MK Dons scored 3 goals in a League 2 fixture for the first time this season as Paul Tisdale’s side brushed Cheltenham Town aside 3-0.
Chuks Aneke struck the home side ahead in the first half as the Dons looked to build on their midweek win. They had to wait to add to the goals, but would duly find more late on as Rhys Healey and a penalty in the 8th minute of added time from Robbie Simpson saw the Dons pick up a comfortable win.
Three points was enough to lift the Dons up to 4th in the table, and Paul Tisdale’s side sit three points off the automatic promotion places ahead of the midweek Checkatrade Trophy trip to Luton and next weekend’s visit to Cambridge.
After ending their win wait by beating Port Vale in midweek, MK Dons looked to pick up a first home win since the opening month of the season as they welcomed a struggling Cheltenham side to a drizzly Milton Keynes.
It was the home side made the early running, in the contest with Scott Flinders denying Rhys Healey before Aneke saw a curling strike drift wide and George Williams had an effort blocked.
As the half wore on and became tighter, the visitors began to have a spell of positive play. But aside from seeing a header drift in long after the whistle had gone, the best they could create saw Jacob Maddox’s shot from range gathered by Lee Nicholls.
MK Dons then began to create more closer to the end of the half. Ryan Watson first saw a low free-kick saved by Flinders, before Healey was played through and saw a shot blocked.
The resulting corner then saw a melee in the Cheltenham box, with Healey and Alex Gilbey both seeing attempts blocked. But the next ball in would yield an opener, with the ball headed across goal for Aneke to collect the ball and then fire beyond Flinders for his third goal in the space of a week.
Cheltenham did respond with some forward trips. The visitors had two penalty appeals in the same move turned down, before Ryan Broom’s drive was deflected wide by Joe Walsh.
Watson saw a drive blocked with the final act of the first half, and it was the home side who would make early running after the break. Flinders was called up twice in the opening minutes, with the goalkeeper denying Healey on a one-on-one, before he also denied Gilbey’s angled drive.
Maddox then came close for the visitors with a fine curling drive tipped away by Nicholls, before Aneke’s shot on the turn drifted wide and Watson then saw one punted inches wide on a swift break.
A slightly more unorthodox chance also came close to yielding something for the hosts, as Joe Walsh’s strike was deflected towards goal by Healey and blocked by Flinders.
Cheltenham began to get back into the contest, but were struggling to create great opportunities to trouble Nicholls in the home goal.
The Dons were still looking dangerous on the break, with a flying cross from Gilbey narrowly in front of substitutes Brandon Thomas-Asante and Robbie Simpson.
That incident lead to a major cause for concern, as Cheltenham’s Aden Baldwin suffered a major injury that required several minutes of on-pitch treatment and saw the full-back stretchered off.
Within minutes of the restart, Healey had the Dons’ second, as the Cardiff loanee had a free header when meeting Williams’ cross, which allowed him to give the Dons a cushion in the contest.
The lengthy stoppage lead up to nine minutes of added time, and towards the end of it, the Dons would be give the chance to make it three from the spot after Maddox barged over substitute Callum Brittain when the duo were waiting for a Dons cross.
Simpson duly tucked his spot-kick underneath Flinders to give the Dons a cushion, as the home side picked up their first home win since late August.
MK Dons: Nicholls – Walsh, Moore-Taylor, Cargill – Williams, Gilbey, Watson (Thomas-Asante 71), Houghton, Lewington – Healey (Brittain 90), Aneke (Simpson 71)
Subs not used: Moore, Cisse, Hancox, Kasumu
Goal: Aneke (35), Healey (85), Simpson (90+8)
Cheltenham: Flinders – Baldwin (Barnett 82), Mullins, Boyle, Field (Hussey 64) – Tozer, Atangana – Maddox, Clements, Broom – Varney
Subs not used: Lovett, Dawson, Lloyd, Forster, Jones