Report: MK Dons 3-2 Gillingham8,807 (650 Gillingham fans).Attendance:
Williams (2), Bowditch. Booking:
Muirhead (5), Barnes (10), Lewington (90+1). Goals:
Burns, Brittain, Ngombo, Maynard. Unused subs:
Nicholls; Williams, Walsh, Lewington (c); Upson (Potter 69); Baldock, O’Keefe, Barnes, Reeves (Downing 90+2); Agard (Bowditch 70), Muirhead. Starting XI:
In the wild celebrations, Dack was shown his marching orders for the visitors so both sides ended with 10 but the Dons, crucially, left with the points.
However, the Dons didn’t let that deter them and they restored their lead almost immediately, captain Lewington flicking Reeves’ free-kick over Holy and into the back of the net.
Gillingham looked to have rescued in the final minute when Wright turned home at the second attempt after his penalty had been superbly saved by Nicholls. Williams was shown a second yellow card for the foul and was subsequently sent off.
Reeves threatened before really testing Holy with just over five minutes remaining – substitute Dean Bowditch couldn’t turn home the rebound from 12 yards.
Substitute Darren Potter’s first involvement was a vital one as he diverted Mark Byrne’s effort off target before Williams redeemed himself at the second attempt after an initial mis-hit clearance.
Agard was again thwarted midway through the half when he met Barnes’ dangerous cross from the right while, at the other end, Nicholls brilliantly denied McDonald and Gillingham a second.
The Dons responded with a purposeful run from Barnes, who looked for one of the two strikers but they were denied by Max Ehmer on the edge of the box.
Ten minutes into the half, the Gills reduced the arrears when McDonald expertly flicked Martin’s cross into the far corner to give the visitors hope.
The Dons’ first opportunity of the second half fell to Stuart O’Keefe, who dragged his shot off target from 20 yards on his less-favoured left foot.
However, it was Adrian Pennock’s men who came closest to the next goal but Lee Martin fired wide after McDonald had challenged Nicholls from a cross.
Neilson’s side dominated the half and deservedly were 2-0 up at the break – a lead they would be looking to extend in the second 45.
It really should have been 3-0 10 minutes before the break but George Baldock and Agard, twice, were denied by Holy as the visitors somehow kept out the men from MK1.
Dack came close to pulling one back midway through the first half but his curling 25-yard effort deflected just past the post.
Things got even better for a confident Dons 10 minutes in – Barnes finished with aplomb from 15 yards after Kieran Agard had flicked on George Williams’ pass.
However, there was nothing Holy could do on five minutes when Muirhead turned away from his marker and arrowed a stunning 25-yard effort into the top left-hand corner – not a bad way to break your duck!
They started quickly and Muirhead tested Tomas Holy in the opening minutes after cutting back smartly on to his right foot.
Lee Nicholls replaced the injured David Martin in goal for the clash with the Gills as the Dons looked to make it six wins from nine at Stadium MK.
Both sides finished with 10 men, too, as George Williams and Bradley Dack were shown their marching orders for two yellow cards each.
However, the skipper headed home in stoppage-time to earn Robbie Neilson’s side an important three points, which moves them eight points clear of the bottom four and only one win from the top half.
Goals from Robbie Muirhead and Harvey Barnes had the men from MK1 in the driving seat after 10 minutes but the Gills hit back through Cody McDonald and Josh Wright, who levelled in the final minute of normal time.
Captain Dean Lewington scored a dramatic injury-time winner as MK Dons won a five-goal thriller at Stadium MK.