Stevenage 2 MK Dons 3
Dean Lewington scored in stoppage time as MK Dons fought back from two-goals down to beat Stevenage 3-2 on Saturday.
The men from MK1 looked down and out at half-time following a disappointing first-half display but three goals in the final twenty minutes from Jordan Spence, Ben Reeves and skipper Lewington earned the Dons a vital three points on a memorable afternoon in Hertfordshire.
The result saw the Dons close the gap on the top-six to three points,, with just eight games remaining in their Sky Bet League 1 campaign.
Manager Robinson, without Stephen Gleeson due to suspension, was able to recall leading goalscorer Reeves to the starting XI after the midfielder recovered from a hamstring injury. Also returning to the side was winger Daniel Powell, who missed the defeat to Peterborough United last weekend due to illness.
After a competitive opening 7 minutes, Stevenage winger Luke Freeman registered the first shot on target with a low drive from distance which David Martin was able to watch all the way into his arms.
Dele Alli then tried his luck with a 25-yard shot which he bent round Chris Day’s right-hand upright before Francois Zoko drilled harmlessly wide after cutting inside from the near touchline.
Despite the two half-chances from the hosts it was the Dons who looked the better of the two sides early on but in the 17th minute they fell behind courtesy of Dean Parrett, who was able to latch onto Freeman’s neat flick-on and beat Martin at his near post with a well-struck left-footed shot.
Stevenage then went close to a second from Jimmy Smith’s corner but both Antony Kay and Lewington blocked fierce shots inside their own six-yard box before Daniel Powell was able to clear.
In the 27th minute, Freeman forced Martin into another strong save after managing to squeeze a shot through a crowd of players; the Dons ‘keeper doing well, having seen the shot late, to get his body in the way and block.
Reeves, who had been kept quiet in his first game back from injury, then showed great skill to work his way into the Boro box and drill a low ball across goal but Powell, at the far post, couldn’t react quick enough and Curtis Obeng managed to turn behind.
From the resulting corner, Stevenage were able to clear and they came close to doubling their advantage through Darius Charles but his cross-cum-shot was well cleared off the line by Spence.
Then, just a minute later, Boro did add to their tally and it came courtesy of a Lucas Akins penalty after Antony Kay was adjudged to have fouled Curtis Obeng inside the box. There were little complaints, if any, from any of the Dons players once Mr. Graham awarded the spot kick and Akins was able to blast his shot past the outstretched arm of Martin and extend the hosts’ lead.
It could have got worse for the Dons in the 38th minute when both Martin and Spence failed to deal with a long ball into the box but fortunately Baldock was in the right place at the right time to clear Zoko’s shot off the line with his head and keep the score at 2-0.
The Dons did push for a goal which could take them into the half-time break with something to build on but it was Stevenage and Zoko who went go closest in stoppage time with a far post header which sailed over the bar.
Robinson made two changes at the break in an effort to revitalise his team with Dean Bowditch and James Loveridge coming on in place of Daniel Powell and Izale McLeod respectively.
Loveridge, who joined the Dons on a month’s loan earlier in the week, was making his senior debut at the age of 19 and he went close to marking that achievement with a goal but his fierce volley flew agonisingly over the bar.
The men from MK1 looked eager to make up for their disappointing first-half showing and shortly after Loveridge’s effort Alli hit the inside of the post with a fine low shot which had beaten Boro ‘keeper Day.
The Dons continued their dominance into the 55th minute when Smith failed to hit the target after Reeves had picked him out with a cutback before a lengthy stoppage – due to an injury to Dean Parrett - halted their momentum.
That was only momentarily, however, as soon after the re-start both Alli and Sanmi Odelusi went close with left-footed shots.
In the 78th minute, Baldock tried to continue his fine goal-scoring record away from home with a drilled shot which was well palmed away before Alli was denied from close-range by another strong save from Day.
You could sense that a Dons goal was close and eventually, with nine minutes on the clock, defender Spence was able to fight through a goalmouth scramble and pull a goal back with a shot from inside the six-yard box.
It was nothing less than the Dons deserved for their spirited second-half display and just two minutes later they drew level courtesy of one of the goals of the season from Reeves.
Collecting the ball 30-yards from goal, the 22-year-old took a touch before firing an unstoppable shot beyond Day and into the top corner to set up an interesting last five minutes.
The Dons weren't done there, though, and in the fifth minute of stoppage time they completed the most dramatic of comebacks.
Reeves, who moments earlier had scored the Dons' equaliser, curled an in-swinging corner towards the far post and Dons 'skipper Dean Lewington climbed highest to head past Day and salvage a crucial three points for Robinson's men.
Stevenage (3-5-2): Day; Dembele, Ashton (c), Obeng; Akins (Morais 90), Mousinho, Smith, Parrett (Doughty 64), Freeman; Charles (Burrow 90), Zoko.
Subs not used: Arnold (GK), Wedgbury, Reid, Hartley.
Goals: Parrett 17, Akins 35 (pen)
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Baldock, Spence, Kay, Lewington (c); Smith, Alli; Powell (Bowditch 46), Reeves, Odelusi (Galloway 72); McLeod (Loveridge 46).
Subs not used: Burns (GK), Randall, Rasulo, Hall.
Goals: Spence 81, Reeves 84, Lewington 90
Referee: Mr F Graham
Attendance: 3,027 (580 away)