half.

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Certainly not firing on all cylinders, Dons were off-colour, poor on the ball and the Northampton chances were often of Dons' creation. They hit the post when Ryan Edmondson pounced on a loose Fisher pass, but they were good value for the lead when, 12 minutes from time Peter Kioso - a former Dons academy product - headed Northampton back in front.

But Cameron Jerome smashed home a Ben Gladwin pass four minutes later to draw Dons level before Charlie Brown showed a real poachers instinct to poke home Daniel Harvie's cross to secure the points for Dons, lifting them into the top half for the first time this season.

Referee: Samuel Barrott

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O'Hora, Darling, Jules (Sorinola 78), Laird (Harbie 78), Surman, O'Riley (Gladwin 65), Fraser, Mason (Jerome 65), Grigg (Brown 78)

Subs not used: Nicholls, Sorensen,

Northampton Town: Mitchell, Sowerby (Watson 46), Horsfall, Hoskins (Sheeham 90), Kioso, McWilliams (Miller 69), Moris, Mills, Jones, Rose (Edmundson 46), Marshall (Chukwuemka 90)

Subs not used: Arnold, Bolger, Miller