MK Dons picked up a second win in a week away from home as they squeezed out their fellow promotion contenders Carlisle United 3-2.

A lively game was decided by two goals in 8 second half minutes, courtesy of Jake Hesketh and Kieran Agard.

The two sides had previously traded quickfire goals after Conor McGrandles’s opener was cancelled out by a Stefan Scougall penalty.

Carlisle got a goal back late on through Hallam Hope, but the Dons had done enough to win a match between two of the sides who began the day in the play-off spaces.

MK Dons’ victory ensures they maintain their hold on 4th, and they also cut the gap on the automatic promotion spots to 2 points after Mansfield were beaten by struggling Notts County.

The visitors took the lead after 11 minutes through McGrandles, with the Scot picking up Dean Lewington’s cross after a defender slipped, and he tucked the ball home.

But Carlisle would be level very quickly, with the home side given a penalty after a foul by Baily Cargill on Scougall, and the same Carlisle player duly tucked in an equaliser.

Both teams searched for the game’s third first half goal, but it wouldn’t come before half-time, with the closest seeing Hesketh’s cross bounce off the bar and come close to drifting in.

When play re-started, Hesketh and Alex Gilbey had opportunities before the man on loan from Southampton got the breakthrough.

Hesketh was able to take advantage after Carlisle’s Gary Liddle slipped when trying to reach Chuks Aneke’s cross, and the man who scored a cracker against Swindon last week duly returned a crisp finish from just inside the box.

Not long after, MK Dons had a third, as a flowing team move saw Aneke release Gilbey, who in turn drew out the Carlisle goalkeeper Adam Collin before laying the ball off for Aneke to roll home.

In the final minute of normal time, Carlisle would get one back when Hope thundered the ball home after MK Dons failed to clear. But the away side contained Carlisle’s injury time attempts to level, and ensured they had the three points with them for the long trip back down south.