MK Dons came from behind to beat Lincoln City 2-1 at Stadium MK and climb to third in Sky Bet League One.
Liam Manning’s men went behind to John Marquis’ eighth-minute but, just as they did at the LNER Stadium on Boxing Day, fought back to earn all three points thanks to goals either side of half-time from defenders Harry Darling and Warren O’Hora.
The victory - the Dons’ third in a row and fifth in six games - lifts them above Sunderland and into third place, while they now sit just one point below the automatic promotion spots.
MK Dons named an unchanged starting XI from their 1-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers with Deadline Day signings Matt Smith, Dan Kemp and Kaine Kesler Hayden among the substitutes for Liam Manning.
Lincoln made a bright start and took the lead after only eight minutes through Marquis, who met Anthony Scully’s cross at the near post and found the net with a stabbed finish, despite Jamie Cumming’s best attempts to keep it out. 0-1.
The Imps threatened again three minutes later, again down the left. Warren O’Hora got a head to Cohen Bramall’s cross and inadvertently directed it onto his own crossbar but, fortunately, after that, it bounced away to safety.
MK Dons threatened for the first time with 17 minutes played, winning a corner which was dealt with well by the Imps defence. The visitors then went close again but Cumming was quick off his line to gather at the feet of Liam Cullen.
On 23 minutes, a ball teed up nicely for Josh McEachran on the edge of the D but his curling strike just went past the right post. A scuffed volley from Scott Twine then forced Josh Griffiths into his first save.
Cumming produced a stop of his own on the half-hour mark to deal with Cullen’s low left-footed drive. At the other end, Griffiths got behind a free-kick from Twine and kept hold of the ball to prevent chance on the follow up.
With eight minutes to play in the first half, Whittaker blazed over from a half-cleared Lincoln ball into the box. Shortly after, Cumming got down well to parry away Scully’s bending strike while he also kept out a 20-yard attempt by Whittaker.
The first half had not gone the way Manning or the Dons would have wanted but in the latter stages, they found a way to equalise.
An excellent cross-field pass from Coventry out to Corbeanu provided the attacker with an opportunity to shoot. His stinging effort was saved by Griffiths but couldn’t be held and Darling was alert to meet the looping loose ball, head home and send his side into the break on level terms. 1-1.
Half-Time – MK Dons 1-1 Lincoln City.
After making a slow start to the first half, the Dons responded by starting quickly at the start of the second and within 90 seconds they had turned the game around with a second goal.
A well-worked move down the right eventually found its way to Parrott inside the box. His brilliant cutback allowed him space to pick out a cross for O’Hora, up from the back, who managed to adjust his feet and lash home his first goal of the season under Griffiths. 2-1.
Lincoln reacted well and Cumming was forced into a save with his feet to prevent Whittaker’s cross either finding the net or an Imps teammate. Moments later, the Dons threatened third but Corbeanu’s pull-back for Parrott was intercepted by TJ Eyoma.
On 64 minutes, Parrott was involved again, weaving his way into the Lincoln box before having a shot blocked by a defender. That led to a corner from which Daniel Harvie was denied by an excellent save from Griffiths.
Griffiths also kept out a left-footed strike from Corbeanu while, at the other end, Scully fired against the crossbar from close range.
Corbeanu was replaced shortly after, with Mo Eisa brought on in his place. Eisa was almost the beneficiary of Parrott keeping a deep cross alive but the striker was just beaten to the ball by Eyoma.
With nine minutes to play, O’Hora threw himself at a cross from Scully and got the required deflection needed for Cumming to gather inside his six-yard box. The MK Dons number 1 then pushed clear inside his six-yard box from teasing Scully free-kick.
Dan Kemp came on for his Club debut with two minutes remaining in regulation time, which was extended by five because of stoppages.
Lincoln, to their credit, made things nervy with some intense pressure on the Dons’ half but Manning’s men stood firm and saw the game through to the final whistle for another big three points.
Full-Time – MK Dons 2-1 Lincoln City.
MK Dons: Cumming, Watson, Lewington, O’Hora, Darling, Twine (Kemp 89), Corbeanu (Eisa 72), Coventry, McEachran, Parrott, Harvie.
Subs: Ravizzoli, Smith, Boateng, Wickham, Kesler Hayden.
Goals: Darling (40), O’Hora (47)
Booked: Coventry, Harvie
Lincoln City: Griffiths, Poole, Whittaker, Cullen (Maguire 68), Scully, Bishop (Norton-Cuffy 61), Bramall, McGrandles (Sanders 78), Fiorini, Eyoma, Marquis.
Subs: Wright, Melbourne, Sorensen, Robson.
Goal: Marquis (8)
Referee: B Huxtable
Attendance: 8,723 (1,300 away)