After Will Grigg put the visitors ahead, Jordan Graham and Vadaine Oliver turned the game around. Warren O'Hora equalised for the Dons just before the break, but Connor Ogilvie struck in the second-period to earn his team all three points.
Story of the match
Gillingham were happy to let MK Dons have the ball in the early stages, and they were punished on four minutes when the Dons took the lead. Dominating the ball, the visitors worked play from back to front, eventually shifting it to their forwards. After 55 consecutive passes, Will Grigg, back into the starting line-up, cut inside his man and curled past Jack Bonham to find the net in his 50th appearance for the Dons.
The Dons continued to keep the ball as the game progressed, but a temporary injury to Ryan Jackson allowed Gills manager Steve Evans to deliver some messages to his team. It seemed a change of approach was the order of the evening, with Gillingham suddenly seemingly realising they were in a game, and getting a bit further up the pitch.
Scott Fraser dragged an effort wide just before 20 minutes, and Gillingham’s first real break came moments after, when Kyle Dempsey found Graham on the left, but the winger’s cross was just in front of Vadaine Oliver, and the ball trickled out for a goal kick.
Andrew Fisher put his side in danger when a ball out fell to Gills captain Dempsey, but his cross was deflected out for a corner after a driving run. The corner came to nothing.
Gillingham grew into the game and were rewarded on 27 minutes when referee Sam Purkiss pointed to the penalty spot. After a Ryan Jackson long throw, some pinball in the area resulted in the ball striking an arm, and Gills talisman Jordan Graham fired high past Andrew Fisher into the roof of the net to level things up.
MK Dons had a penalty call of their own turned away just before half-time when Graham and Cameron Jerome went blow-to-blow in the area, but Gillingham were soon ahead. With the visitors still trying to keep the ball, a pass back to the goalkeeper was light, and Vadaine Oliver found himself one-on-one with Fisher with plenty of time. The forward kept his composure, and slotted past the Dons ‘keeper to give his side the lead.
It should have been three for Gillingham soon after. Kyle Dempsey, Olly Lee and Graham were all involved in a Gills break, and Lee fed Graham on the left. The former Wolves man sliced his shot, however, and the chance went a-begging.
And they were punished soon after. Following a short corner at the other end, MK Dons worked the ball into the area and Warren O’Hora squeezed the ball past Jack Bonham to square things up going into the break. Gillingham manager Steve Evans was booked walking back into the changing rooms for protesting the corner.
Gillingham started the second-half much better than they started the first, but were unable to find an early breakthrough.
Andrew Surman should have put the visitors ahead just before the hour mark when the Dons once again built well from the back and the midfielder was played in. Surman had some space in the area, but had to hit the shot first time, and volleyed well over the bar.
Jerome then forced a low slave from Bonham as the fog really took over, which couldn’t have helped the players at all. Olly Lee fired just over from distance for Gillingham just before 70 minutes via a Fisher fingertip, but, unfortunately for Gillingham, the resulting corner was cleared.
Despite creating little in the half, Gillingham were back ahead on 74 minutes, and it was from another Ryan Jackson long throw. The full-back’s throw wasn’t dealt with by the Dons, and the ball fell to Connor Ogilvie in the area who hammered home to put his side ahead for the second time in the game.
The Dons piled forward in the last 15 minutes, trying to find another equaliser and manager Russell Martin made five changes in an attempt to turn the game in his favour.
Jack Bonham saved from Matt O'Riley late on, and the Dons' efforts were in vain. Gillingham were the winners, but the game proved to be a true battle.