Report: MK Dons 3-2 Swindon Town
Maynard made it 3-1 with a fine finish after Kieran Agard’s brace had initially given the Dons a 2-0 lead before the Robins pulled goals back at 2-0 and 3-1.
Chuks Aneke replaced the injured Dean Bowditch as the Dons lined up in a 4-4-2 diamond formation.
Robbie Neilson’s side started firmly on the front-foot and Nicky Maynard went close to giving the hosts the advantage inside three minutes in with a glancing header.
The lively Maynard was again involved just six minutes later as the men from MK1 deservedly went in front – his stunning 20-yard strike cannoned back off the crossbar but Kieran Agard was on hand to head home from close range.
Shortly afterwards, Aneke’s sublime touch presented Maynard with an opportunity but he was crowded out before Agard was denied at the back post.
Unlike on Boxing Day, the Dons had taken advantage of their dominance – and they were looking like they could add to their tally every time they went forward.
Neilson’s side had limited Swindon to next to nothing, with their only opening coming midway through the half when Paul Downing blocked Luke Norris’ effort.
Just three minutes later, Agard doubled his and the Dons’ advantage when he finished from close range after good work from Aneke, who wriggled away from his marker and found his team-mate.
Provider almost turned goalscorer on 33 minutes as Aneke placed an effort just off target after meeting Ben Reeves’ cross from the left.
However, Swindon pulled one back completely against the run of play on 36 minutes – Norris stealing in at the back post to meet Darnell Furlong’s deliver, which David Martin wasn’t able to tip away.
The Dons’ two-goal advantage was almost restored immediately but Lawrence Vigoroux pushed over Maynard’s fierce volley, prior to Aneke shooting not too far wide from distance.
Only the crossbar denied Reeves making it 3-1 in injury-time at the end of the half after he had cut in from the left on to his less-favoured right and let fly from 25 yards.
At the start of the second half, a clever corner involving Reeves and Carruthers set up the former, who forced Jonathan Obika into a superb block as the Dons again went close to extending their lead.
They didn’t have to wait much longer to get that deserved third, though, and there was extra reason to cheer as Maynard grabbed his first goal of the season and the 100th of his career with a fine finish across Vigoroux.
Aneke curled just over as he looked to catch Vigoroux off his line just before the hour mark as the Dons threatened a fourth.
Against the run of play for the second time, Swindon reduced the arrears when Raphael Rossi Branco headed home a corner from 10 yards on 66 minutes.
At the other end, Maynard tested Vigoroux with a fine effort from the edge of the area after a stunning touch and turn had given him a shooting opportunity.
Swindon were growing in confidence and only two last-ditch blocks from Joe Walsh thwarted the visitors as they aimed to draw level for the first time.
Although not as strong as earlier in the game, the Dons still carried a threat going forward and it was Maynard again who forced Vigoroux into a save down to his left from 20 yards.
Dons’ No.28 left the field to a standing ovation on 88 minutes, and the Dons fans were on their feet once again in injury-time to applaud Martin, who pulled off a magnificent save to deny John Goddard and ensure a deserved three points.
Starting XI: Martin; GB Williams, Downing, Walsh, Lewington; Upson, Carruthers, Reeves, Aneke (Powell 69); Maynard (Tshimanga 88), Agard (Colclough 79).
Unused subs: Nicholls, Hendry, GC Williams.
Goals: Agard (9, 26), Maynard (54).
Attendance: 9,385 (1,087 Swindon fans).