Dylan Asonganyi’s first-half goal was enough for MK Dons to earn a 1-0 victory over Luton Town and return to the top of the Central League South table.
The young striker struck 19 minutes in to earn the Dons a seventh win of the campaign although they were made to work in a competitive match against Luton Town.
Edu Rubio fielded a youthful side which included five of the Dons’ young professionals, including Brandon Thomas-Asante and Sam Nombe who were both eligible to feature despite being on loan away from the Club.
The game took a while to get going, with only one shooting chance inside the opening 10 minutes - Luton midfielder Drew Richardson firing wide with a left-footed shot from the edge of the area.
Thomas-Asante was the first Dons player to test the Luton goalkeeper, doing so with a fierce drive from 18-yards out which the experienced Marek Stech kept out with a dive to his left.
They wouldn’t test Stech again until the 19th minute and when they did, they took the lead. Jenson Wright created the goal with a terrific through pass to Asonganyi, who created room for a shot inside the area and then wrong-footed the Hatters keeper with a low finish into the net. 1-0.
Stech almost handed the Dons a second moments later but he was able to gather on the line after dropping Matthew Sorinola’s corner.
He then watched on as his opposite number, Alfie Jones, produced a stunning diving save to deny Josh Neufville - the Luton striker’s effort was diverted onto the crossbar by the fingertips of a full-stretch Jones.
Sam Nombe and Wright both went close to doubling the lead shortly after while Jones kept out Josh Boorn at the other end of the pitch.
Thomas-Asante then had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for a foul by the attacker in the build-up. Tapp had found Thomas-Asante with a superb ball forward from the back and he had finished brilliantly around Stech into the far corner - but not after nudging his marker over unfairly moments earlier.
The first half ended with Luton Town in the ascendancy but they failed to truly test Jones before the whistle. Josh Boorn went closest with a first-time effort which he blazed over from Jonas Kalonda’s cutback.
Rubio made one change at the break, replacing Jay Bird with Under-16s midfielder Jack Davies. His side almost doubled their advantage four minutes into the re-start but Thomas-Asante saw his effort pushed onto the post by Stech.
Hatters captain Corey Patner curled wide a good chance for the visitors to restore parity moments before Charlie Pattison headed over from Thomas-Asante’s cross. Pawel Zuk then poked wide for Luton after a corner had fallen to him on the edge of the six-yard box.
Jamal Sule entered the fray with 65 minutes on the clock, with Liam Sole following soon after. They were both forced into defensive duties early, with Luton Town turning up the heat as they went in search of an equaliser.
Jones denied Neufville with a diving save to his right, tipping the striker’s effort past his right-hand post. The MK Dons goalkeeper then kept out an effort from Josh Boorn, who later lifted an effort over from inside the area.
Pattison could have made the game safe on 76 minutes but he dragged a right-footed shot wide from Asonganyi’s pass. The striker also had an opportunity to add to the score but failed to beat Stech from close-range after being picked out by Kasumu.
The visitors continued to threaten after that. Neufville had a shot blocked before Boorn curled wide. Substitute Toby Byron went even closer when one-on-one with Jones, dragging a left-footed attempt a yard or two wide.
Jones then denied Pawel Zuk and Byron in quick succession while Sole fired over for the Dons after a breakaway attack.
The final chance of the game fell the way of the visitors and their midfielder Read, who lifted over after driving into the box. The whistle then blew, as the Dons held on to pick up the points needed to return to the summit of the Central League South table.
Starting XI: Jones; Kasumu, Tapp, Trialist, Sorinola (Brennan 82); Nombe (Sole 71), Pattison, Wright, Thomas-Asante (Sule 65); Asonganyi, Bird (Davies 46).
Unused subs: Rose.
Goal: Asonganyi (19)