MK Dons returned to winning ways at Stadium MK courtesy of a 2-1 victory over previously unbeaten Lincoln City.
The Dons, beaten by Wycombe Wanderers at the weekend, took the lead inside the opening two minutes through Callum Brittain but the Imps, who boasted a 100 percent record heading into the match, levelled things shortly afterwards through Tyler Walker.
Paul Tisdale’s men, though, edged back in front midway through the first half through a fortuitous George Williams goal and did enough in the second half to see out the contest and secure their second successive home win.
Boss Tisdale made two changes to his starting XI, with Brittain and Ryan Harley replacing Dean Lewington and Conor McGrandles, and both were involved as MK Dons made the perfect start.
From Baily Cargill's forward pass down the left flank, Kieran Agard and Harley linked up with a neat one-two. The former then took a touch into the box before firing a ball across goal to an on-rushing Brittain, who converted from close-range. 1-0.
The Dons worked it into the penalty area again on six minutes, with Brittain again involved. It was Agard who received the pass inside the box but, with his back to goal, he was quickly crowded out and the chance went begging.
Lincoln then threatened with Harry Anderson sending a low ball into the box which Russell Martin stabbed clear. The Dons countered thanks to a Hiram Boateng through pass but Bowery’s eventual shot was blocked.
The visitors, though, did draw level in the 11th minute through Walker, who, after a neat attacking move, found the bottom left-hand corner with a well-placed first-time effort from the edge of the D, after being teed up by Jorge Grant. 1-1.
Neal Eardley saw an ambitious attempt at a second Imps goal fly high and wide shortly after the re-start. The Dons soon threatened down the left but Cargill’s cross was too high for a teammate to challenge Josh Vickers.
Tisdale’s men then began to regain control of the contest and, on 23 minutes, they re-took the lead.
Williams did brilliantly to meet Hiram Boateng's deep cross which provided a chance for Bowery to send a strike towards goal. His effort goal-bound effort struck Williams, still lying on the floor, and the defender's touch was enough to fool Vickers and make it’s way into the net. 2-1.
The Dons almost added a third straight from kick-off as they got in down the left once again. Cargill the provider for Agard, who flashed a low left-footed strike just wide of the far post.
Walker and Anderson then went close for Lincoln while Josh Payne looked to have the chance to level with a diving header, but failed to make contact from a teasing cross.
The Imps were almost gifted an equaliser with 10 minutes to play in the half as they won possession deep in the Dons’ half. Payne broke through but saw his lob kept out by Nicholls, who then palmed away the loose ball.
Joe Morrell then threatened with a curling effort which just fell wide of the post before Nicholls produced a diving save to deny Anderson from inside the area.
At the other end, Vickers was forced to punch clear a Cargill cross at his near post while Boateng had a long-range try blocked by an Imps defender in first-half stoppage time.
Grant forced the first effort on goal in the second half - a low drive which was comfortable for Nicholls. Eardley followed up with another long-range attempt which sailed harmlessly over.
Brittain responded with an excellent drive forward which resulted in a right-footed strike sent just wide of goal from 25-yards. Lincoln, though, almost levelled a minute later through Payne but, well-placed, he blasted over from inside the area.
The thrilling end-to-end nature of the match continued as Boateng went agonisingly close to putting Dons two goals ahead following a stunning solo run through the midfield - his shot, though, was tipped wide by Vickers.
Lincoln came forward once again and this time it was Grant who was denied by Nicholls. Boateng then threw himself in the way of Payne’s goal-bound attempt at the far post.
Tisdale introduced Alex Gilbey and Conor McGrandles from the bench shortly after the hour mark. McGrandles was involved early as the Dons broke forward on goal - Agard, in the end, dragged a left-footed shot just wide of the post.
Nicholls was equal to a dipping Payne strike on 69 minutes, as he was to a deflected attempt from the Imps midfielder moments later. Substitute Bruno Andrade then got his lines wrong from John Akinde’s tee-up as another Lincoln opportunity went amiss.
On 73 minutes, a four-man MK Dons wall denied Grant from a free-kick. From a set-piece at the other end, Tisdale’s side almost extended their advantage but Bowery headed over from Boateng’s corner.
Gilbey got himself in the way of an Akinde shot with 13 minutes to play shortly before Andrade headed wide from the penalty spot.
Lewington came off the bench for the final 10 minutes in place of Boateng and he was on the pitch a short while when Morrell sent a curling effort inches wide of Nicholls’ right-hand upright.
The Dons surged forward in search of a third in the 85th minute but Gilbey couldn’t direct his long-range effort on target.
Lincoln went back on the offensive and spent the final five minutes of regulation camped inside the Dons’ half. Tisdale’s men, however, were determined not to be breached as body after body were put in the way of attempts on goal.
They did have the woodwork to thank in the final minute of stoppage time as the crossbar kept out Jason Shackell’s header. The final whistle blew soon after, sealing an impressive victory for the Dons who will look to make it three home victories in a row when they welcome Peterborough United to Stadium MK on Saturday.
Starting XI: Nicholls, Williams (c), Poole, Cargill, Bowery, Agard, Martin, Houghton (McGrandles 64), Brittain, Boateng (Lewington 80), Harley (Gilbey 62).
Unused subs: Moore, Healey, Nombe, Kasumu.
Goals: Brittain (2), Williams (22)
Attendance: 8,166 (1,350 away)