A last minute header from Matt O'Riley saw MK Dons win 3-2 at home to Accrington Stanley at Stadium MK.
Veteran striker Cameron Jerome scored a brace, with the goals coming early in both halves, but then Stanley pulled off a great comeback with two quick goals, immediately following Jerome's second. Dion Charles and an own goal from Andrew Surman brought the visitors level. A brilliant header from O'Riley saw the Dons get their first win in six league games.
Story of the Game
MK Dons enjoyed a lot of early possession, but Accrington continuously applied pressure whenever a Dons player had the ball, which kept chances to a minimum in the early stages.
All the early pressure for the Dons bore fruit after six minutes; a chipped through ball from Matthew Sorinola made it to Cameron Jerome, who took it around Toby Savin and coolly slotted it away. The Dons continued to enjoy large quantities of possession, and even when Stanley got hold of the ball, they didn't test MK's defence.
The Dons almost had a second, and it was the same pair combining again as Sorinola worked some space in the box and chipped it to the back post, but Jerome's header went into the side netting.
All the big chances for the rest of the half fell to MK, and their best chance came 10 minutes from half time when Scott Fraser was set through, but he scuffed his shot, and it was easily dealt with by Savin.
The Dons saw out the rest of the half comfortably, retaining a majority of possession, but neither side had a clear chance for the rest of the half.
The second half started much the same way as the first half ended. MK Dons enjoyed lots of the ball but did struggle to breakthrough a sturdy Stanley defence. Stanley were getting closer to making something happen. However, the first major chance fell to Andrew Surman; Scott Fraser worked some space on the far left-hand side of the box and drove the ball into Surman, who hit it wide of the post.
The Dons doubled their lead in the 55th minute. An absolute beauty of a cross from the left picked out Jerome, who volleyed it past Savin.
Accrington did a goal back almost immediately from the restart through Dion Charles. Ben Barclay was able to find Charles in the centre of the Dons box, and the forward finished superbly to bring Stanley back into the game.
The unlikely equaliser did come for Stanley just a few minutes later. A corner swung in by Sean McConville from the right was put into his own net by Surman, and Stanley looked to have the belief that they could complete a memorable comeback.
Both sides went in search of a winner in the final third of the game. The best chance of the last portion of the game fell to the Dons, as they won a free-kick right on the edge of the box. Fraser laid it off to Matt O'Riley who's shot deflected off a defender and went agonisingly wide.
O'Riley was to have the last say on the game when a brilliant cross from Louis Thompson found the head of the midfielder, sparking wild celebrations from the MK bench as Russel Martin's side got all three points on a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.
Takeaways From the Match
Incredible Performance from Stanley despite all the injuries
Despite having 13 first-team players out injured and losing Matt Butcher early in this game, every single Accrington Stanley player should take a lot of pride in their performance today. Despite a non-starter of a first half, Stanley roared into life in the second half after Jerome netted MK's second. Despite losing it in injury time every player on the field for Stanley gave everything for the cause.
MK Dons play much better than their position suggests
Following comments, manager Russell Martin had to say that his side wasn't just going to play hit and hope; it was evident today the style of football he is trying to get his side to play. Despite the pitch's relatively poor condition, MK Dons were consistently pinging passes together and playing some very silky and attractive football. Martin will need to sort out that leaky defence if he aims to take the Dons into the Championship at some point in the near future.
Cameron Jerome still has it
After returning to England following a spell in Turkey, many would have thought Jerome coming to Milton Keynes was the last stop of his career as he looks to bow out from the game. Jerome is enjoying his best goal-scoring season since the 2016/17 in the Championship with Norwich City; whether it is down to telepathy with the creators around him or former teammate Martin's guidance, it remains to be known. Jerome took his goals very well this afternoon and could have easily had a hat-trick, before being taken off for Will Grigg.
Man of the Match
The man of the match has to go to Jerome who was superb all afternoon and his goals deserved to win it for the Dons. Despite the Stanley fightback, Jerome gets the man of the match award due to his brace and overall play this afternoon. Jerome's telepathic link with Sorinola this afternoon was a sight to behold, and his movement inside the box was incredible and showed Jerome's natural striker's instinct.