REPORT: MK Dons 3-3 Bristol Rovers: Taylor's hat-trick robs Dons of much-needed home win
Dons threw away a 3-1 lead with four minutes to go as Bristol Rovers' Matty Taylor completed a dramatic hat-trick as Bristol Rovers snatched a 3-3 draw as Dons' dismal home run was extended to 12 games.
Dean Bowditch and George B Williams had put Dons in total control in the first half as the home side had the visitors on the ropes.
But Taylor pulled one back with a rocket just two minutes into the second half, though Ben Reeves' goal with 25 minutes to go appeared to be enough for the home side to secure their first win on home soil since March 5.
Taylor and Bristol Rovers though would have the last laugh as he scored twice in the last five minutes to complete his hat-trick and the dramatic comeback.
With Darren Potter and Joe Walsh suspended, Karl Robinson was forced into two changes, but made three from the team which lost at Scunthorpe on Saturday. Jack Hendry stepped into defence to make his second appearance since joining on loan from Wigan, while fellow Addicks loanee Ryan Colclough started on the left flank, replacing Nicky Maynard. Ed Upson was a like-for-like change for Potter.
With Dons having failed to win in 11 at home, they were almost behind after just 39 seconds as Rovers started brightly, though Ollie Clarke couldn't keep his volley down, firing unmarked into the stands from 10 yards.
Having settled after their nervous start, the home side were doing most of the leg work but they were gifted the lead after 16 minutes. For weeks, Dons had lamented their lack of luck at home, so when Kelle Roos spilled Ben Reeves' long-range effort, Dean Bowditch made sure to take full advantage as he fired the ball into the empty net.
The lead could have been doubled two minutes later when Colclough cut in from the left flank and got a shot away, only to see it crash flush against the crossbar.
Dons wouldn't have to wait long for the second though, and this time the woodwork came to their aid as George B Williams snuck in at the far post to head home Dean Lewington's cross, clipping the upright as it beat Roos.
It should have been game over by the half hour mark when Bowditch was left totally unmarked to meet another Lewington cross, but incredibly headed wide, with keeper Roos rooted to the spot.
Given something of a shake, Rovers had a 10 minute spell in the run-up to half time, though their best chance saw Bodin fire across the face of David Martin's goal, though Samir Carruthers on the line did his best to ensure it wouldn't go in too.
But they did have one back barely a minute after the restart courtesy of a wonder-strike from Matty Taylor. Picking up the ball 25 yards out, Taylor unleashed a fierce strike into the top corner, leaving Martin with no chance.
The reduced lead though didn't seem to affect the home side as they continued to force the issue. Ed Upson was running the show in the absence of Potter, barely giving the ball away as he dominated in the centre of the park, doing his level best to prevent Rovers from hitting on the counter as he sat deep.
Dons though would restore their two goal advantage 20 minutes into the second half. Reeves, picking up the ball on the right, cut inside onto his left to leave Lee Brown for dust before firing low through the keeper's legs for 3-1.
While the game appeared to be heading towards a fairly routine finale for the home side, the wheels fell off as Taylor would complete his hat-trick in dramatic fashion. First, he was left totally unmarked at the far post to tap in Jake Clarke-Salter's cross to reduce the arrears to a single goal with three minutes to go before completing his hat-trick two minutes later, beating the offside trap as Dons failed to clear a corner, turning in the equaliser.
Referee: Darren Handley
Attendance: 8,366 (1,008)
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Hendry, Downing, GB Williams, Carruthers, Upson, Colclough (Powell 60), Reeves, Agard, Bowditch (Maynard 78)
Subs not used: Nicholls, GC Williams, Tilney, Tshimanga, Thomas-Asante
Bristol Rovers: Roos, Brown, Lockyer, O Clarke (Montano 65), Harrison (Gaffney 75), Taylor, Lines, Bodin (Colkett 46), Sinclair, Roverts, Clarke-Salter
Subs not used: Mildenhall, J Clarke, Moore, James
Booked: Bowditch, Harrison, O Clarke, Upson, Lewington