Healey's stoppage time penalty sees Dons beat Rochdale
Rhys Healey won and scored a stoppage time penalty as Dons came form behind to beat Rochdale 2-1 at Stadium MK.
After a dank first half, Dons found themselves trailing after 17 minutes to a Eoghan O'Connell header as they were booed off the field.
But introducing Sam Nombe at the break changed the complexion of the game for the hosts and they were level within four minutes when Carlton Morris headed home Jordan Houghton's corner.
Healey had missed a sitter just minutes before he was downed in the second minute of stoppage time, converting his own penalty to secure the win for Dons at the death.
They remain 20th in the table, but now six points clear of the relegation zone and level on points with AFC Wimbledon in 19th.
Jordan Moore-Taylor returned to the side after nearly three months as Russell Martin made three changes to the team. Alex Gilbey shook off the injury which ruled him out against Sunderland and Louis Thompson made his first start for Dons as Joe Walsh, Joe Mason and Conor MxGrandles – the latter of the two missed out through injury.
With plenty at stake at the wrong end of the table, Dons found themselves trailing after 17 minutes when Eoghan O'Connell headed Rhys Norrington-Davies' corner past Lee Nicholls.
Until that stage, Dons had looked in control of the game, but looked susceptible to quick counters as they played with a high line. Twice, prior to taking the lead, Tyler Smith was narrowly adjudged offside as he looked to break in behind the defensive line.
Despite having more of the ball than the visitors, Dons struggled to carve anything meaningful in the opening period, much to the ire of the home fans, who grew ever-more disgruntled at the perceived lack of urgency despite trailing. Their best chance fell to Callum Brittain, whose shot was gathered at the second attempt by Dale keeper Jay Lynch.
Sam Nombe replaced David Kasumu at the break as Dons threw three men up front, and it paid almost immediate dividends as within four minutes the home side were level. Dons have been pitiful from corners recently, but Carlton Morris rose highest to nod in Jordan Houghton's set piece.
With Nombe adding a more direct drive to Dons' attack, they looked a lot sharper in the second period. Alex Gilbey twice tested Lynch from range, while Brittain again fizzed one just over the bar as Dons sought the lead.
Their best chance came with just four minutes to go though, when substitute Ben Gladwin showed brilliant quick-feet in the centre of the park to beat two men, then put it on a plate for Healey in behind, but somehow the striker fired wide with just the keeper to beat.
But he made amends for it in stoppage time when, as Dons poured forwards, Healey was upended in the area to win a spot kick. Dusting himself down, Healey sent Lynch the wrong way to secure victory.
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 6,393 (156)
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Moore-Taylor, Williams, Brittain, Gilbey, Thompson (Gladwin 68), Houghton, Kasumu (Nombe 46), Morris, Healey (Walsh 90)
Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Agard, Asgonanyi
Rochdale: Lynch, Norrington-Davies, McNulty (McShane 77), O'Connell, Dooley, MJ Williams, Smith (Wilbraham 59), Keohane, Rathbone, Ryan (Done 70), Henderson
Subs not used: Lillis, McLaughlin, Morely, Matheson
Booked: Kasumu, Thompson, Brittain, Norrington-Davies