Report: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Dons
Goals from Solly March and Jamie Murphy gave the hosts a 2-0 lead but the men from MK1 hit back through a superb individual effort from Nicky Maynard.
Whilst holding firm from then on at the back, Karl Robinson’s side pushed for an equaliser and went close through Samir Carruthers, who also appeared to be brought down in the box but the strong penalty appeals were waved away.
Kyle McFadzean returned after suspension while Daniel Powell and Carl Baker came in for Josh Murphy and Dean Bowditch.
March provided the hosts with the perfect start when he rifled home a fierce 20-yard drive on five minutes.
Former Don Sam Baldock dragged an effort wide shortly afterwards while, at the other end, Nicky Maynard threatened to catch the Seagulls on the counter-attack.
Maynard continued to look lively for the Dons, who were struggling to impose themselves offensively. At the other end, they were fortunate to see Tomer Hemed direct a header wide of the target when well placed on 16 minutes.
A fine finish from Jamie Murphy made it 2-0 three minutes later, the former Sheffield United man pouncing on a loose ball and firing low into the bottom corner.
The Dons were back in it shortly afterwards though, Maynard brilliantly losing his marker Lewis Dunk before instinctively firing a fine 25-yard drive past David Stockdale on 23 minutes.
Powell and Carruthers then shot wide in quick succession for a more-confident Dons, but the hosts were still looking threatening going forward themselves.
Brighton came close to extending their lead when Hemed hit the post with a fierce effort following good work from March.
The first chance of the second half fell to Baker, who fired wide as he tried to capitalise on a poor clearance from Stockdale.
Referee Dean Whitestone waved away strong appeals for a Dons penalty on 56 minutes when Carruthers appeared to be taken out in the box. Lewis Dunk seemed to get none of the ball and only the Dons midfielder.
Carruthers forced Stockdale into a smart stop away to his right on 61 minutes as the Dons enjoyed a good spell of pressure on the hosts’ goal.
Josh Murphy and Simon Church were both introduced to try and freshen up the Dons’ attack in the final 20 minutes, but it was goalscorer Maynard who was almost found by Bowditch on 78 minutes.
A dangerous delivery from Murphy had to be headed away and a Maynard shot well blocked as the men from MK1 pushed for a leveller while, at the other end, substitute Elvis Manu curled over.
Starting XI: Martin; Spence, Kay, McFadzean, Lewington (c); Potter, Poyet; Carruthers (Murphy 70), Baker (Church 78), Powell (Bowditch 46); Maynard.
Unused subs: Cropper, Hodson, Hall, Gallagher.
Bookings: McFadzean, Murphy.
Goals: Maynard (23).
Attendance: 23,661 (635 Dons fans).
Referee: Dean Whitestone