A dramatic final two minutes saw Dons go from down and out to in the hat for the Capital One Cup second round as they beat Leyton Orient 2-1.
Karl Robinson rung the changes to the side which started against Leyton Orient, making 10 changes to the side which played at Rotherham on Saturday and it showed as the side looked just as unfamiliar to the fans as they seemingly did to each other.
Dean Lewington was the only face to start both games, but he was the culprit in the only goal of the game, failing to clear Dean Cox’s routine ball into the box, instead turning into his own net nine minutes before the break.
And just as Dons looked to be going out with a whimper, Mathieu Baudry’s own goal in the 89th minute brought about the possibility of extra time, something which Carl Baker wasn’t willing to go through as he rifled in the winner in the 91st minute.
With debuts being handed to Matt Upson, Cristian Benavente, Sergio Aguza and Simon Church, the game felt like pre-season friendly for most of the first half. Neither side were particularly enthusiastic when it game to turning up the tempo, despite the vast majority making their first appearance of the season.
There were some deft touches and clever flicks from Benavente and Aguza to get the home crowd purring at their first glimpse of Dons’ new Latin flair, though it was Saturday’s goalscorer Carl Baker who came closest to opening the scoring with a low drive after just eight minutes.
Against a new-look defence, Leyton Orient looked keen to test Dons’ resolve out wide. Blair Turgott was having some joy against Dean Lewington, while Matt Upson appeared to be the focus of their central attacks, though the veteran defender dealt with most things coming his way.
As the game looked to be heading calmly towards half time goal-less, Dons fell behind nine minutes before the interval. With the defence caught napping at a set piece, Orient skipper Mathieu Baudry was able to chase down his own nod down, and feed Dean Cox bursting up the flank to support. Cox’s deep ball into the box evaded Ollie Palmer, but came off Lewington’s flailing leg, wrong footing Cody Cropper in the Dons net, going down as an own goal.
It could quite easily have been 2-0 shortly after the restart too as Dons’ defence failed to deal with a fairly routine ball in, allowing Ollie Palmer to cast his eyes over the goal but he blasted it over the top.
For Dons, the team looked every bit the patchwork it was. Benavente was doing his best to get things going but found support lacking. Simon Church was anonymous for the most part, through little fault of his own really, while Baker was far from his usual influential self.
Even with the introduction of Ben Reeves, fresh from signing a new extended contract, and Sam Gallagher, Dons struggled to carve anything clear cut to really test Orient keeper Alex Cisak.
In fact it was Cropper who was the busier of the two keepers, marshalling one which came off the post, before doing brilliantly to keep out a late Jay Simpson strike as Orient threatened to end it on a late counter attack.
But as the clock ticked over to 89 minutes, Dons would have the last laugh. If Lewington’s own goal was fortuitous, Mathieu Baudry’s bullet header into his own net from Reeves’ cross was an equally cruel dagger.
And with extra time looming, Carl Baker rattled home the winner after good build-up play from Church in the 91st minute to book a second round spot.
Referee: Simon Hooper
MK Dons: Cropper, Lewington, Hodson, Upson (McFadzean 71), Walsh, Aguza, Benavente (Gallagher 71), Baker, Jennings (Reeves 67), Rasulo, Church
Subs not used: Martin, Spence, Flanagan
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Essam, Dunne (Shaw 81), Baudry, Cox, Palmer (Simpson 81), Moore, Turgott, Pritchard, Kashket
Subs not used: Grainger, James, Moncur, Ling, Ling, Adeboyejo
Booked: Upson, Pritchard, Baudry