MK Dons moved top of the Sky Bet League Two table courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Macclesfield Town at Stadium MK.
Chuks Aneke opened the scoring for Paul Tisdale’s men early in the second half with his 10th goal of the season before Kieran Agard maintained his fine goalscoring run and doubled the advantage 13 minutes later, securing the points in the process.
Boss Tisdale was forced into one change with Joe Walsh unavailable for selection following the injury he sustained in midweek. Jordan Moore-Taylor, who had been sidelined with an injury of his own, returned in his place.
After a well-observed minute’s silence to mark the recent Armistice Centenary, MK Dons started bright and earned themselves a corner just two minutes in. Dean Lewington’s delivery was met by the head of Baily Cargill but his effort deflected wide off a teammate.
Soon after, Aneke got on the end of deep cross and headed back into the path of Agard, who was just beaten to the ball by Fiacre Kelleher.
Macclesfield then offered their first threat as Elliott Durrell fired a right-footed shot into the mix which was blocked by the stomach of Moore-Taylor. His defensive partner Cargill then slid in to block a low shot from Ben Stephens.
Stephens later got his head to a cross from Harry Smith but glanced the ball wide of the target before Aneke sent a looping effort into the arms of Kieran O’Hara at the other end of the pitch - Aneke’s chance created after an excellent forward pass from Cargill.
Another opportunity fell the way of Aneke in the 23rd minute, after Brittain nodded down a ball forward from Gilbey. The MK Dons number 10 collected the pass and drilled ferociously over the crossbar.
Healey then went close to a stunning open goal as he sent a volley agonisingly wide of the post from the edge of the area. A terrific strike which deserved to find its way into the net.
Shortler after, Macclesfield were presented with a glorious chance to break the deadlock as Stephens pounced on a loose pass. His long-range effort, though, was straight at Nicholls.
MK Dons had the ball in the net on 27 minutes but were denied by the linesman’s flag - Agard adjudged to have been in an offside position as he collected a through pass and cooly finished beyond O’Hara.
On the half-hour, Cargill met another corner from the right and forced O’Hara into a save. Stephens then wasted another excellent opportunity for the visitors as he failed to direct his close-range header past Nicholls.
Danny Whitaker curled an effort over the bar two minutes later before Moore-Taylor saw an ambitious long-range deflect wide of the left-hand upright. From the resulting corner, O’Hara collected a header from Williams which needed a touch from a Dons shirt in the six-yard box.
MK Dons came back again and Aneke almost set up Agard inside the area but the latter saw the ball nicked off his toes at the crucial moment. Agard then tried to return the favour to Aneke but saw his pass intercepted.
The pressure remained and Tisdale’s men threatened again through Jordan Houghton, whose drive towards the near post was saved well by O’Hara. MK Dons then had a second goal disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper - Williams the man whose goal it was that was chalked off.
Macclesfield tried to edge in front just before the break but Durrell’s low drive was blocked brilliantly by Cargill.
MK Dons started the second half on the front foot with Agard and Aneke both going close - the latter firing wide from a tight angle after gathering a loose ball in the box.
Nicholls was then called into action to gather a first-time effort from Whitaker before Brittain produced a save out of O’Hara from 25 yards. Gilbey also tried his luck from distance, after a driving run forward from the half-way line bit he couldn’t find the target with his right foot.
It took until the 52nd minute but MK Dons finally broke the deadlock courtesy of their leading marksman Aneke. He took his total for the season into double figures in some style, collecting a ball on the edge of the area, moving it onto his left foot and then curling a delightful effort beyond the outstretched arm of O’Hara into the far corner. 1-0.
Tisdale’s side went about extending their lead straight from kick-off but Brittain couldn’t keep his effort down. A neat flick from Agard shortly afterwards almost caught out O’Hara but the Silkmen stopper saved.
In the 56th minute, Willams’ low cross was blocked at the near post moments before Aneke fired wide when in search of his second goal. Macclesfield then offered a reminder of their attacking threat with Michael Rose drilling just wide of goal from distance.
Aneke tried to replicate his earlier goal from the edge of the D but, with his right-foot this time, sent the effort high and wide.
It was up to Aneke’s strike partner, Agard, to double the advantage and, in turn, net in his fourth successive game. The in-from striker beat the offside trap to latch onto Gilbey’s brilliant through pass and then, after moving into space inside the area, sent a low shot under O’Hara for 2-0.
That was Agard’s last involvement as he was replaced by Lawson D’Ath. Aneke was also withdrawn, with 17-year-old Dylan Asonganyi on in his absence.
Macclesfield, despite being down two goals, remained a threat on the attack and had anyone been in support of Smith up top, they may have found themselves on the scoresheet from his header across goal. Arthur also threatened but dragged his low shot wide of the target.
MK Dons rode the storm and began to assert their dominance once again. Asongnayi went agonisingly close to adding a third with a rifled effort which flew just over the crossbar, following some dedicated work from Healey.
Tisdale's men then saw out the remainder of the contest with relative ease to secure the points to send them above Lincoln City in the table.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Williams, Moore-Taylor, Cargill; Brittain, Gilbey, Houghton, Lewington; Healey (Simpson 88), Aneke (Asonganyi 71), Agard (D’Ath 67).
Unused subs: Moore, Watson, Hancox, McGrandles.
Goals: Aneke (52), Agard (65)
Booked: Cargill, Lewington
Attendance: 7,087 (237 away)
Referee: A Marriner