MK Dons recorded their first win since mid-November as goals from Lewis Guy and Mathias Kouo-Doumbé saw off Bournemouth in a festive thriller at stadiummk.
Playing only their second game since late-November and their first since 11th December, the Dons produced some of their best football of the season in the first half and were rewarded by Guy's early opener. And as they weathered the inevitable Bournemouth storm in the second period, Kouo-Doumbé charged forward on a swashbuckling run in the Milton Keynes fog to seal victory four minutes from the end, applying the coolest of finishes to Michael McIndoe's pinpoint pass.
It brought a run of three successive league defeats to an end for Karl Robinson's men, and continued the Dons' excellent record in post-Christmas fixtures - this their eighth win in the last nine between Christmas and New Year.
Robinson's side were straining at the leash early-on. Their passing was accurate, their movement creative and their tempo unrelenting. Sean O'Hanlon was back in defence, Jabo Ibehre led the attack and young Daniel Powell was given his first start of the season on the right flank.
They forced a breakthrough just six minutes into the contest through the diminutive Guy, whose early play in the pocket behind the striker caused Bournemouth no-end of problems. But the Cherries fell behind to a predicament all of their own making as Marc Pugh, with time to clear after a Dons attack had broken down, was robbed down the right by the energetic Powell. With options available to him in the middle, keeping a cool head was vital for the young forward, and while Ibehre should have finished his cutback, Guy made sure with his fourth of the season.
Looking as sharp as they have looked in some time, the Dons dominated the opening half-hour - Guy creative in the hole, McIndoe playing as well as he has in the penultimate game of his loan spell and Stephen Gleeson outstanding in central midfield.
The home fans were loving it, noticeably lifted by the team, and they were nearly celebrating a second on 25 minutes. Captain Dean Lewington could hardly have done more, climbing imperiously and heading powerfully at goal from Peter Leven's corner, but Shwan Jalal was equal to it with a flying, one-handed save. Denied by Jalal's brilliance on that occasion, it was the assistant's flag that frustrated them six minutes later after another incisive attack, started typically by quick-thinking Gleeson. Ibehre raced into the box onto the Irishman's pass, shooting across goal where Jalal's parry was converted by Powell, but the flag was raised against Ibehre in the first instance.
The hosts kept coming, Ibehre heading just wide from another Guy cross on 31 minutes, but Bournemouth's standing in the game was improved by the introduction of Steve Fletcher. A towering, barrel-chested, giant of a man, Fletcher is normally called on later in games, but his side's need was considerable. He totally changed Bournemouth's approach, heading down countless long balls into the Dons territory and causing uncertainty in an otherwise untroubled home defence. His arrival took the momentum out of the home side in the first half, but by the start of the second he was positively dangerous - heading down nicely three minutes after the break, but Lyle Taylor dragged wide.
With Bournemouth upping the pressure and the Dons threatening on the break, it became an end-to-end contest - Ibehre shooting too close to Jalal at one end and Taylor denied by a brilliant O'Hanlon block at the other. The introduction of returning striker Sam Baldock only enhanced the Dons' counter-attacking ability and, having been slipped through by McIndoe just a minute later, the Dons marksman only just failed to beat Jalal.
Guy was close to a second from another McIndoe cross shortly after that, but as time ran down and the fog began to descend, the home side began to defend deeper. That gave Fletcher the room he needed to work in and, after O'Hanlon had sliced dangerously at his own goal from Pugh's left-wing cross, the big man rose to meet a Liam Feeney delivery from the right. Few other players could have produced such a header from around 15 yards, and David Martin was at full-stretch to tip it onto the underside of the bar.
You sensed the kitchen sink was coming and Martin was out like a shot to deny Pugh inside the box within a minute. But as Eddie Howe's team threw more and more bodies forward, they were hit fatally on the counter.
Frenchman Kouo-Doumbé started the move brilliantly, refusing to smash the ball out of his box to safety, instead picking out Baldock on the left, who immediately spotted McIndoe in space down the right. Kouo-Doumbé continued his run, buccaneering into the Bournemouth box as McIndoe accurately picked him out, and showed the kind of touch few would have expected as he lifted gorgeously over Jalal and into the fog-filled net.
A great way to sign off 2010 for the Dons, who will hope to start 2011 in similar fashion against Bristol Rovers here on Saturday.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Woodards, O'Hanlon, Kouo-Doumbé, Lewington (c); Gleeson (Carrington 84), Leven; Powell (Baldock 59), Guy (Chadwick 72), McIndoe; Ibehre.
Subs not used: Searle, MacKenzie, Chicksen, Johnson.
Goals: Guy 6, Kouo-Doumbé 86
Bournemouth (4-4-2): Jalal; Smith, Bartley, Pearce (c), Wiggins; Feeney, Robinson, Hollands, Pugh; Ings (Fletcher 30), Taylor (Bignall 65).
Subs not used: Stewart, Cummings, Bradbury, Arter, Cooper.
Attendance: 7,638 (789 away)
Referee: Oli Lanford (West Midlands)