Oldham Athletic 1 MK Dons 2
George Baldock's first goal for the Club helped MK Dons secure a 2-1 victory at Boundary Park on Tuesday night.
Baldock's sweet strike from 25-yards along with a cool Izale McLeod finish put Karl Robinson's side in the driving seat in Greater Manchester but former Don Charlie MacDonald headed home a corner in the second half to set up a nervy finish.
The Dons, though, hung on bravely to secure an important three points and record their first Tuesday night away League victory of the season.
Following the news that Baldock had passed a late fitness test, manager Robinson named an unchanged starting XI for the trip to Boundary Park. Baldock was forced off during the second half on the weekend but was able to take up his place at right-back alongside the regular trio of Jordan Spence, Antony Kay and Dean Lewington.
And it was the 20-year-old's surging run forward from defence which almost led to the game’s first goal inside the opening minute but after finding midfielder Ben Reeves with a cross, the latter’s shot was well saved.
Then, two minutes later, Baldock was involved in another attack and unlike his team-mate he made no mistake with his shot to give the Dons the lead inside the first four minutes. The young right-back, who made his debut at Boundary Park three years ago, latched onto Stephen Gleeson’s blocked shot and hit a sweet right-footed strike past Mark Oxley and into the bottom corner to bag his first goal for the Football Club. 0-1.
It was just the start Robinson and his side wanted but Oldham, who ran the Dons close ten days ago at stadiummk, tried to hit back immediately through Gary Harkins and Jon Stead but both players saw their drilled shots claimed by David Martin.
Despite those two ventures forward, it was the Dons who looked in complete control and winger Daniel Powell was presented with a good opportunity to double their advantage on 12 minutes but he blasted his shot well wide of the target.
And, when the Dons did hit the target 11 minutes later, Oldham defender Connor Brown was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line; Antony Kay the man with the headed effort from a Reeves corner.
Down at the other end, Martin did well to rush off his line and smother at the feet of Stead before he denied the towering striker for a third time with a strong save from a drilled shot on 37 minutes.
And Martin’s double save proved all the more crucial in the 41st minute when Adam Lockwood misjudged Stephen Gleeson’s defence-splitting pass and McLeod cooly slotted past the on-rushing Oxley to double the visitor’s advantage before the interval. 0-2.
Oldham, to their credit, refused to drop their heads and on the brink of half-time Harkins fired a fierce shot into the side netting after shrugging off the attention of Spence inside the Dons penalty area.
There was still time, though, for Reeves to sting the palms of Oxley with a drilled shot from the edge of the D; in the end, the Latics ‘keeper did well to push the ball onto the post and away from the lurking McLeod.
Obviously unhappy with his team’s first-half performance, Oldham boss Lee Johnson made a triple substitute at half-time in an effort to revitalise his side and in the 57th minute they pulled a goal back courtesy of former Don MacDonald, who beat his former team-mate Martin with a bullet header from a corner. 1-2.
This prompted Robinson into making two changes of his own; Larnell Cole replaced Luke Chadwick to make his MK Dons debut and Ryan Hall came on in place of Daniel Powell.
Cole did go close to latching onto a cross from Lewington moments after coming on but the Fulham loanee spent the majority of his opening minutes as a Dons player, defending the right flank along with Baldock and Gleeson.
On 67 minutes, Spence bravely threw his body in the way of a Clarke-Harris shot after some good interplay between MacDonald and Harkins before the Dons threatened through Hall on the counter only for the winger to shoot straight at Oxley.
Hall then blasted over from 25-yards after Reeves’ corner was headed away by Clarke-Harris while Martin did well to save from MacDonald as the striker looked to turn and shoot inside the six-yard box soon after.
As the game entered it’s final few moments, Spence once again did well to block a Harkins corner at the near post with Hall having to head over from the resulting set-piece.
Robinson then introduced Alan Smith in order to help see his side over the line but shortly after his arrival, Oldham went mightily close to an equaliser through Harkin but his shot, while Martin was out of position having punched clear a cross, flew wide.
The Dons, though, did manage to hold on to the victory and as a result they close the gap on the play-off places to six points.
Oldham Athletic: Oxley, Brown, Grounds, Wesolowski, Dunfield (Dayton 46), Stead (Clarke-Harris 46), MacDonald, Wilson, Lockwood, Philliskirk (Winchester 46), Harkins.
Subs not used: Rachubka (GK), Mellor, Turner, Worrall.
Goal: MacDonald 57
MK Dons: Martin; Baldock, Kay, Spence, Lewington (c); Alli, Gleeson; Chadwick (Cole 59), Reeves, Powell (Hall 59); McLeod (Smith 89).
Subs not used: McLoughlin (GK), Odelusi.
Goals: Baldock 4, McLeod 41
Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham)
Attendance: 2,792 (54 away)