Five in a row for Dons as they eventually overcome Macclesfield Town
MK Dons overturned an awful first half performance to see off relegation scrappers Macclesfield Town 3-1 at Moss Rose on Saturday to make it five wins in a row and climb back into the automatic promotion spots.
A much-changed Silkmen took the lead on 19 minutes through Nathan Cameron as Dons looked at odds throughout the opening half. But havign scored a hat-trick in midweek for the U23s, David Wheeler's flicked header found the net just before the break to equalise.
A change at the break, switching to a three-man defence made all the difference in the second period as Dons simply over-powered the side sitting in 23rd, creating chances aplenty, Callum Brittain and Kieran Agard wrapped up the game for the visitors as they made it five wins in a row.
After winning four in a row, Paul Tisdale kept his changes to a minimum from last week's 1-0 win over Crawley Town, with David Wheeler coming in to replace Jake Hesketh, who dropped to the bench.
Macclesfield Town boss Sol Campbell meanwhile made nine changes to his side as they desperately sought a way out of the relegation zone.
With barely a handful of appearances from the team fielded, Macclesfield rode an early storm from the visitors to take something of a surprise lead on 19 minutes. A free kick to the far post was headed back across into the danger area, and with the Dons defence completely switching off, Nathan Cameron was on hand to poke home the opener.
Until that point, Dons had looked the more dangerous, with Alex Gilbey and David Wheeler both getting efforts in on goal, without testing keeper Kieran O'Hara.
After falling behind, Dons were distinctly second best, and were far from the side which had picked up four consecutive wins. Macclesfield meanwhile were playing with the wind in their sails, causing real problems for Russell Martin and Joe Walsh in defence. And the home side could have gone in further ahead, butt saw James Pearson's cross clip the bar before Elliott Durrell found space at the far post only to be denied by a good Stuart Moore save.
Despite their appalling performance though, Dons would go in at half time level. Conor McGrandles was just about beaten to the ball to win a corner, which he then took, picking out Wheeler at the near post, who continued his goal-scoring prowess, having netted a hat-trick for the U23s in the week, flicking a header into the net four minutes before half time.
A tactical change at the break saw Cisse withdrawn for Jordan Houghton as Dons reverted to playing three at the back. And the change almost immediately paid off when Aneke found Agard in behind, but somehow the striker fired wide of the mark with just the keeper to beat.
The rejuvenated Dons then took the lead just eight minutes into the second half when, after McGrandles' cross was punched into the path of defender Callum Brittain, who fired home from the edge of the box.
From there, Dons were firmly on top. Kieran Agard missed two great chances but struggled to beat O'Hara, before Wheeler had three gilt-edged opportunities to wrap the game up in just two minutes, each time forcing a better save from the Macclesfield stopper than the last.
The keeper though could not keep hold of Jake Hesketh's strike with 11 minutes to go, palming it into the path of Agard who looped home his 18th of the season to put the game to bed with what was probably his hardest chance of the day.
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 2,017 (399)
Macclesfield Town: O'Hara, Durrell, Lloyd, Stephens, Evans, Pearson, Cameron, Demetriou, Jules, Biabi (Smith 58), Martis (Cole 64)
Subs not used: Kelleher, Welch-Hayes, Vincenti, Idem, Cole, Mullings
MK Dons: Moore, Lewington, Martin, Walsh, Brittain, McGrandles, Gilbey, Cisse, Wheeler, Agard, Aneke (Hesketh 71)
Subs not used: Nicholls, Watson, Hesketh, Simpson, Houghton, Harley, Walker
Booked: Aneke, Hesketh