MK Dons edged out Northampton Town 4-3 after a chaotic and entertaining game at stadium mk.
Fraser Horsfall put Northampton ahead inside the opening 90 seconds, ending their recent goal drought.
Andrew Surman would cancel it out with a sublime equaliser and then Will Grigg would score for the first time since his January return to Milton Keynes to complete the comeback.
But then ex-Dons man Ryan Watson brought Northampton level less than a minute after arriving as a half-time substitute. Peter Kioso would then put Northampton in front again in the final quarter of an hour.
Cameron Jerome would then equalise as the game took another twist. MK Dons would then strike again, as Charlie Brown scored his first for the club to grab the ultimate winner.
It would see MK Dons move into the top half after they managed to get victory, while Northampton stay in the relegation zone despite ending their goal drought and taking the lead twice.
The two teams arrived at stadium mk in different recent form. MK Dons had won away at promotion chasers Hull in their last contest as part of a 4 game unbeaten run, while Northampton were yet to win in 2021.
MK Dons had picked up home and wins over Northampton in the Papa John’s Trophy and a draw in a previous league meeting. But it was the visitors who would spring a surprise with the game’s first goal.
Within the opening two minutes, a foul by Ethan Laird gave Northampton a free-kick on their left flank. Mark Marshall’s inviting ball into the box landed for Horsfall, who prodded the ball beyond Andy Fisher. It was Northampton’s first goal since January 23rd.
MK Dons did struggle to find their feet for a bit after yet another early concession. But they would soon level in spectacular fashion.
The hosts won a free-kick for a foul by Luton loanee Kioso. From the original set-piece, Harry Darling saw a shot blocked but the hosts kept the ball alive around the box, before the ball ended up falling nicely for Surman, whose sweet first time volley flew beyond Jonathan Mitchell and in.
It was Surman’s first goal for MK Dons, but Northampton very nearly overcame it immediately. After Fisher allowed himself to caught out a long way from goal, an opportunist poke at goal by Sam Hoskins just trickled wide.
While the hosts enjoyed an early possession dominance, a fast and direct away side were creating problems, with Danny Rose seeing a drive saved by Fisher and a few dangerous Northampton crosses just fail to connect.
Mark Marshall would come close for the away side, with the attacker’s effort from outside the box bouncing off the post after beating Fisher.
Having taken a while to get themselves back into things, MK Dons were beginning to show some fluency and it was the home side who would score the game’s third goal. Grigg would score it – his first goal for MK Dons since 2015.
The January loan arrival from Sunderland would receive a pass by Joe Mason, nip in ahead of two away defenders, and just place his strike beyond Jonathan Mitchell.
A tight end to the half would see the Dons have the best chances, as Fraser had a free-kick blocked by Horsfall’s face before Mason had a shot on the turn saved by Mitchell.
Northampton made a double sub at half-time, and one of their subs would have a near instant impact. Less than 50 seconds into the half, Watson was able to pick the ball up, run through the MK Dons half to the box, and then crash a strike past Fisher.
This saw Northampton then enjoy a period on top. A poor pass by Fisher nearly gave the away side a third goal, but the keeper was able to stop Marshall’s strike at the end of it.
Scott Fraser and O’Riley would have half chances blocked by Mitchell. But the better chances seemed to be falling for the visitors, and after a few half chances for Watson and Hoskins, a good one opened up for sub Ryan Edmondson, who just avoided Darling’s tackle before seeing a low shot hit the post.
It would be the away side that then grabbed the game’s fifth goal. A foul by Ethan Laird on Hoskins gave Marshall a chance to deliver, and Kioso’s glancing header on the delivery beat Fisher to put Northampton in front for a second time.
MK Dons made three substitutions before play resumed, and would then equalise just five minutes after falling behind. A through-pass by Ben Gladwin released a chase between Jerome and Lloyd Jones, and the Dons striker won that before thumping a shot past Mitchell.
Five minutes after that and a crazy game had a further twist. The hosts won a free-kick halfway inside the Northampton half, and a quick ball released substitute Daniel Harvie, whose cross picked out the unmarked Brown to tuck it past Mitchell for his first Dons goal.
In five minutes of stoppage time at the end, Joseph Mills would see an effort saved by Fisher after MK Dons failed to clear, before an unmarked Alan Sheehan would be denied by Fisher right at the very end as MK Dons just saw the result over the line.
MK Dons: Fisher – O’Hora, Darling, Lewington – Laird (Harvie 79), O’Riley (Gladwin 65), Surman, Fraser, Jules (Sorinola 79) – Mason (Jerome 65), Grigg (Brown 79)
Subs: Nicholls, Sorensen
Goal: Surman (13), Grigg (34), Jerome (83), Brown (88)
Northampton: Mitchell – Kioso, Horsfall, Jones, Mills – McWilliams (Miller 69), Morris, Hoskins (Sheehan 90) – Sowerby (Watson 45) – Rose (Edmondson 45), Marshall (Chukwuemeka 90)
Subs: Arnold, Bolger
Goal: Horsfall (2), Watson (46), Kioso (78)