MK Dons progressed through to the Checkatrade Trophy knockout stage as Group G winners after overcoming Oxford United in a seven-goal thriller at the Kassam Stadium.
In an entertaining affair, Robbie Neilson's ensured they finished top of their group resulting in a home tie in the next stage of the competition.
Brandon Thomas-Asante opened the scoring for the Dons before a Jack Payne double put the hosts in front. The first-half action wasn't finished there, however, as Gboly Ariyibi netted twice before the half was over.
Rob Hall equalised in the second-half but shortly after Ryan Seager struck to secure the win.
Neilson opted to make six changes from Friday’s Emirates FA Cup round One victory over Hyde United with Wieger Siestma, Dean Lewington, Scott Wootton, Aryibi, Robbie Muirhead and Thomas-Asante replacing Lee Nicholls, Callum Brittain, Chuks Aneke, Kieran Agard, Alex Gilbey and Joe Walsh.
With Sam Nombe and Conor McGrandles both suspended for the tie and Brittain on international duty, there were also places in the squad for academy graduates Giorgio Rasulo, Hugo Logan and David Kasumu.
The first chance of the game fell the way of Seager. The forward’s quick feet saw him escape John Mousinho before Simon Eastwood saved his curling left-footed strike.
Sietsma was then called into action twice in quick succession. The Dutchman first denied Rothwell before then saving well from Obika’s powerful strike on
From the resulting corner, Siestma started a free-flowing counter attack resulting in Ed Upson having his shot deflected behind for a corner. The midfielder’s found an unmarked Thomas-Asante before the 18-year-old hammered home from six-yards ten minutes into the tie. 0-1
Siestma continued to frustrate the hosts this time the shot-stopper produced an acrobatic save to tip over Payne’s goal-bound effort. Dons were lucky to keep there lead from Rothwell’s corner as Obika’s header found the outside of the post from close range.
Aidan Nesbitt came within inches of recreating his wonderful goal against Hyde United. The forward received the ball from Dean Lewington before curling his strike just wide of Eastwood’s far post.
Oxford threatened to equalise through Jack Payne, but Ethan Ebanks-Landell was there to block his driven effort before Fernandez fired over from just outside the box. The defender then saw his header saved after Upson found the defender at the back post.
Ed Upson received the first booking of the game after his foul on Payne.
On 33 minutes, Oxford drew level. Jack Payne’s mazy run resulted in the winger cutting in from the left before he found the near corner from the edge of the area. 1-1.
Lewington was booked for his foul on Hall.
Four minutes later the home side were then given the chance to take the lead for the first time in the tie after Rob Hall was fouled inside the box by Dean Lewington - Payne stepped up and converted past Sietsma. 1-2.
Almost immediately, Dons drew back level. Robbie Muirhead’s picked out Gboly Ariyibi unmarked on the edge of the box before the winger’s curling left-footed strike found the back of the net. 2-2
Fernandez was the first player to pick up a booking after fouling Pawlett – who had come on in place of Nesbitt
A minute before the half-time whistle Ariyibi scored his second of the evening. The American combined with Thomas-Asante on the edge of the box before tucking the ball past Eastwood and into the back of the net to give Dons the lead at the break. 2-3.
It took until the hour mark for the first chance of the second-half, Upson forcing Eastwood into a smart save from his 30-yard free-kick.
Just four minutes later and Oxford were back level. Hall picked up the ball on the right wing before cutting onto his left-foot. The winger then curled his strike beyond Sietsma. 3-3
The lead lasted just a minute, however, as Pawlett and Seager combined well inside the box before the latter found the back of the net to put Dons back in front. 3-4
Thomas-Asante and Scott Wootton were next to be booked as the game reached the final 20 minutes.
Academy graduate Hugo Logan made his way onto the field in place of Wootton with 10 minutes left to play.
Agard looked to have won a penalty but referee Chris Sarginson waved play on once again - the striker was booked for his protests.
The men from MK1 put in a mature closing 10 minutes to see the game out and book their place in the next round of the competition.
Starting XI: Sietsma; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Wootton (Logan 79), Lewington (c); Upson; Ariyibi, Thomas-Asante, Nesbitt (Pawlett 60), Muirhead; Seager (Agard 67)
Unused subs: Nicholls, Aneke, Rasulo, Kasumu
Goals: Thomas-Asante (10), Ariyibi (40, 45), Seager (66)
Booked: Lewington, Wootton, Upson, Thomas-Asante
Attendance: 1,182 (101 away)