Goals from Dele Alli and Benik Afobe helped 10-man Dons overcome Crawley Town 2-0 at stadiummk on Saturday afternoon.
Alli set Karl Robinson’s men on their way with a perfectly-placed finish in the first half before David Martin saved Izale McLeod’s penalty midway through the second period, after the former Dons striker was pulled back by Kyle McFadzean, who was subsequently sent off.
Dons then defended valiantly and their hard work was rewarded when Afobe sealed the points with a cool, close-range finish in injury-time.
With confidence high following the 4-0 win over Man United in midweek, the Dons began firmly on the frontfoot. Brian Jensen saved at the feet of Afobe after being perfectly picked out by Tom Hitchcock, making his first start for Robinson’s men.
Shortly afterwards, Hitchcock was again involved as his pressure set up Daniel Powell, who drove towards goal before striking the post with a low drive from 18 yards.
More good football from Darren Potter and Alli laid on a chance for Dean Bowditch on 11 minutes but, after setting himself, the forward pulled his effort just past the left-hand post.
Powell then put in a teasing cross which neither Afobe nor Hitchcock could get on the end of while, on the counter attack, former Don Izale McLeod lifted Crawley’s first effort high and wide of the target.
The Dons’ pressure finally told on 15 minutes when Alli curled a superb effort into the bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards, after Powell’s initial shot had been blocked.
Robinson’s men, playing at an impressively-high tempo, continued to dominate and Afobe’s deflected shot came within inches of finding the bottom left-hand corner.
The tempo slowed somewhat until the half-hour mark when Gavin Tomlin saw an effort deflect over the top. At the other end, Antony Kay tested Jensen with a 40-yard volley after Bowditch’s in-swinging corner had been cleared by Crawley.
The visitors almost levelled matters on 42 minutes but no-one could get on the end of Gwion Edwards’ cross from the left, just like with Bowditch’s dangerous delivery three minutes later.
Hitchcock really should have made it 2-0 in injury-time at the end of the first half but he mis-kicked George Baldock’s cross after nice link-up play between the right-back and Powell, before Afobe saw two shots blocked 60 seconds later.
Alert play from Baldock at the other end ensured the Dons went in ahead, throwing his body on the line to deny McLeod inside the box.
Crawley threatened on 50 minutes when Tomlin headed substitute Emmett O’Connor’s cross over the top at the back post.
Dons created a chance of their own two minutes later when Alli found Afobe inside the area but, after wriggling away from one challenge, the on-loan Arsenal man saw his shot blocked.
Mark Randall and Samir Carruthers were introduced for the injured Potter and Hitchcock on 55 and 66 minutes respectively, with Bowditch switching into the number 10 role.
Out of nothing, Crawley were gifted the opportunity to draw level on 68 minutes when McLeod was brought down in the penalty area by McFadzean, who was subsequently shown a red card. Martin, quiet up until this point, saved the penalty to deny the ex-Don a goal on his return to stadiummk. Jordan Spence replaced Bowditch as a result of going down to 10 men.
Martin was at it again shortly afterwards, pulling off a wonderful save to deny Conor Henderson from 35 yards.
Despite going down to 10 men, the Dons continued to look for a second and Afobe almost provided it but his sweetly-struck free-kick cannoned off the post and Brian Jensen’s back and away from danger with 15 minutes remaining.
Jensen had to be on his guard to deny Afobe’s fierce drive finding the back of the net on 80 minutes, before a combination of Martin and Baldock prevented Tomlin from equalising from close range after he had been picked out by O’Connor.
Afobe all but wrapped up the win in injury-time when he beat his man and fired emphatically past Jensen – his fifth goal for the Dons.
A magnificent goal-line clearance from Kay in the dying embers of the game ensured the Dons collected a fourth straight clean sheet and rounded off a memorable week with a deserved success.
Starting XI: Martin; Baldock, Lewington (c), Kay, McFadzean; Alli, Potter (Randall 55); Powell, Hitchcock (Carruthers 66), Bowditch (Spence 70); Afobe.
Unused subs: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Rasulo, Grigg.
Goals: Alli (15), Afobe (90+2).
Attendance: 7,148 (244 away)