Report: Dons 2-1 Fleetwood Town
Kyle McFadzean’s strike cancelled out David Ball’s opener, before Benik Afobe scored from the penalty spot to secure the success, a result which moved them up to 4th and just three points behind second-placed Peterborough United with two games in hand.
Darren Potter and Will Grigg replaced Mark Randall and Afobe in the starting line-up for the visit of the Cod Army.
Dele Alli flashed the first effort of the game wide of target inside the opening 60 seconds after cutting in from the left-hand side before, at the other end, the Dons cleared away a couple of dangerous Fleetwood crosses.
Ben Reeves fired a shot just past the right-hand post from 20 yards prior to Dean Bowditch seeing a similar-range effort deflect behind for a corner.
Chris Maxwell had to be at his best to tip over Alli’s fierce 30-yard drive on 11 minutes as Karl Robinson’s side did most of the early running.
The men from MK1 continued to probe for the opening goal and Alli, looking imperious alongside the assured Potter in central midfield, almost met Jordan Spence’s right-wing delivery on the penalty spot.
Referee Gavin Ward waved away strong penalty appeals as the midway point of the first half approached when Grigg seemed to be pushed just as he was about to connect with Dean Lewington’s cross from the left.
The Dons’ next chance fell to Bowditch, who drove wide from 20 yards on 26 minutes after being picked out by the lively Reeves.
Reeves’ in-swinging corner caused a problem for the Fleetwood defence five minutes later but none of his team-mates could get the vital touch.
Maxwell made a magnificent save to deny Bowditch finding the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box on 38 minutes, diving away to his left and pushing the almost-perfect effort away to safety.
That proved to be Bowditch’s involvement as an injury forced him to be replaced by Samir Carruthers three minutes before half-time, a first 45 which the Dons had dominated in terms of possession and territorial advantage.
The Dons began the second half like they ended the first – on the frontfoot – and Daniel Powell fired an effort just over the top after some neat build-up play on 47 minutes.
Totally against the run of play, Fleetwood took the lead on 52 minutes when David Ball beat the offside trap, controlled Conor McLaughlin’s through-ball and expertly chipped the ball over David Martin from 25 yards.
The Dons responded through Carruthers, who struck a 20-yard effort just wide of the left-hand upright.
They didn’t have to wait much longer to be back on level terms, though, as McFadzean goal-bound effort from the edge of the box deflected over Maxwell and into the back of the Fleetwood net on 61 minutes.
Carruthers curled a shot not too far wide shortly afterwards as the Dons pushed for the advantage while, at the other end, Martin ensured the hosts remained at 1-1 with an excellent save to deny Jamie Proctor. Lewington was in the right place at the right time to clear the danger with Ball lurking.
Substitute Afobe, on for Grigg, put the Dons 2-1 up on 84 minutes from the spot, sending Maxwell the wrong way for his 12th goal of the season, after Carruthers had been fouled by Gareth Evans.
Potter picked up a perfect position to clear Josh Morris’ cross in the dying embers of the game as the Dons saw comfortably out the six minutes of added time.
Starting XI: Martin; Spence, Kay, McFadzean (Flanagan 78), Lewington (c); Potter, Alli; Powell, Reeves, Bowditch (Carruthers 42; Grigg.
Subs: McLoughlin, Randall, Baker, Hitchcock, Afobe.
Goals: McFadzean (61), Afobe (84).