First-goals from Wood and Taylor help Leeds return to winning ways...
MK DONS 1 (Church 74), UNITED 2 (Wood pen 31, Taylor 43)
MK Dons team: Martin, Spence (Bowditch 73), McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Poyet, Carruthers, Baker, Hall (Church 58), Murphy, Gallagher (Reeves 58). Subs: Burns, Hodson, Aguza, Powell.
United team: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Murphy, Cook, Mowatt (Adeyemi 77), Byram (Antenucci 84), Dallas (Bellusci 90+2), Wood. Subs: Turnbull, Berardi, Phillips, Botaka.
Referee: D Webb
Booked: Lewington (MK Dons), Cooper, Wootton (United)
Sent off: Carruthers (MK Dons)
Att: 19,284 (6,297)
United made the trip to MK Dons looking to respond to their first league defeat of the season – Tuesday’s 1-0 loss at home to Ipswich – and head coach Uwe Rosler made three changes as Scott Wootton, Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram all returned to the side in place of Gaetano Berardi, Tom Adeyemi and Mirco Antenucci.
Over 6,000 United fans had made the trip to stadiummk, and Rosler’s side made a lively start as Mowatt and Byram combined to create an early opening, only for Mowatt’s strike to be blocked on the edge of the area. Charlie Taylor then fired wide from distance before the hosts stepped into gear with a series of chances.
First, Carl Baker hit a low effort well wide of Marco Silvestri’s post after being invited forward, before Sol Bamba was well-placed to steer away Jordan Spence’s dangerous-looking cross from the right with a superb, sliding clearance.
But their best opening fell to Rob Hall, who skipped away from two yellow shirts on his way into the United area before lashing a strike inches wide.
At the opposite end, Chris Wood was agonisingly close to connecting with Lewis Cook’s floated ball over the top after the striker had evaded the offside trap, while Josh Murphy curled over the bar for the hosts in an end-to-end opening 20 minutes.
It took a while for Silvestri to truly be called into action, though, and the United ‘keeper was alert to acrobatically turn Sam Gallagher’s effort over the bar with a fine, fingertip save.
Dons stopper David Martin was forced into his first save of the afternoon on 24 minutes, and he got down sharply to his right to hold Wood’s low attempt as it headed on target.
Dons pair Hall and Murphy both threatened, with the latter denied by Silvestri’s outstretched leg at the near post after working his way into the area, but it was United who managed to break the deadlock on 31 minutes through Wood’s fourth of the season.
Taylor surged into the area down the left and went down under a clumsy challenge from Baker, prompting referee David Webb to point to the spot. Wood stepped up and made no mistake, coolly sending Martin the wrong way to the delight of the travelling supporters.
And Wood could have doubled United’s advantage from close-range just seven minutes later, but the striker saw Stuart Dallas’ whipped cross late and could only turn it over the bar with his chest.
The hosts looked to respond and a brilliant reflex save from Silvestri pushed Hall’s strike onto the post before Gallagher smashed the rebound high and over the bar with an open goal gaping.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, United made it 2-0 thanks to a superb individual goal from Taylor. The full-back advanced forward, shrugging off several white shirts before firing an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner.
Leeds were in the ascendancy and looked to keep it that way after both sides had re-emerged unchanged for the second half.
Byram curled over the bar within four minutes of the restart after beating his marker with a drop of the shoulder, while Mowatt was denied by Martin at his near post following some persistent play by the midfielder to work an opening inside the area.
Dons boss Karl Robinson looked to stem the tide and was prompted into his first changes of the afternoon on 58 minutes, replacing Gallagher and Hall with Simon Church and Ben Reeves in attack.
It was Murphy who remained their biggest threat, though, and the winger saw his low strike held by Silvestri as the game passed the hour mark.
The United goalkeeper was then forced into another fine, fingertip save – this time to divert Diego Poyet’s first-time effort over the bar – before Murphy slammed the post with a ferocious strike after bursting into the area.
And when the hosts did manage to pull a goal back, Murphy was the provider as his low cross from the left was turned home from close-range by the substitute Church.
Rosler then introduced Adeyemi in midfield in place of Mowatt, but his side were soon up against ten men after Samir Carruthers was shown a straight red card for a mis-timed challenge on Dallas.
Despite their shortage in numbers, the hosts threw everything forward in the closing stages and Silvestri did well to beat away Reeves’ goalbound free-kick with two strong hands.
United almost made their numerical advantage count on the break, though, as Wood slammed into the side-netting after being slotted into the area by Dallas.
Six minutes were added at the end of the 90 and Rosler brought Giuseppe Bellusci on in place of Dallas to help see out the lead.
It was a frantic finale and goalline clearances at both ends could have made for a different scoreline. A Dons corner was headed clear and Leeds broke with Martin off his line. Cook raced forward but was denied by a superb recovering clearance on the line in the game's final piece of drama as United clinched the points to return to winning ways.