Chuks Aneke was the matchwinner as MK Dons edged out Fleetwood Town 1-0 in a tight game at stadium:mk.
A match of few chances was decided by a fine strike from the Dons’ attacker in the final minutes of the first half, while the team also offered a firm defensive performance to keep the visiting Cod Army at bay.
It means the Dons have their first league win in just over a month, as they edged out a side who would’ve moved into the top 6 with three points.
After a productive spell with victories in the FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, MK Dons looked to get back to winning ways in the league after failing to win a League One match in the entire month of October.
They aimed to manage this against a Fleetwood side who began the day just outside the play-offs after a run of one defeat in six League One games, and who were looking to recover the streak that saw them make last season’s play-offs.
The match began in a lively enough manner, with MK Dons enjoying some slick possession plays, and Fleetwood responding with a burst of corner kicks. But the first half saw chances fall few and far between, as both sides struggled to break through.
Fleetwood’s best chance saw Amari’i Bell seen off before shooting courtesy of fine defensive play from the covering Peter Pawlett, and in the resulting pressure, Kyle Dempsey hit the side-netting.
The Dons’ best chance had fallen to Pawlett shortly before that, with the Scot found by a well-placed corner but unable to keep the header below the bar.
A couple of half-chances at each end were blocked, but neither goalkeeper was having a particularly busy half’s work.
But with time running out, the Dons went in-front. The ball was worked in a slightly unorthodox manner to Aneke, with Alex Gilbey pinging a ball forward off Pawlett as he slid, but the ball landed kindly for Aneke to control and blast beyond Alex Cairns.
The Dons nearly grabbed a second in added time as Kieran Agard was played through and saw a shot blocked by Cairns.
The second half began in a livelier manner. Fleetwood had a couple of chances from range, with Dempsey seeing an effort held by Lee Nicholls before O’Neill fired wide.
MK Dons’ first major chance saw Gboly Ariyibi fire wide after good work. But Ariyibi was then involved in a great chance, as he picked up a cleared corner and raced away before teeing up Agard. The striker took his shot, but could only find the side-netting.
Straight away, Fleetwood had a chance of their own, but Ethan Ebanks-Landell put in a fine block to prevent a low shot from Devante Cole trickling towards the bottom corner.
But while there was livelier movement then there had been in the first half, there was still a relative lack of firm sights of goal being seen, and while Fleetwood rang the changes, this trend continued.
The Dons had a chance on the front foot to wrap things up, but Ryan Seager’s effort was blocked before Alex Gilbey walloped the rebound into the stands.
Fleetwood continued to try to press for an equaliser as the game ticked into its final stages, but they continued their struggle to trouble the MK Dons goal, with two off-target shots and a corner Nicholls claimed the closest they came.
It ultimately lead to MK Dons holding out to take the 3 points. It was their third win in a row in all competitions, but their first league win since beating Bury at the end of September.
MK Dons: Nicholls – Williams, Wootton, Ebanks-Landell, Golbourne – Upson, Gilbey – Pawlett (Nesbitt 82), Aneke, Ariyibi (Lewington 87) – Agard (Seager 74)
Subs not used: Sietsma, Walsh, McGrandles, Thomas-Asante
Goal: Aneke (43)
Booked: Pawlett, Ebanks-Landell, Nesbitt
Fleetwood: Cairns – Eastham, Bolger, Cargill (Ekpolo 61) – Burns (Hunter 61), Dempsey, Glendon, O’Neill (Sowerby 68), Bell – Hiwula, Cole
Subs not used: Neal, Pond, Rodgers, Schwabi, Sowerby