Dons overcome early scare to beat Salford City and climb a spot

League Two: MK Dons 3-1 Salford City

MK Dons had to come from behind to see off Salford City but did so in comfortable fashion as they were 3-1 winners at Stadium MK on Saturday.

Distinctly second-best to Karl Robinson's Ammies in the opening 25 minutes, Dons trailed to Matt Smith's 24th goal of the season when he squeezed home from a tight angle after 12.

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But Kyran Lofthouse's first goal for the club got the hosts level on 27 minutes, before Alex Gilbey, excellent again, netted his 10th with a brilliant chip four minutes later saw them take the lead. An own goal in the seventh minute of time added on at the end of the first-half, courtesy of Smith, put the game beyond reach of the visitors.

The result moves Dons into fourth spot, two points from the automatic fight.

Dan Kemp was dropped to the bench for the visit of Salford City as Emre Tezgel was handed his second start since arriving on loan from Stoke City. Stephen Wearne, who missed Tuesday's win over Mansfield Town after picking up a knock against AFC Wimbledon, returned to the bench as Matt Dennis held his spot after scoring the winner at the One Call Stadium.

After the brilliant performance to beat leaders Mansfield, Dons showed none of that same control in the opening 27 minutes of the game and deservedly trailed when Matt Smith managed to squeeze Salford in front after 12 minutes. It was nothing short of what the Ammies deserved too, smothering Dons' midfield duo of Jack Payne and Lewis Bate from orchestrating for the hosts.

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Barely threatening in the opening stages, Dons were significantly second-best until they equalised through Kyran Lofthouse's first goal for the club, converting from the edge of the box after starting a move with Alex Gilbey on half-way.

The Dons skipper has hit form at the right time for Mike Williamson's side, and within four minutes had fired in his 10th of the season with a delightful chip over keeper Alex Cairns.

Suddenly in charge of the game, Dons piled forwards and came close through Matt Dennis, who was proving a real handful for the Salford defence. Tezgel, making his first start since the disappointing night in Bradford last month, nearly opened his scoring account on the stroke of half-time when he forced Cairns to tip his header around the post. The corner would lead to Dons' third though, when Tezgel headed towards goal, but it took a wicked deflection off the Ammies top-scorer and into his own net to send the hosts in 3-1 up at the break.

It made for a pretty routine second-half for Williamnson's side. Efficient in their play, Dons offered up preciously little to Salford to cause trouble with, while seldom exerting themselves to chase a fourth to really put the icing on the cake.

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Williamson was able to bring off the likes of Gilbey, Payne and Bate in the latter stages ahead of Tuesday trip to Grimsby, with the points safely on the board .

Referee: Dean Whitehouse

Attendance: 6,544 (187)

MK Dons: Kelly, O'Hora, Harvie, Williams, Tomlinson, Lofthouse, Payne (Robson 81), Bate (Norman 89), Gilbey (Wearne 62), Tezgel (Kemp 62), Dennis (Harrison 62)

Subs not used: Harness, Lewington

Salford City: Cairns, Watt (Morton 77), Watson (Lund 58), McLennan (Hendry 58), Tilt, Smith, McAleny, Chesters, Garbutt, Vassell, Luamba (Malcolm 86)

Subs not used: Torrance, Mariappa, Humbles

Booked: McLennan, Williamson, Smith, Tilt, Harrison, Bate, Lund

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