REPORT: MK Dons 1-0 Northampton Town - Dons into the top three after win over Cobblers
MK Dons climbed into the top three with their fourth win in a row, beating Northampton Town 1-0 at Stadium MK on Saturday.
Kieran Agard scored the only goal of the game shortly before half time, sweeping home a half-cleared corner, but it could have been much more. Rhys Healey missed a hatful of chances, and rattled the bar, while Joe Walsh too flicked one goalwards, denied by a wonderful stop from David Cornell.
The result sees Dons climb above Newport County into third spot ahead of Tuesday night's game against Notts County.
Fit again Agard was the only change to Paul Tisdale's side, replacing Ryan Watson, and he made an almost immediate impact in what was a lively start for the home side. He picked out Rhys Healey to fire into the net within the opening 50 seconds only for the offside flag to deny Dons the opener, before teeing up Alex Gilbey with that appeared to be a simple tap in two minutes later, though the midfielder fluffed his lines as he seeks out his first goal since January.
Dons looked dangerous, especially on the break as the front trio threatened to get in behind on several occasions, but they struggled to make David Cornell work between the posts for Northampton.
At the other end, Lee Nicholls made a fine save to deny Andy Williams but almost gifted Cobblers the lead within seconds of it, miscontrolling the ball with Sam Hoskins lurking, prodding the ball out before the Town man could get there.
The home side continued to play the better football, with Aneke nearly lobbing the ball over Cornell after a terrific break from Baily Cargill, while Healey and Gilbey saw efforts blocked by the Town defence.
They eventually made the breakthrough on the stroke of half time though. Another Dons corner was only half cleared by the Cobblers defence, and the ball back into the mix was turned home by Agard.
The second half continued in a similar vain. Dons, despite playing with a man less than usual in the centre of the park, were completely overrunning Northampton in midfield, with Gilbey and Houghton completely controlling the game. It was one-way traffic for large portions of the second half, with Gilbey, Healey and Walsh all coming close – the latter with a brilliant flick with the outside of his boot, forcing Cornell into a fine stop.
In a rare chance at the other end, former Dons man Daniel Powell nearly added to his plentiful Stadium MK total when he went one-on-one with Nicholls, but the keeper made a remarkable stop when scoring looked easier.
From the resultant corner, Dons countered, and twice, Healey could have wrapped it up. First, he forced Cornell into a save from the breakaway, before rattling the bar from long range after the corner was cleared to him on the edge of the box.
It was a nervy final five minutes, but Dons kept their nerve at the back as Northampton chucked everything forwards late on.
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Attendance: 9,618 (2,186)
MK Dons: Nicholls, Walsh, Moore-Taylor, Cargill, Lewington, Williams, Houghton, Gilbey, Aneke, Agard, Healey (Watson 90)
Subs not used: Moore, Watson, Hancox, Simpson, D'Ath, Thomas-Asante, Brittain
Northampton Town: Cornell, Buchanan (McWilliams 58), Odoffin, Hoskins, Foley, Williams (Bridge 58), Van Veen, Pierre, Turnbull, Waters (Powell 75), O'Toole
Subs not used: Ward, Iaciofano, Whaler, Williams
Booked: McWilliams, Turnbull, Agard, Cargill, Foley