Dons picked up their first win over fierce rivals Peterborough for four years as they ran riot at stadium:mk on Saturday, winning 3-0.
All the hard work was done in the first half as Posh looked like a team in tatters, while Dons never got out of second gear.
Will Grigg swept home the opener after just four minutes, and although Erhun Oztumer hit the bar, Ben Reeves’ brace made it 3-0 before the break.
Although there was more bite about the visitors in the second period, the game was done and dusted, with Dons happy to absorb their pressure, though in truth Ian McLoughlin had little to trouble him.
With Bristol City’s 3-2 defeat at Colchester, Dons moved within two points of top spot.
After being kicked out of the game by some rough-house tactics from Colchester, Dele Alli missed out of the derby with Peterborough. He was replaced in the centre of the park by Samir Carruthers, while George Williams missed out on his first start at stadium:mk, replaced in midfield by the returning Ben Reeves. Ian McLoughlin remained in goal with David Martin out injured.
Karl Robinson’s side haven’t beaten Peterborough since the play-off semi final first leg at stadium:mk back in 2011, and they were given a huge boost after just four minutes. Daniel Powell raced on to Carl Baker’s flick over the defence, and easily beating Michael Smith at full back, pulled the ball back for an unmarked Will Grigg in the centre to give Dons an early lead.
It was a fairly even spread though, despite Dons’ advantage. The home side looked dangerous on the counter as Peterborough shaded the possession stats, but barely threatened in the opening 20 minutes.
But they could have been level in the 24th minute when the dangerous Erhun Oztumer turned Carl Baker on the edge of the box to unleash a fierce left footed strike which had Ian McLoughlin, but not the woodwork, fully beaten.
After sustaining a period of pressure, Dons turned up the wick as the sides approached the half. And they should have gone two goals up when, in an almost carbon copy of the goal, albeit on the opposite flank, Reeves pulled the ball back to Powell, but his swing and miss was quickly forgotten as barely a minute later, Dons were two up.
Alnwick needed to be smart to keep out Grigg’s effort, but it earned the home side a corner. And catching the Posh defence napping, Reeves played it short to Baker, who fed it back to him to drive in through a crowd of players, beating the hapless Alnwick unawares.
The away end filled with boos when Darren Ferguson made a double substitution 10 minutes before half time, bringing off the threatening Oztumer, replacing him with Marcus Maddison.
Dons had their opponents toiling in the run up to half time, with Powell at his unpredictable best cutting inside and then out before hitting the side netting.
But the game was effectively killed off on the stroke of half time as Reeves again beat Alnwick. Baker nipped in ahead of Kgosi Ntlhe to send the ball wide to Reeves, and despite being fouled, play went on. Reeves took it down the right before cutting in onto his left foot and unleashing an unstoppable effort from the corner of the box again to make it 3-0 at the interval.
Peterborough seemed to have found their feet again in the second half, though their shooting boots were seemingly left in the dressing rooms. Maddison was proving to be their main outlet, just as Oztumer was before him, but twice he found himself in great positions on front of goal, and twice he squandered the chances.
In midfield, Dons found themselves out-numbered and weren’t able to attack as freely as they were in the opening 45 minutes. Samir Carruthers, who had an excellent game in the centre, was called into action to head the ball off the line as Peterborough desperately looked for a lifeline back into the tie.
But as the clock ticked down, and substitute George Williams was introduced to the action at the expense of Reeves, Dons began to edge their way back into proceedings. He gave Dons a lively spark in the attacking third again, and even saw one cleared off the line as the home side looked to put a cherry on top.
The cherry came in the form of other results though, as both Swindon and Bristol City failed to pick up points, leaving Dons second in the table.
Referee: Dean Whitestone
MK Dons: McLoughlin, Spence, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Potter, Carruthers (Andrews 78), Powell (Cole 85), Reeves (Williams 68), Baker, Grigg
Subs not used: Burns, Hodson, Green, Hitchcock
Peterborough United: Alnwick, Smith (Brisley 35), Ntlhe, Bostwick, Burgess, Payne, Beautyman, Oztumer (Maddison 35), Norris (Washington 55), Taylor, James
Subs not used: Henry, Zakuani, McLean, Anderson
Booked: Andrews, Lewington