The Dons gave their fans the perfect Christmas present with an entertaining 2-1 win over Cardiff City at stadiummk.
Craig Noone levelled matters with 10 minutes remaining, but Josh Murphy won it for Karl Robinson’s side in the 90th minute when he burst past his marker and finished into the opposite corner.
Murphy replaced Dean Bowditch for the Boxing Day bout with the Bluebirds, while Simon Church returned to the bench in place of Diego Poyet, who picked up an injury in training.
Dean Lewington and Antony Kay put in two good challenges to deny the lively Sammy Ameobi early on while, at the other end, Murphy couldn’t quite latch on to Samir Carruthers’ almost perfect through-ball.
Lewington was again in the right place at the right time on 13 minutes, turning Scott Malone’s dangerous delivery behind for a corner in front of the lurking Kenwyne Jones.
The Dons threatened through Ben Reeves but he couldn’t get on the end of Carruthers’ pass back to him, before Jordan Spence had to divert Anthony Pilkington’s right-wing cross away from danger.
Tony Watt was proving to be a menace for the Bluebirds and he made space for himself with some fancy footwork before, fortunately for the Dons, over-running the ball behind for a goal-kick.
There was a chance at either end just past the 25-minute mark – Nicky Maynard saw a shot blocked after gathering and racing goalwards prior to Aron Gunnarsson being brilliantly denied by David Martin after getting in down the left.
Martin made another good stop on the half-hour, getting down well to push away Malone’s low drive from 15 yards.
McFadzean followed that up with a superb block on the stroke of half-time as the visitors found space down the left, culminating in a shot from Malone.
The Dons started the second half the better of the two teams and hit the front on 49 minutes when Maynard received a pass from Carruthers and drove an effort across David Marshall from 20 yards.
That goal gave the Dons more zip to their attacking play, while they were also holding firm at the back as Cardiff looked for an equaliser.
The visitors’ best chance of the second half came on 66 minutes and fell to Gunnarson, who scooped his effort over the top after Watt had recycled a cross from the left.
Craig Noone levelled matters on 81 minutes, and in some style too – the substitute curling a fine effort into the top left-hand corner from 20 yards.
The Dons almost restored their lead on 86 minutes but McFadzean saw his powerful header cleared off the line by Jones.
Maynard and substitute Carl Baker were both then denied by superb last-ditch blocks as the men from MK1 really pushed for a winner.
However, Murphy won it in the final minute of normal time, beating a Cardiff defender for pace and then driving an effort across goal and past Marshall.
Exciting finish, now to Birmingham City on Monday!
MK Dons: Martin; Spence, Kay, McFadzean, Lewington (c); Potter, Carruthers; Hall (Baker 69), Reeves (Bowditch 90+3), Murphy, Murphy; Maynard (Gallagher 89).
Unused subs: Cropper, Hodson,Powell, Church.
Bookings: Kay, McFadzean.
Goals: Maynard (49), Murphy (90).
Referee: Iain Williamson
Attendance: 12,510 (1,240 Cardiff City fans).