MK Dons bounced back from their midweek defeat to Yeovil in emphatic fashion as they beat Exeter City 3-0 at stadiummk to keep up the pace with the promotion-chasing pack.
There was an element of fortune as the Dons took the lead when Mathias Kouo-Doumbe's shot was deflected by Jonathan Fortune, and Charlie MacDonald's standing leg turned in a second for the homes side.
Exeter put up some fight in the second half with David Martin in action on a number of occasions but when Jabo Ibehre tucked away the third of the afternoon the points were in the bag for Karl Robinson's team.
The Dons made three changes to the side that lost to Yeovil in midweek with MacDonald, Darren Potter and Tom Flanagan starting as Mathias Kouo-Doumbe moved to right-back and Jay O'Shea moved into the supporting striker role.
There was just over 30 seconds on the clock when Exeter 'keeper Artur Krysaik was called into action as Dean Bowditch, who was keen to make up for his missed penalty against Yeovil, weaved into space on the left to beat his marker to send low shot across the goal mouth to sting Krysaik's palms.
The moment of action hinted it would be a fast-paced afternoon, but the opening 15 minutes failed to live up to that as the Dons tried to impose their style of play on the visitors. With Potter back in the team it allowed Alan Smith to venture forward more than normal.
Karl Robinson urged his team to be more clinical in front of goal as they prepared for the Grecians but an element of luck helped them break the deadlock in the 17th minute. Mathias Kouo-Doumbe pushed up field to collect a pass from Potter on the right of the box, the defender opted for a drilled shot which picked up a deflection on City's Jon Fortune and found its way into the net.
Initially the Press Association record the goal as an own goal by Fortune, but the goal was eventually given to Kouo-Doumbe after some deliberation.
Exeter, who were fourth from bottom before kick-off, showed hints of their fragile nature when the Dons broke on the attack and acres of space opened in front of them.
When Smith threaded a ball from the right MacDonald made a nuisance of himself in the box and was able to get side foot his effort beyond the reach of Krysiak. There were hints of a deflection from Troy Archibald-Henville in the goal but it is MacDonald that will be keen to claim his first goal of 2012.
The Dons were goal-hungry and determined to keep adding to the score line and they almost did just that when Potter's ability to pull the strings was highlighted when he found a way around the wall of defenders in front of him to find Kouo-Doumbe on his right.
Kouo-Doumbe drove through the box and when Krysiak parried the shot O'Shea's follow-up was deflected for a corner.
Exeter struggled to get time on the ball to be able to string together enough passes to cause David Martin any problems at the Cowshed goal. It took eight minutes into the second half for City to carry an element of threat about them when striker Jamie Cureton hassled Shaun Williams, eventually getting the better of the defender, however, with only Martin to beat the Leyton Orient loanee sent his strike straight into the arms of the goalie.
The Dons had not quite managed to regain their rhythm and momentum that had hinted at them running riot, instead it was City who looked the more likely to score and when space opened up in front of Chris Shephard it was only a good low save from Martin that denied him.
Martin was back in the thick of it when O'Flynn glanced a header goal-bound but once again the Dons number one could not be beaten.
As the home side began to huff and puff Robinson opted for some fresh legs in attack and brought Luke Chadwick and Jabo Ibehre on for 20 minutes in the place of Powell and Bowditch.
The Dons continued their search for a third when a superb diagonal pass found O'Shea on the right touchline who in turn crossed to Chadwick, but the midfielder drilled straight at Artur.
The third did come though, a great pass from O'Shea released Ibehre who turn on the speed to break free into the box to slot the ball past Krysiak. The forward then wheeled away to celebrate by bowing in front of his adoring fans in the Cowshed.
It then became one-way traffic that Exeter had to contend with and when Tom Flanagan was afforded the space inside the box he smashed a fine right-footed volley which was only kept out by a great reaction save at the near post from Krysiak.
Paul Slane's good work on the right set the Dons off in search of a third, the ball passed through Ibehre, Chadwick and O'Shea before Lewington was able to whip in a cross and Smith was waiting with a great header only to be once again denied by the Grecian 'keeper.
In injury-time City almost grabbed a consolation when a cross from Shephard set-up a golden opportunity for Richard Logan, yet inexplicably from eight-yards out fired over.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Kouo-Doumbe, Flanagan, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Smith; Powell (Ibehre 70), O'Shea, Bowditch (Chadwick 70); MacDonald (Slane 82).
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Chicksen.
Goals: Kouo-Doumbe 17, MacDonald 27, Ibehre 78
Exeter City: Krysiak, Tully (c), Dunne, Archibald-Henville, Sercombe, Cureton, Coles, O'Flynn, Bennett (Shepard 31), Fortune (O'Brein 70), Taylor (Logan 65).
Subs not used: Bauza, Pidgeley
Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)
Attendance: 9,016 (377 away)
Goal-Don Goal times: 1st goal 16.32, 2nd goal 26.43, 3rd goal 77.39