MK Dons won the opening game of their Checkatrade Trophy Group F campaign after a penalty shoot-out victory over Barnet at Stadium MK.
Second-year scholar Brandon Thomas-Asante fired home the winning spot-kick after a 2-2 draw at the end of 90 minutes – Ben Reeves opened the scoring in normal time and Joe Walsh ensured the game went to penalties.
Karl Robinson named a strong side for the clash with the Bees as he made just four changes from Saturday’s Sky Bet League One fixture against Peterborough United.
The Dons started strongly and visiting keeper Josh Vickers was called into action inside the opening three minutes, pushing away Daniel Powell’s effort – Ben Reeves put the rebound wide.
Vickers then gathered a dangerous Dean Bowditch delivery before Powell took on a chance which had initially been made by Nicky Maynard’s movement, but the former had just strayed offside.
The flag again denied Powell on 10 minutes as he latched on to a clever ball forward from Dean Lewington, while some last-ditch defending from Bondz N’Gala denied Maynard the opener on the Dons’ next attack.
Their pressure was rewarded on 17 minutes when Reeves rifled an unstoppable 25-yard effort into the top left-hand corner – some way to mark your first start of the season!
Barnet threatened for the first time on 25 minutes when John Akinde flicked on into a dangerous area but Curtis Weston was unable to reach it at the back post.
Normal service was resumed shortly afterwards as Powell was thwarted as he entered the penalty area before Reeves fired narrowly wide from 25 yards.
Shortly afterwards, Reeves stung the palms of Vickers with a fierce 25-yard strike as he almost grabbed his and the Dons’ second.
The last real action of a Dons-dominated half saw George Baldock drill an effort just wide of the right-hand corner from 20 yards.
It should have been 2-0 at the start of the second period but Powell couldn’t beat Vickers, who did well to push away the winger’s effort after he had broken into the penalty area.
Lee Nicholls saved well twice in quick succession to deny Curtis Weston and Akinde, but there was nothing he could do on 62 minutes as Alex Nicholls fired into an empty net after the Dons’ keeper had initially come out to deny Justin Amaluzor.
Barnet went in front 10 minutes later when Weston turned home Akinde’s flick-down from 12 yards, leaving the Dons with an uphill task to get back into it.
Joe Walsh levelled matters with 82 minutes on the clock when he glanced a header into the far corner from Bowditch’s in-swinging free-kick.
Darren Potter then helped Brandon Thomas-Asante’s cross into the danger area, only for it to be cleared at the back post.
Shortly afterwards, second-year scholar Thomas Asante curled a 20-yard effort just past the right-hand post and Dean Lewington forced a save from Vickers as the Dons went in search of a winner.
With the first chance of the 90 minutes, the lively Thomas-Asante came within inches of finding the top corner and, most probably, all three points with a rasping 25-yard strike but it whistled just over the top.
The new format means a draw at full-time sees a penalty shoot-out, with an extra point up for grabs for the winning side.
This is how the spot-kicks unfolded - Dons took first...
Bowditch - scored
Walsh - scored
Powell - scored
Maynard - scored
Thomas-Asante - scored
Weston - scored
Nicholls - scored
Nelson - scored
Akpa Akpro - missed
Youngster Thomas-Asante scored the winning spot-kick as the Dons ran out 5-3 victors in the shoot-out after a 2-2 draw.
Starting XI Nicholls; Baldock (GB Williams 54), Walsh, Wootton (Jackson 65), Lewington (c); Potter, Carruthers; Bowditch, Reeves (Thomas-Asante 62), Powell; Maynard.
Unused subs: Burns, Tilney, Brittain, Jackson, Rasulo.
Goals: Reeves (17), Walsh (82).