MK Dons recorded a first victory over AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Friday evening.
A first-half own goal from George Francomb, Gboly Ariyibi's third goal in two games and a penalty save from Lee Nicholls ensured the deserved triumph.
Ousseynou Cisse and Ryan Seager returned in the place of Ed Upson (hip) and Aidan Nesbitt, while Ethan Ebanks-Landell was back on the substitutes’ bench.
Neilson’s men had started strongly and they were comfortably dealing with what AFC Wimbledon had to offer at the other end, which included a couple of important clearances from Scott Wootton and a superb challenge from George Williams.
Sow was leading the line in impressive fashion and the only way he could be stopped on 18 minutes was by a foul from Anthony Hartigan, who was subsequently deservedly shown a yellow card.
There was a competitive edge from both sides as the game approached the midway point of the first half, but there was a greater edge in terms of the scoreline on 27 minutes.
A purposeful run forward from Golbourne created the opportunity and, after the hosts were unable to deal with the left-back’s cross, Ariyibi made no mistake from 12 yards – his fifth goal of the season.
Williams and Wootton combined on 33 minutes to deny substitute Cody McDonald reaching Lyle Taylor’s cross and ensure the score remained at 2-0.
At the other end, Cisse lifted an effort over the top before Sow was just beaten to it by George Francomb after brilliant work down the left by Aaron Tshibola.
The Dons survived a scare on 44 minutes when Deji Oshilaja headed Dean Parrett’s clever free-kick against the crossbar at the back post.
Lee Nicholls’ first save of the evening came on 48 minutes, tipping over Taylor’s effort after Andy Bircham had kept a right-wing cross alive.
Taylor and Bircham both fired off target as AFC Wimbledon enjoyed their best spell with the game now approaching the hour mark.
The hosts were given a lifeline on 64 minutes when referee Mike Jones adjudged Golbourne to have handled in the box but Nicholls was up to the task, brilliantly keeping out Taylor’s penalty.
Neilson’s men countered on 70 minutes but the busy Seager mis-hit his effort from Brittain’s delivery before brilliant play from Ariyibi set up substitute Robbie Muirhead, who was denied by a magnificent save from George Long.
Shortly afterwards, Gilbey saw a fierce shot saved prior to Ariyibi almost getting in but Barry Fuller got back well to head behind for a corner.
In terms of defending their lead, the Dons were remaining extremely resolute throughout the team with every player putting in a committed performance.
Nicholls more than played his part, too, and the No.1 made a stunning stop on 90 minutes to deny McDonald and ensure the three points.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain, Wootton, Williams, Golbourne; Ariyibi, Gilbey, Cisse, Tshibola (Ebanjs-Landell 87); Seager (Agard 71), Sow (Muirhead 66).
Unused subs: Sietsma, Lewington, McGrandles, Nesbitt.
Goals: Seager (6), Ariyibi (27).
Bookings: Tshibola, Muirhead.
Away attendance: 263 Dons fans.