MK Dons moved to within a point of top spot in Sky Bet League One courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town at Stadium MK.
Goals in each half from Mo Eisa and Scott Twine, along with a 14th clean sheet of the campaign, saw Liam Manning's men extend their unbeaten run to 13 games and boost their chances of a top-two finish.
MK Dons made one change from their 1-0 victory over Cambridge United a fortnight ago, as Josh McEachran replaced David Kasumu in midfield.
Liam Manning’s men worked the ball into the area three minutes in but Kaine Kesler Hayden’s cross for Mo Eisa was intercepted by a Shrewsbury defender. The visitors responded by winning a free-kick, 25 yards out, which Elliott Bennett curled wide.
The Dons went agonisingly close on eight minutes but Daniel Harvie, after being played in by Scott Twine, saw his left-footed drive kept out by a combination of Marko Marosi’s left hand and the post. He then had his defender to thank for blocking Kesler Hayden’s goal-bound attempt on the follow up.
Shrewsbury were gifted an opportunity to break the deadlock just past the quarter-hour mark after a loose pass from Twine was collected by Ryan Bowman, though he failed to hit the target with his 20-yard shot.
Twine made up for that mistake, however, providing the assist for MK Dons’ opener on 18 minutes.
The move started with Jamie Cumming finding Conor Coventry who broke the lines and found Twine. The MK Dons number nine then slotted a ball through to Eisa, who took a touch before confidently slotting a right-footed shot past Marosi. 1-0.
A neat attacking move down the left almost opened up a chance for Troy Parrott three minutes later but he wasn’t able to bring the pass into him under control.
At the other end, there was an opportunity for Bowman, breaking into the area, but Harry Darling did brilliantly to deal with the danger, shepherding the ball out of play. Bennett then had a tame effort on goal from a long throw which Cumming comfortably claimed.
Darling went close to meeting a teasing free-kick delivery from McEachran with half an hour on the clock but the ball in was just out of the defender’s reach. Leahy then spurned a great chance for the visitors as he blazed over from 15 yards out after beating the Dons’ offside trap.
Cumming was called into action with eight minutes to play in the first half, getting down to gather a low cross at the feet of an on-rushing Tyrece Fornah. He then did brilliantly to get down to his left and palm Daniel Udoh’s close-range effort around the post.
On 42 minutes, Twine was brought down on the edge of the D but his free-kick in response was blocked by the wall. That proved the final opportunity of a positive first half from Manning’s men.
Half-Time – MK Dons 1-0 Shrewsbury Town
The Dons almost made the perfect start to the second half but Eisa, played in again by Twine, was thwarted by Marosi, who made himself big to deny the striker a second. There were then penalty appeals following a challenge by former Don Tom Flanagan on Kesler Hayden but referee Martin Coy said no.
Kesler Hayden came back with a driving run down the left which resulted in a left-footed shot being blocked. Harvie, though, won back possession and started a move which led to the Dons doubling their lead.
McEachran picked up the loose ball and found Parrott, who returned the ball after moving into the area. McEachran quickly shifted play to Twine and he made no mistake with his finish into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. 2-0.
Shrewsbury substitute Saikou Janneh drilled a low cross into the arms of Cumming as the visiting searched for a way back into the match. They then threatened from another low throw but Harvie dealt with the danger at the far post.
The Dons came forward again on 65 minutes with Parrott, whose left-footed shot was deflected wide. Manning’s men had the ball in the net from the second of two corners that followed but Darling was adjudged to be offside when heading home.
Twine almost found the net with a stunning long-range drive but his attempt flew just over Marosi’s crossbar. They were then forced into some last-ditch defending after Shrewsbury had sprung their offside trap – the Dons were able to get the ball clear in the end thanks to Coventry.
Coventry was involved at the attacking end on 78 minutes but his stinging effort was turned away by Marosi. The MK Dons midfielder appeared to be fouled as he pounced on the loose ball but, again, Mr. Coy was unmoved.
MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington, O’Hora, Darling, Twine, Eisa (Wickham 81), Coventry, McEachran (Kasumu 73), Parrott, Harvie, Kesler Hayden (Corbeanu 65).
Subs: Ravizzoli, Smith, Kemp, Boateng.
Goals: Eisa (17), Twine (55)
Shrewsbury Town: Marosi, Leahy, Ebanks-Landell (Janneh 46), Pennington, Fornah, Vela, Udoh, Bowman, Bennett, Nurse, Flanagan.
Subs: Burgoyne, Pierre, Whalley, Bloxham, Caton, Daniels.
Booked: Bowman, Flanagan, Bennett, Vela.
Referee: M Coy
Attendance: 8,984 (550 away)