Report: Charlton Athletic 0-2 MK Dons
Goals in either half from Stuart O’Keefe and Harvey Barnes proved the difference but, in truth, it could have been more as they controlled proceedings from start to finish.
Paul Downing replaced the suspended George Williams while Darren Potter also returned in place of Kieran Agard, who started on the substitutes’ bench.
Looking to make it four unbeaten, the Dons started well and went ahead on six minutes when Stuart O’Keefe turned home from close range after Harvey Barnes’ deflected effort was saved by Declan Rudd.
The men from MK1 were comfortable – dangerous in attack and resolute in defence, with the hosts’ only foray forward ending with Ricky Holmes firing wide from 15 yards.
Robbie Neilson’s men continued to control proceedings as the game ticked towards the half-hour mark and Ed Upson almost doubled the lead but his shot was well blocked after good work by Robbie Muirhead down the right.
The Addicks responded with a shot from former Don Jake Forster-Caskey which flew well wide of the left-hand post from distance before Lee Nicholls comfortably gathered a Holmes cross.
With just over five minutes remaining of the half, the Dons went extremely close to making it 2-0 but O’Keefe was denied by a last-ditch block before Barnes’ rebound was deflected over.
The Leicester City loanee was tormenting Chris Solly but the latter was able to get a crucial touch to divert his effort narrowly past the post – the last chance of a Dons-dominated half.
Muirhead headed over the first opening of the second half after meeting Dean Lewington’s left-wing cross before Barnes’ dangerous delivery couldn’t find out a team-mate. Shortly afterwards, Muirhead narrowly curled over a 25-yard free-kick.
The Dons had been threatening a second and it arrived on 57 minutes when Barnes brilliantly found the bottom corner after magnificent work by Upson, who won the ball back, drove forward and gave it to the 19-year-old.
Kieran Agard was introduced in place of Muirhead as Neilson aimed to keep his side’s attacking threat fresh going into the final 15 minutes of a game his side were in control of. The creator of the second goal came close to scoring a third but Declan Rudd managed to claw away Upson’s deflected effort from 20 yards.
Shortly afterwards, Agard went even closer when he hit the post from a tight angle after initially bringing down O’Keefe’s clever ball over the top – would’ve been a superb goal.
A rare chance for Charlton saw Josh Magennis head over from close range with just over five minutes remaining but, in truth, the Dons were cruising and they did until the final whistle.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Baldock, Downing, Walsh, Lewington (c); Potter; Reeves (Brittain 90), Upson, O’Keefe (Bowditch 90+2), Barnes; Muirhead (Agard 74).
Unused subs: Burns (GK), Tilney, Bowditch, Ngombo, Maynard.
Goals: O’Keefe (6), Barnes (57).
Bookings: Downing, O’Keefe, Reeves.
Attendance: 10,943 (446 Dons fans).