DONS edged past Buckinghamshire rivals Wycombe in a seven-goal spectacular at stadium:mk.
Dean Bowditch scored the opener in the 14th minute as both sides wasted plenty of chances in the first half. But the second period burst into life when first Scott Beavon and then Marcello Trotta put Wycombe 2-1 just after the break. But Dons weren’t to be denied as Bowditch added a second before Jabo Ibehre and Mathias Doumbe put Dons 4-2 ahead. Beavon’s 30-yard rocket in the last minute left for an uncomfortable three minutes of stoppage time for the Dons fans, but it was enough to hold Wycombe at bay to wrap up the win to stay fourth in League 1.
Mathias Doumbe returned to the starting line-up, replacing Adam Smith who fell ill during the week. Dean Bowditch also returned in place Daniel Powell, who befell the same illness which ruled Smith out. Sheffield United’s early 1-0 win over Chesterfield meant they leap-frogged Dons into fourth place come kick off.
Barely had people settled in their seats before on-form striker Charlie MacDonald collected Jabo Ibehre’s neat lay-off inside the penalty area, but his shot was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Wanderers stopper Nikki Bull just 30 seconds in.
A sloppy opening five minutes saw Dons on the front foot more than the back, but a midfield melee allowed Wycombe’s Joel Grant space 20 yards from goal, but his shot was rushed and he sent it well over the crossbar.
And the away side began to shade the game as they capitalised on some loose touches from the Dons defence, earning themselves a string of corners. And it was from one of these set-pieces that the Chairboys could have taken the lead. Grant Basey’s initial corner was cleared away, but his ball back into the box was initially blocked on the line, before Dave Winfield’s header looked certain to cross the line, but for a heroic leap from David Martin to keep the ball out.
But when Dons got their game in order, they cut through Wycombe like a hot knife as they took the lead in the 14th minute. Breaking from his own penalty area, Ibehre raced to the halfway line, before exchanging a neat one-two with Luke Chadwick. Carrying on his run, Ibehre squared across the face of the penalty area to Gleeson who shaped to shoot, but instead slipped in Dean Bowditch. Still with a lot to do, Bowditch cut inside Basey and bent the ball around Bull to give Dons the lead.
The lead should have been doubled three minutes later when Ibehre was sent clean through after great work from Gleeson and MacDonald on the right touchline, but Bull stopped brilliantly with his feet. And 30 seconds later the game should have been out of reach when Ibehre again went through and unselfishly squared to Chadwick, but with an open goal, the midfielder sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Dons were winning the ball all over the field, making it extremely tough for Wycombe to get any footing as the game finally settled. Potter was pulling the strings in midfield and often found himself plenty of space to build the attacks, while Flanagan and Beevers looked comfortable at centre back against the limited Wanderers threat.
Another great chance could’ve extended Dons’ lead just before the half hour, when Gleeson’s outrageous ball wide found Bowditch perfectly, and while his initial shot was blocked the follow-up fell to Doumbe inside the area, but he shot well over the bar.
But the missed chances nearly came back to haunt Dons as they failed to deal with a rare Wycombe break and Joel Grant’s quick feet nearly found him through on goal, but of fell off balance and scooped wide of the post while under-pressure from Beevers as his team-mates appealed for a penalty. Two minutes later, it was Grant again who was put through on goal, but this time forced Martin into a solid block low at his feet as the away side began to find their way on the big stadium:mk pitch.
But Dons really should have had the game wrapped up when, with two minutes to play before the break, Ibehre again cut inside his man but failed to beat Bull as he saved with his feet, and MacDonald failed to convert the rebound into the empty net – his blushes spared by the linesman’s flag indicating it wouldn’t have counted anyway.
Dons are normally the ones to come out in the second half with guns blazing, but it was Wycombe who pulled level after four minutes after the restart. Doumbe, who looked out-of-sorts at right back, lost possession to Grant, who in turn played the ball to Stuart Beavon to lash home past Martin.
And they capitalised on some sloppy defensive work again two minutes later to take the lead as Marcello Trotta broke through to easily beat Martin one-on-one – a quite incredible turn around.
But it didn’t take long for Dons to get back to level pegging, just three minutes, as Dean Bowditch was on hand to tap home Chadwick’s cross after Ibehre’s great hold-up play on the edge of the area.
The game was shaping up to be an end-to-end affair, with both sides sensing a victory on the cards.
But it was to be the home side that retook the lead with a brilliant bit of skill from Ibehre. Beating the offside trap, MacDonald raced down the right flank and into the penalty area before playing low to Ibehre. But while it looked like his touch let him down, Ibehre made a deft flick, turning his man before flicking the ball in with the outside of his boot past the helpless Bull, sending the home fans into raptures, and putting his side 3-2 to the good.
With the momentum behind them, Dons netted their fourth three minutes later to put the game out of reach of Wanderers as Doumbe rose highest to meet Gleeson’s corner, leaving Bull with no chance.
Dons clicked into cruise control for the remaining 20 minutes, keeping possession well in the midfield with some neat two-touch football as they continued to frustrate the visitors. And they could have extended their lead further when a defensive mix-up between James Tunnicliffe, Dave Winfield and keeper Nikki Bull allowed a tame MacDonald effort to bounce off the foot of the post.
Wycombe found themselves within a goal as they entered stoppage time when Beavon added his second with a superb effort 30-yards from goal, rocketing into the top corner leaving with Martin at full stretch unable to keep it out.
This led to a nervy three minutes of stoppage time as Wanderers pushed for an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be as Dons held on for the three points.
The win means Dons go back into fourth place behind Sheffield Wednesday, having scored 15 goals in the last three.
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance : 9,701 (1,228)
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Doumbe, Flanagan, Beevers, Gleeson, Potter, Chadwick, Bodwitch (O’Shea, 88), Ibehre (Balanta, 77), MacDonald
Subs not used: McLoughlin, MacKenzie, Williams
Wycombe Wanderers: Bull, Foster (McCoy, 74), Rowlands (Donnelly, 23), Winfield, Basey, Tunnicliffe, Grant (Ibe, 81), Lewis, Beavon, Trotta, Harris
Subs not used: Bloomfield, Strevens