Gilbey inspires Dons to brilliant win over league leaders Mansfield

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League Two: Mansfield Town 1-2 MK Dons

A brilliant MK Dons responded to derby defeat in style with a 2-1 win over League Two leaders Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium on Tuesday night.

Keeper Michael Kelly denied Lucas Akins from the penalty spot after 15 minutes but Stephen Quinn fired in the rebound to give the hosts the lead, but the excellent Alex Gilbey fired in from range five minutes later.

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Having missed a sitter late in the first-half, Matt Dennis scored a fine goal nine minutes after the restart to give Dons the lead, and it was nothing short of what they deserved, handing down Mansfield's second home defeat of the season to move within two points of the top three.

Injury to Stephen Wearne meant he missed out on the game against the League Two leaders, meaning Matt Dennis was handed his first league start since October 7 and the 2-1 defeat at Gillingham. MJ Williams also returned to the starting line-up in place of Cameron Norman.

Three former MK Dons players lined up for Mansfield, in the form of Jordan Bowery, Baily Cargill and Stephen Quinn, while two more - Hiram Boateng and George Williams - were amongst the substitutes for the Stags.

Both sides have been credited with playing attractive football to get them where they are in the standings, and from the off, the game looked every bit a great advert for it. Dons started brightly, with Alex Gilbey spearheading the forward play as he came up against the giant Aden Flint in the Mansfield defence. But showing the former Cardiff City defender a clean set of heels, his ball to Matt Dennis got suck under the striker's feet.

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Despite being free scoring in their last two home games, Mansfield did not cause Dons much of a threat in the opening quarter of an hour until MJ Williams was adjudged to have handled Quinn's cross to give the Stags a penalty. Michael Kelly was desperately unlucky after saving the spot kick from Lucas Akins, and then clawing the follow-up away too, but Quinn followed in to tap in from a couple of yards.

The lead though would last just five minutes as Gilbey would fire in his ninth goal of the seson, and what a peach it was too. Picking up a rebound in midfield, Gilbey took it on to the edge of the box before unleashing an unstoppable effort past Christy Pym.

The home side though would be determined to restore their lead, and penned Dons in. Flint had a couple of headers which Kelly marshalled well, while Cargill too headed over.

At the other end, Dennis should have sent Dons in ahead at the break when he got on the end of Dan Kemp's cross, but headed well wide from inside six yards.

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That chance though would be more than made up for nine minutes into the second-half when the striker burst forwards, squared up Flint before bending the ball into the far corner past Pym's dive.

Man for man, Dons just looked to have the edge over the opponents, who had only lost twice at home all season. Chances continued to come Dons' way, with Lofthouse and Tomlinson both firing over as they looked to further the lead.

As the game ran towards time, Mansfield inevitably went longer and but for some do-or-die defending would have drawn level when a corner bobbled around in the box, though Tomlinson put in a brave block to deny Stags substitute Boateng.

Dons though had a chance to put a bow on the victory in the last minute when Gilbey forced a save from Pym, with the win moving them within two points of the automatic promotion places.

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 7,414 (370)

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Mansfield Town: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Brunt, Cargill (McLaughlin 61), Reed, Lewis (Nichols 61), Quinn (Boateng 70 ), Keillor-Dunn, Akins (Maris 70), Swan (Clarke 61)

Subs not used: Flinders, Williams

MK Dons: Kelly, O'Hora, Harvie, Williams (Norman 83), Tomlinson, Lofthouse, Payne (Robson 83), Bate, Gilbey, Kemp (Tezgel 61), Dennis (Harrison 61)

Subs not used: Harness, Lewington, Tripp

Booked: Cargill, Dennis

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