MK Dons secured a dramatic late win against Yeovil last night after a disappointing weekend result against relegation threatened Tranmere.
Peter Leven tucked home an 88th minute penalty to secure three points for the Dons in a ding-dong affair at stadium: mk in which Karl Robinson's men ran out 3-2 winners.
It was just the tonic for the home side after being stylishly beaten by Tranmere on Saturday which resulted in the north west climbing out of the League One drop zone.
Dale Jennings and Ian Thomas-Moore both scored a brace for the Rovers, while Leven and Sam Baldock got their names on the Dons’ half of the score sheet as they continued their wretched record away from home this season.
It was a nightmare start for Robinson’s side, who already faced the task of dealing with the pre match news that first team coach Alex Rae had moved on to Notts County to work with ex-Dons and newly appointed County manager Paul Ince.
Left winger Jennings opened the scoring for Tranmere after a mere three minutes, coolly finishing after a superb sprint into the box. The remarkable 17-year-old then had an opportunity to double his tally just minutes later, but headed Thomas-Moore’s cross just over the crossbar.
The Dons seemed to have managed to settle down though after a lightning opening ten minutes, with Leven shooting from range at the other end to force Peter Gulacsi into a save. The pressure then told for Rovers defender Marlon Broomes, who, in an attempt to deal with Leven’s cross, handled and gave away a clear penalty. Leven made no mistake from the spot and brought the Dons right back into it.
Thomas-Moore was quick to restore Tranmere’s advantage. Jennings, again the tormentor for the Dons, went down in the box after a tussle with Dietmar Hamann, returning to the MK side after injury.
But despite the returns of Hamann and captain Dean Lewington to the side, the Dons looked somewhat hapless against the men from Merseyside. Referee Colin Webster quickly pointed to the spot and Thomas-Moore converted easily.
Just three minutes later, a hugely controversial goal sent Tranmere 3-1 up, a goal which, however contentious, brought elation to Prenton Park. Zoumana Bakayogo booted the ball ambitiously from his own half, only for Dons’ Danny Woodards to miss his kick.
Enoch Showunmi, clearly in an offside position at the time of Bakayogo’s volley, collected and energetically raced down the wing, eventually passing to whiz-kid Jennings, who scored a truly magnificent goal from the edge of the 18-yard-box. The issue of whether Woodards had played the ball on went on to infuriate Karl Robinson and the Dons faithful.
The Dons came out of the tunnel for the second period looking much stronger, but getting past Gulacsi proved easier said than done, the Hungarian keeper on-loan from Liverpool producing two fine saves, firstly from substitute Lewis Guy and then from a sizzling shot of Levens’.
The second half though was much more ill tempered, as both sides were reduced to ten men. Gary MacKenzie was dismissed for two bookable offences, giving Rovers the advantage of an extra man, only for Tranmere’s Bakayogo to see red after his second booking of the match for a late tackle on Mathias Kouo-Doumbe.
Joss Labadie could have put the Dons to the sword, but he forced his shot wide. Yet the killer blow was not far away, as Thomas-Moore found the net for the second time of the afternoon after 76 minutes, squeezing a shot in from a difficult angle to guarantee the much-needed three points for Tranmere.
Sam Baldock salvaged some pride for the visitors with his low poke giving them some hope, but the comeback never looked likely, even after Leven’s majestic shot rattled the crossbar and sent Rovers’ nerves jangling.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.