MK Dons Under-18s progressed to the next stage of the Football League Youth Alliance Cup after their 4-2 win over Luton Town on Saturday.
A brace from Dele Alli and a goal each from Will Summerfield and Giorgio Rasulo helped the Dons to their third win in the competition and saw them through as runners-up behind Northampton Town.
Alli and Rasulo along with Brendan Galloway and Harry Hickford had travelled with the first team to Cambridge City on the Friday night but were available for selection in a side that saw only one change, with Jake Lloyd coming in for the injured Mason Spence.
Buoyant after their FA Youth Cup victory in mid-week, the Dons started brightly, knowing that they needed a win to stand a chance of qualifying.
Despite controlling proceedings early on, Dove’s side had goalkeeper Charlie Burns to thank after the Dons goalie pulled off several smart saves early on to keep the scores goalless.
The U-18s almost took the lead in the 15th minute when Mo Ahmed played a neat one-two with Galloway before losing his footing as he was about to pull the trigger.
However, three minutes later, the Dons did open the scoring thanks to the impressive Alli who, after exchanging multiple passes with Rasulo, cooly slotted past the Luton ‘keeper to put the vistors ahead.
The goal seemed to inspire the hosts who saw an effort hit the bar before Burns once again made a strong stop to prevent the Bedfordshire-club from pulling level.
Luton were then handed a great chance to find an equaliser, after they were awarded a penalty for a handball on Jon Osae.
Burns, though, had other ideas and confidently saved Jerome Jibudo’s spot-kick before reacting quickly to block the follow-up to cap off an excellent first half for the young goalie.
The Dons were arguably fortunate to head into the break with a lead and their manager Dove was keen to remind them that they needed to step up their performance if they were to win the game and progress in the competition.
His side responded immediately and almost doubled their lead through Alli, but the midfielder’s shot cannoned back off the bar minutes after the restart.
The Dons were then made to pay for that miss in the 50th minute when a cross from the left was well controlled by Luton’s Zane Banton, who took one touch before wrong-footing Burns to make it 1-1.
However, this didn’t faze the boys from MK1 and they regained the lead nine minutes later through Summerfield, after the winger managed to get in front of two defenders and turn the ball in.
That lead lasted only two minutes though, as Luton pulled it back to 2-2 thanks to a terrific goal from Arel Amu, who hit a sweetly struck tight-angled shot past Burns and into the bottom corner.
Despite being pegged back for the second time, the Dons continued to work hard and put pressure on the Luton backline in the hope of finding a winner.
And they were rewarded in 74th minute after a terrific solo run from Rasulo saw him end up deep inside the Town penalty area and the 15-year-old striker managed to direct his shot into the net, with some help from a defender on the line.
The sixth goal of a very entertaining match came with ten minutes left when Alli was tripped in the box after skilfully taking on three Luton defenders.
The 16-year-old picked himself to take the penalty and he made no mistakes from 12-yards and smashed the ball home to send the Dons into the next round.
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns; Lloyd (Tilney 60), Hickford, Galloway, Osae; Grant, Alli; Ahmed (c); Rasulo, Osei-Addo (Tshimanga 72), Summerfield.
Subs: King (GK), Weston, Vaughan.