MK Dons kicked off their Checkatrade Trophy Group G campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21s at Stadium
Goals in either half from Gboly Ariyibi and Aaron Tshibola earned the success for the men from MK1, who also hit the crossbar through Sam Nombe.
Robbie Neilson included a number of regular starters in his XI as well as youngsters Brandon Thomas-Asante and Nombe, who threatened on 12 minutes with a powerful run down the left.
The former also began quickly and he used his strength to hold off a series of challenges as the game ticked towards the 15-minute mark.
Shortly afterwards, Ariyibi couldn’t quite pick out George Williams before a mistake from Rob Sanchez gifted Thomas-Asante a chance but his shot was headed off the line by Josh Kerr as the Seagulls stopper scrambled back.
The Dons made Sanchez pay for another error on 31 minutes when Ariyibi robbed the keeper of possession, shifted the ball away from him and slotted into an empty net to give the Dons the lead.
Three minutes later, Williams directed Conor McGrandles’ pass into a dangerous area, however, it was just too far away from Robbie Muirhead.
There were headers at either end as the half drew to a close – Wieger Sietsma saved comfortably from Aaron Connolly before Tshibola nodded over from 12 yards.
Ariyibi forced a save from Sanchez after a clever run in the last real action of the first 45, while substitute Ryan Seager almost capitalised on a poor back-pass in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
Nombe then crashed a header against the crossbar after getting up well at the back post before Thomas-Asante brought a fine save from Sanchez as the Dons carried a greater attacking threat.
The pressure told on 66 minutes as the men from MK1 extended their lead courtesy of a coolly-taken penalty from Tshibola after Thomas-Asante had been fouled by Sanchez.
Hugo Logan came on for his Dons debut with just over 15 minutes remaining and his introduction was followed by that of Giorgio Rasulo as Neilson handed youngsters some game time.
The Dons continued to push for further goals and Seager forced Sanchez into a stop away to his right before Thomas-Asante saw a fierce goal-bound have the power taken out of it by a deflection.
Brighton almost reduced the arrears on 87 minutes when James Tilley hit the post from a free-kick but, in truth, the visitors never threatened the result and the Dons were comfortable winners.
Next up for Neilson' side in this competition is the visit of Stevenage at the end of September.
Starting XI: Sietsma; Williams, Downing, Cisse, Lewington (c); Ariyibi (Logan 73), McGrandles, Tshibola (Rasulo 78), Nombe; Thomas-Asante, Muirhead (Seager 53).
Unused subs: Nicholls, Ebanks-Landell, Jackson, Upson.
Goals: Ariyibi (32) & Tshibola (66).
Attendance: 1,541 (78 Brighton fans).