REPORT: Mansfield 1-1 MK Dons: Honours even at Field Mill
It was a tale of two screamers as MK Dons' winning streak ended with a thrilling 1-1 draw against Mansfield on Saturday.
Jordan Mellis' opening goal on 16 minutes was a sublime half-volley from 25 yards, but Jordan Houghton's effort eight minutes later challenged him for the goal of the day crown, rasping home a ferocious equaliser.
Chuks Aneke hammered the base of the post shortly before half time after a brilliant spin on the edge of the box, while CJ Hamilton grazed the side-netting in the second period as both sides earned a point.
Despite a disappointing first half against Notts County on Tuesday night, Paul Tisdale stuck with the same starting line-up to face Mansfield Town, with Kieran Agard keeping his place in the side despite being sacrificed at half time at Stadium MK.
In a breathless opening 15 minutes, Dons were nearly gifted the lead twice by keeper Bobby Olejnik, both times spilling the ball into Agard's path, but his mistakes were not punished.
Dons had conceded one goal in five games heading to Field Mill, but it would be a rocket of a goal from Jacob Mellis to open the scoring on 16 minutes. A duff free kick into the area was cleared by Alex Gilbey, but only as far as Mellis 25 yards out who wrapped his right boot around it and sent it sailing into the net, leaving Nicholls with no chance.
The lead would last just eight minutes though as Dons drew level with an equally stunning strike from Jordan Houghton, firing wonderfully past Olejnik from 25 yards.
Both sides were playing rapid attacking football in a bid to retake the lead, with Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton coming close to retaking the lead for Mansfield before the best chance of the game fell to Chuks Aneke. A touch to bring it under control, Aneke spun his defender but with just the keeper to beat, he thumped the base of the post.
Jordan Moore-Taylor picked up a rare knock shortly before the break, and he did not emerge for the second period, replaced by Callum Brittain.
It did not reproduce the same goal-mouth action of the first, but the end-to-end nature continued, while the physicality amped up too, with a few little tussles breaking up the play and preventing it from having a decent flow.
CJ Hamilton thought he had done enough to put Mansfield in front but his long-range effort stroked the side netting, while Brittain fired over from close range when teed up by Aneke, who turned into the pantomime villain during the second half.
With Lincoln losing at Colchester, the result means Dons move within two points of the league leaders.
Referee: Seb StockbridgeAttendance: 4,329
Mansfield Town: Olejnik, Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop, Mellis, Khan (Butcher 46), Sweeney, Walker (Davies 82), Hamilton (Atkinson 90), RoseSubs not used: Logan, Elsnik, Gibbens, Graham
MK Dons: Nicholls, Walsh, Moore-Taylor (Brittain 46), Cargill, Lewington, Williams, Houghton, Gilbey, Agard, Healey, Aneke (Watson 84)Subs not used: Moore, Hancox, Simpson, D'Ath, Asonganyi
Booked: Sweeney, Benning, Brittain, Watson