REPORT: MK Dons 3-2 Swindon: Maynard breaks his duck in Dons win
Nicky Maynard scored his first goal since May as MK Dons edged a five-goal thriller against fellow League 1 strugglers Swindon Town on Friday night.
Kieran Agard scored twice in the opening 25 minutes to give Dons a commanding lead, only to have Luke Norris pull one back for the visitors just before half time.
Maynard though, a deserving man of the match, finally got his goal though eight minutes into the second half to restore Dons' two goal advantage, only to see it clawed back to a single goal by Raphael Rossi Branco with 25 minutes to go.
After losing to Charlton 1-0 on Boxing Day, Robbie Neilson made just one change to the side but it was a new formation. Playing a diamond 4-4-2, Chuks Aneke was handed his first start at Stadium MK, playing in behind the front pair of Nicky Maynard and Kieran Agard.
And the front two would both play a part in Dons' opening goal after eight minutes. After controlling the early exchanges, Maynard, who hadn't registered a goal all season, spun on the edge of the box and fired in a fierce strike but saw it crash against the bar. With Lawrence Vigouroux committed to the dive, Agard was on hand to head into the empty net.
Boss Robbie Neilson cut a frustrated figure against Charlton and said his players needed to capitalise when they were on top, and it's exactly what they did as Agard netted his second of the night after 25 minutes. Aneke, whose physical presence was proving very handy in the first half, bullied himself some space to fire in a strike, but it was wayward. Fortunately, Agard was alert, barely four yards out, to divert it back across Vigouroux to double his tally for the night as well as Dons' lead.
Swindon had barely seen the ball in the opening half, but were back in it 10 minutes before the break when once again the MK Dons defence switched off from a fairly routine ball. Darnell Furlong's cross was just out of Martin's reach as it swung in from the right but no one reacted to the loose ball, and Luke Norris was on hand to tap into the empty net unchallenged for 2-1.
Dons though would continue to force the issue in the run up to half time. Maynard drew another acrobatic save from Vigouroux and Aneke had the keeper scampering across his line, but couldn't find the target with his fizzing effort. Ben Reeves too had Vigouroux at full stretch, but saw his strike rattle the frame of the goal on the stroke of half time.
Having waited all season for his first goal of the season, Maynard needed eight second half minutes to finally register and restore Dons' two goal advantage. Cleverly working himself some space, his touch took him to the corner of the six yard box, and he sent the ball low past Vigouroux for the biggest roar of the night.
Once again though, just as it was looking comfortable for the home side, Swindon pulled another one back. Having forced Martin into a fingertip save from the initial corner, Raphael Rossi Branco didn't waste his second attempt as he nodded in the resultant corner, making it 3-2.
And for a spell, Swindon had the wind in their sails and hemmed Dons into their own half. After a string of Swindon corners, Martin was called into action for a couple of half saves but Vigouroux was also earning his keep at the other end, twice denying Maynard's pot shots from 18 yards.
While it was relatively routine in the end for Dons, there was still time for a late upset when substitute John Goddard met Jermaine Hylton's cross in stoppage time, only for Martin to make a brilliant low save at his near post to keep it out.
Referee: Ben TonerAttendance: 9,385 (1087)
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Walsh, Downing, GB Williams, Upson, Carruthers, Reeves, Aneke (Powell 68), Agard (Colclough 80), Maynard (Tshimanga 88)Subs not used: Nicholls, GC Williams, Hendry, C Furlong
Swindon Town: Vigouroux, Thompson (Brophy 35), Thomas (Goddard 59), Obika, Smith, D Furlong, Murray, Hylton, Jones, Rossi-Branco, NorrisSubs not used: Henry, Rodgers, Doughty, Delfouneso, Barry
Booked: Norris, Rossi Branco