MK Dons picked up their first away league win of the season courtesy of an impressive 3-0 victory at Blackpool.
Russell Martin put the Dons ahead just five minutes into the game at Bloomfield Road before Jordan Houghton and David Kasumu extended the advantage in the second half – the latter netting his first career league goal.
Paul Tisdale’s men also secured their first clean sheet since opening day, but it will be the victory that will please the Dons most, as they move to within a point of the play-off places in Sky Bet League One and three adrift of second.
Boss Tisdale was forced into making two change to his starting XI, one of which was made shortly before kick-off.
Regan Poole came back into the side to replace an injured Alex Gilbey while Rhys Healey withdrew in the warm-ups and Kieran Agard took his place.
The Dons didn’t let the late switch affect them, however, as they took the lead inside the opening five minutes.
Dean Lewington’s corner was won at the near post by Nombe, whose lofted cross into the mix wasn’t dealt with properly by the Blackpool defence. The loose ball fell to Martin who, on the volley, rifled home through a crowded six-yard area for his first goal of the campaign. 0-1.
Tisdale’s men went close again from another corner five minutes later. George Williams kept the attack alive with a header at the far post and it was his eventual shot which flew just wide of the post.
Blackpool threatened for the first time from a corner of their own. Armand Gnanduillet climbed well to meet the cross but saw his header fall wide of the post.
Joe Nuttall got behind the Dons’ backline in the 20th minute but saw his cutback intercepted by Nicholls. Joe Walsh then put himself in the way of Sullay Kaikai’s drive from the edge of the area. Kaikai had another opportunity soon after, from similar range, but dragged wide.
It took a vital last-ditch tackle from Lewington to deny Kaikai on 31 minutes, as he looked set to try to and convert from a cross. Nicholls then did well to punch clear a deep cross above Gnaduillet.
The Dons responded with Agard going close. Regan Poole did brilliantly down the right before picking out the striker, who turned well and sent his curling strike just past the far post.
With eight minutes to play in the half, Nicholls was called into action to keep out Jordan Thompson’s bending strike. At the other end, Lewington’s corner somehow made it through the six-yard box untouched.
The Dons also worked themselves back into the penalty area in first-half stoppage time but were halted by the referee’s whistle, signalling the interval.
Tisdale’s side, unchanged at the break, started the second half well and Nombe came close to meeting a whipped Lewington cross at the near post just five minutes in.
Nicholls was then forced into a save on 55 minutes, doing well to keep out Thompson’s long-range drive. Blackpool kept the attack alive but Gnanduillet’s header was also saved by the MK Dons number 1.
The Seasiders remained on the front foot but they were denied again courtesy of a goal-line block from Poole. With their next attack, Gnanduillet fired wide.
Tisdale went to the bench for the first time on the hour, replacing Agard with Hiram Boateng. Within a minute, his side’s lead had doubled.
The change had pushed Houghton higher up the field and that had him in position to intercept Curtis Tilt’s pass. The midfielder then raced through and kept his composure to finish past Jan Alnwick. 0-2.
Boateng had a chance to extend the advantage further soon after but his left-footed attempt was blocked. Walsh then saw a left-footed shot kept out after latching onto Poole’s terrific ball across goal.
Blackpool’s substitute Ryan Hardie had a strike deflected behind by Martin with 20 minutes to play, moments before Poole headed over from under his own crossbar to deny Gnanduillet.
Sean Scannell crashed an effort into the side netting as the Tangerines came forward once again on 71 minutes. Ryan Edwards also headed over for the home side while defensive partner Heneghan headed onto the crossbar a few minutes later.
The Dons were under the cosh but, with a quarter of an hour to play, they made the game safe.
Boateng did well initially before McGrandles picked out Williams with a stunning cross-field pass. Williams crossed for an on-rushing Kasumu, who sent a first-time finish past Alnwick to make it three-nil - his first league goal for MK Dons. 0-3.
Kasumu’s third allowed the Dons to play with freedom for the final 10 minutes, although Hardie did go close to reducing the deficit with a near-post header while Nicholls was forced into a comfortable save to keep out Spearing.
That said, it was the Dons who went closest to scoring a fourth as Nombe struck the outside of the right post with a curling right-footed shot before also drawing a fingertrip save from Alnwick in stoppage time.
The score remained 3-0, however. A fine trip to the Seaside for Paul Tisdale’s side and the 300 travelling MK Dons supporters.
Starting XI: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington, Walsh, Poole, Agard (Boateng 60), Martin, McGrandles, Houghton (Brittain 83), Kasumu, Nombe.
Unused subs: Moore, Bowery, Dickenson, Harley, Asonganyi.
Goals: Martin (5), Houghton (61), Kasumu (75)
Referee: A Haines
Attendance: 8,283 (300 away)