MK Dons needed extra time to book their place in the third round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, beating Cardiff City 2-1.
After an evenly matched opening 45 minutes, Alex Revell reacted quickest to Stuart O’Keefe’s deep cross to fire Cardiff into the lead after 53 minutes.
Three substitutions gave Dons a new lease of life, and it showed when Carl Baker roofed the equaliser with 12 minutes to go to send the tie to extra time.
And Josh Murphy capped a brilliant debut by netting the winner two minutes into the second period to send Dons through to the third round.
Karl Robinson made nine changes to the side which started the 0-0 draw with Reading at the weekend. The only survivors were Kyle McFadzean, Jordan Spence and Diego Poyet. Josh Murphy was handed his debut after signing from Norwich City last Friday, while Cristian Benavente and Sergio Aguza also returned to the midfield.
Unusually, Dons were the quieter of the two sides in the opening exchanges. Cardiff enjoyed some good possession going forward, and used the pace of Sammy Ameobi to try and break Dons’ resolve down the left.
But it was from a 17th minute set piece which almost undid them. A melee in the area saw a Cardiff player get a head on the ball to loop it goalwards, but Lee Hodson was on hand to clear off the line. Matt Upson then blocked a follow-up shot, but the rebound fell kindly for Eoin Doyle, though his rasping drive was well tipped out by Cody Cropper in the Dons net.
Murphy, making his debut for Dons, was the main outlet for the home side and had some joy down the left flank, easily beating Matthew Connolly for pace but his final ball was ultimately cut out. And when he switched flanks, his speed and agility were the outlet, though his solo break was cut short prematurely as he tried in vain to skip past Bruno Ecuele Manga.
But still the best chances fell to Cardiff. Stuart O’Keefe was teh beneficiary of some confusion between centre backs Kyle McFadzean and Upson, but Cropper once again made himself big to get a block on the shot.
It was a similar story in the second half too with Cardiff getting the upper hand, while Murphy provided the biggest threat. Gambling on a Benavente ball, he nearly capitalised on Matthew Connolly’s mistake, but again bent his shot just around the post.
And they’d be made to pay for the miss as Cardiff went straight up the other end to score. O’Keefe was afforded time and space on the right to whip a ball over the top. Evading the Cardiff attack, Alex Revell slid in at the far post to rifle home the opener nine minutes after the restart.
It prompted Robinson to roll the dice with all three substitutes, introducing Rob Hall, Samir Carruthers and Sam Gallagher to the mixer on the hour mark.
And the chances certainly breathed new life into Dons. Carruthers was looking busy in the midfield, but such has been his form this season, he backed up a decent bit of play, almost sliding in Gallagher, with something equally as poor by going it alone when a pass was the best option to shoot well wide.
But his flip-flop form took showed it’s Jekyll side 11 minutes from time when he started the move which brought about the equaliser. Bursting down the left, he rolled the ball wide to Murphy who crossed low into the mixer. Hall was waiting and poised, but his shot was well saved by Simon Moore. The rebound though fell perfectly for Carl Baker, who made no mistakes in roofing it to level the scores.
And it sparked Dons into life. Pouring forward with every opportunity, they came closest to winning it with five minutes to go when Gallagher had his header cleared off the line as he rose highest to meet Hall’s corner.
So it sent the tie into extra time. And after a nondescript opening 15 minutes, Dons finally edged their noses in front two minutes into the second period. Carruthers and Hall exchanged passes tearing forward into the box, and when the former crossed low, it appeared all Gallagher had to do was tap it in. But Moore was once again on hand to palm it away, though in almost a carbon copy of Baker’s goal, Murphy was there to rifle in to the empty net.
Referee: Tim Robinson
MK Dons: Cropper, Spence, Upson, McFadzean, Hodson, Poyet, Aguza (Carruthers 61), Powell (Gallagher (61), Baker, Benavente (Hall 61), Murphy
Subs not used: Martin, Kay, Church, Jennings
Cardiff City: Moore, Fabio, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Noone, Connolly, Ralls, Doyle (Dikgacoi 71), Revell (Macheda 80), O’Keefe (Peltier 90), Ameobi
Subs not used: WIlson, Kennedy, Ajayi
Booked: Carruthers, Ameobi, Fabio