Four-goal thriller sees Dons earn a point against Sunderland
MK Dons bounced back from Tuesday night's defeat to earn a fine point against Sunderland at Stadium MK after a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Charlie Wyke rolled Sunderland in front after just five minutes but Joe Mason tapped in three minutes later to pull Dons level. Cameron Jerome made it 2-1 11 minutes later when he converted Matt O'Riley's effort before Mason missed a great chance to make it 3-1.
Sunderland dominated long periods of the second half, and were level 10 minutes after the restart when Luke O'Nien turned home Aidan McGeady's wayward shot, and though there were plenty of chances late on, the spoils were shared.
With a host of players back available for selection after missing out on Tuesday night, Russell Martin could make five changes to his side to get back to strength again. Handing Zak Jules his debut after signing on deadline day from Walsall, the Dons boss also brought back Andrew Fisher, Ethan Laird, Harry Darling and Cameron Jerome.
Sunderland scored twice in the final 15 minutes at Stadium MK four days earlier through Aidan McGeady and Charlie Wyke, and they looked like picking up where they left off after just five minutes when Wyke beat the offside trap to roll the Black Cats in front.
Until then though, Dons had been the better side and did not let it knock them off their stride as they went back on the front foot and were level within three minutes when Joe Mason got the final touch after a scramble in the penalty area.
Jerome had been subject to a bid from the Championship on deadline day and was left out of the side on Tuesday because Martin felt his head wasn't in the right place but the striker showed no signs of it when he poked Dons 2-1 up 11 minutes later, latching onto Matt O'Riley's strike to beat Lee Burge.
Mason should have had his second four minutes later but he could only scuff Ethan Laird's cross harmlessly to the keeper.
Sunderland grew into the game a little as the half wore on, with Wyke, Max Power and Grant Leadbitter all getting into promising positions, but all launched efforts into the stands over Fisher's head.
One blot on the book for Dons before the break saw Louis Thompson, who stood out in defence on Tuesday, limp out injured, replaced by Andrew Surman.
Much like the game at the Stadium of Light earlier this season, Sunderland would dominate the second half. Forcing a series of corners early in the half, they drew level 10 minutes after the restart. McGeady, who fired in Sunderland's second on Tuesday, found himself in a similar position again but this time appeared to drag his shot wide, but Luke O'Nien was on hand to collect, spin and fire past Fisher to equalise.
From there, Sunderland kept Dons in their half for the majority, but the back line of Warren O'Hora, Harry Darling and Dean Lewington in particular stood firm. Fisher twice came to the rescue when Sunderland did find their way through, but there were also sights for Laird and Fraser at the other end as Dons also had chances to retake the lead.
Referee Tom Nield lost control in the latter stages, with both managers showing their frustration at the man in the middle even when free kicks were awarded in their favour, but his decision not to send off O'Nien for a foul on Laird when he had been booked was an especially strange one.
With the spoils about to be shared, McGeady cut back inside Surman the death to potentially nick it for the Black Cats, but Fisher threw himself in front to deny him and earn his side a well-deserved point.
Referee: Tom Nield
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O'Hora, Darling, Jules (Harvie 60), Laird, Thompson (Surman 42), O'Riley, Fraser, Mason (Brown 73), Jerome
Subs not used: Nicholls, Sorensen, Sorinola, Johnson
Sunderland: Burge, Willis, Wright, Power, Wyke, O'Brien (Maguire 84), Gooch (Jones 67), O'Nien (Scowen 78), Leadbitter, McGeady, Vokins (Sanderson 84)
Subs not used: Matthews, Diamond, Neil
Booked: O'Nien, Jerome, Laird, Leadbitter, Surman