Cambridge United could not fight back from Chuks Aneke’s first half finish for MK Dons, who weathered the U’s second half storm to take the spoils 0-1 at the Abbey in Sky Bet League Two.
With Reggie Lambe away on international duty for Bermuda, he was the only absentee in United’s starting eleven from their previous League encounter, as David Amoo stepped in to replace the forward.
The fixture started at a hefty pace to match the atmosphere inside a buoyant Abbey Stadium. David Forde was forced into an early save from a Rhys Healey volley, before Liam O’Neil drilled an effort fractions over the cross bar at the other end for the U’s.
The encounter never really found a rhythm after the opening five minutes, as both sides looked to disrupt each other’s play when out of possession.
However, Paul Tisdale’s visitors opened the scoring when Chuks Aneke out-muscled Brad Halliday, powering past the right back before sliding the ball beyond Forde on 29 minutes.
Ade Azeez should have levelled shortly after the half an hour mark, when his strike partner Amoo flashed a half volley across the six yard box which clattered against Azeez’s head and over from close range.
Liam O’Neil was presented a half chance late in first half stoppage time, which the midfielder caught sweetly but saw dip over the top of the Dons goal, with United heading into the break trailing by a goal.
After half time, the U’s built momentum during a real purple patch around the hour mark. A miraculous piece of defending from the visitors saw Jordan Houghton cut out Amoo’s cross virtually on the goal line, producing a scorpion kick to lift the ball over the bar from a seemingly impossible position and what looked a certain equaliser.
Brad Halliday was denied by a smart stop from Lee Nicholls as Joe Dunne’s men continued to gather speed as the half progressed.
George Maris shifted the ball out of his feet to work room for a shot from an acute angle on 68 minutes, but the effort bobbled agonisingly wide of the mark.
However, it would prove to be another frustrating afternoon for the U’s with Nicholls getting gloves on a deflected shot late in the clash from O’Neil, that had the Abbey waiting to erupt, but it was not to be.
Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Taft, John, Taylor, Deegan (Knowles, 89 mins), O’Neil, Maris, Brown, Azeez, Amoo
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington, Walsh, Watson (D’ath, 90 mins), Gilbey (Brittain, 70 mins), Aneke (Simpson, 83 mins), Moore-Taylor, Houghton, Cargill, Healey
Attendance: 5,106 (951)
Man of the Match: Liam O’Neil