MK Dons have a one goal advantage over Peterborough United heading into the npower League 1 play-off semi-final second leg thanks to a stunning second-half comeback.
The Dons trailed their fierce rivals at half-time thanks to Craig Mackail-Smith's ninth minute tap in, however, three goals in ten minutes from Daniel Powell, Sam Baldock and Angelo Balanta put the Dons in the driving seat.
A breathless game at stadiummk was packed with draw as, after the Dons had opened up a 3-1 lead, Peterborough were reduced to 10 men when Charlie Lee picked up his second caution.
But the Dons also had a man sent off when controversially Stephen Gleeson was shown a straight red for a challenge on Mark Little which appeared to be outside the box. Grant McCann pulled the deficit back to 3-2 from the resulting penalty to set up a cracking second leg match up at London Road on Thursday 19th May.
The meeting has lived up to its billing with some scintillating attacking football, fast tempo and crunch tackles.
Daniel Powell fights his way through the Peterborough defence
As expected with two attacking side the game began at a rapid pace and with five minutes on the clock the battle in midfield looked key to who would take an advantage into the second leg.
The Dons had to be patient in their play and weary not to make needless mistakes which would go punished by Posh's deadly strike force. The home side's first sniff at goal showed some promise when Luke Chadwick's flick on to Daniel Powell allowed Sam Baldock the opportunity to break into the box and return the ball back to Powell.
Joe Lewis was alert to the danger, in fact he was almost too alert as he and defender Charlie Lee arrived at the same time to clear successful but the two collided, forcing a break while they received treatment.
Despite the interruption Posh soon recovered their rhythm in the game and in the ninth minute they found their way through the Dons' defence.
The Dons' backline was pulled apart as the ball was cut back from the right-hand side for Mendez-Laing, who looked a constant threat, to drill a shot from just inside the box. David Martin stopped the midfielder's effort, but failed to keep hold of the ball and Mackail-Smith, prodded home at the far post to fire Posh in front.
The breakthrough was a blow to the Dons, yet their game plan remained the same as they soaked up the pressure and sent bodies forward when the chance to attack came around. Although the centre-back pairing of Gabriel Zakuani and Ryan Bennett made Baldock's job as the lone striker an extremely difficult one.
Peterborough almost caught out the Dons for a second time when Martin's poor distribution of the ball caused trouble for Gary MacKenzie as Tommy Rowe latched onto the loose ball but, fortunately for the Dons, Martin made a solid save from his drilled shot.
Stephen Gleeson battles for the ball in midfield
The Dons were missing the deliveries and influence in midfield of Peter Leven, whose season was ended early by a broken metatarsal, so the duties were shared around with Dean Lewington and Adam Clayton both taking set-pieces.
The latter sent a inch-perfect free-kick diagonally to Kouo-Doumbe and the right-back showed his raw pace as he turned his marker to drive forward and drag a low powerful shot into the box. With pace on the ball Baldock did his best to turn the ball past Joe Lewis, yet it fell agonisingly inches wide.
Robinson's men finished the first half brightly and had it not have been for a superb save from Lewis, they would have regained level terms in the 40th minute.
Lewington's whipped in cross from the right met the towering Sean O'Hanlon who managed to nod the ball on, and Kouo-Doumbe's point-blank header looked destined for the back of the net only for Posh goalie Lewis to expertly tip away.
However, at half-time Lewis, possibly carrying an injury from his early knock, was replaced by number two goalie Paul Jones. And the replacement keeper and his team mates were left shell-shocked by a storming restart from the Dons.
The Dons found their much needed equaliser 66 seconds into the second half when Peterborough, disrupted by change failed to clear Lewington's fizzed in cross and when Jones struggled to punch the ball away a goalmouth scrabble followed before Powell struck from close range.
The confidence soared through the Dons and when Luke Chadwick was hacked down 25-yards out they were presented an opportunity to test the Posh defence once more. But when Baldock stepped up to the free-kick no-one expected the stunning finish that followed.
The 22-year-old striker set up the free-kick and everything about the strike, including the run up, had a touch of Cristiano Ronaldo about it as Baldock sent a thunderous low piledriver into the bottom corner. As goals go it was one of top quality and Jones was left rooted to the spot.
Sam Baldock wheels away to celebrate his stunning free-kick
And there was still more to come from a rampant Dons side as Clayton stroked a neat pass to the feet of Balanta who emphatically lashed a thumping shot beyond a desperate Jones.
It was a terrific comeback that encouraged the home side to press on for a fourth, which at times was risky as both George Boyd and Bennett were denied in a goalmouth scramble at the other end.
However, Peterborough's day went from bad to worse when Lee picked up his second booking in 12 minutes for a scything tackle on Powell and the visitors were reduced to ten men with 22 minutes to play.
Despite the numerical disadvantage Peterborough went within inches of pulling a goal back when substitute David Ball sent an effort wide of the post. But Posh were given their chance to reduce the deficit when Mark Little's burst through from the right flank was cut short by a challenge from Gleeson which earned the Irish midfielder a straight red and Peterborough a penalty.
It was an incident that caused great controversy as Gleeson appeared to&nbsp;be well outside the penalty box when the foul was committed and there were Dons players back covering.
McCann stepped up to the spot and sent Martin the wrong way as he tucked into the bottom left corner to set up a tense&nbsp;ending at stadiummk, but the Dons held on to carry a vital one goal lead to London Road.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Kouo-Doumbe, O'Hanlon, MacKenzie, Lewington; Gleeson, Clayton; Powell (Marsh-Brown 76), Chadwick, Balanta (Ibehre 79); S Baldock.
Subs: Searle, Guy, Woodards, G Baldock, Chicksen.
Goals: Powell 47, S Baldock 50, Balanta 56
Peterborough United (4-4-2): Lewis; Little, Zakuani (Langmead 32), Bennett, Lee; Tomlin, McCann (c), Mendez-Laing (Ball 60), Rowe; Boyd, Mackail-Smith.
Subs: Langmead, Whelpdale, Davis, Wesolowski, Newell
Sent-off: Lee 68
Goals: Mackail-Smith 9, McCann (pen) 81
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)
Attendance: 12, 662 (4379 away)