Exeter City fell to their first defeat of the season as a Kieran Agard penalty saw MK Dons record a 1-0 victory.
The Grecians, backed by a large away following had their chances in both halves, but were reduced to 10 men when Dean Moxey was shown a second yellow card for handball in the box. And, although Agard’s first penalty was saved, his second spot kick – when Stockley handled in the area – was converted.
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City manager Matt Taylor made one change to the starting line-up from the side that beat Cambridge United last time out with Lee Holmes coming in for Lee Martin.
In the MK Dons starting XI there were a couple of familiar faces with Robbie Simpson and Jordan Moore-Taylor lining up for Paul Tisdale’s team.
It was the home side who had the majority of possession and territory in the opening 45 minutes, but in terms of chances it was very much even.
City were dealt a blow eight minutes in when Jonathan Forte exited with a calf injury having raced to get on the end of a Jayden Stockley flick on. He was replaced by Lee Martin.
Dean Lewington had the first effort on target, after 18 minutes, when he hit a free-kick from the edge of the box that forced Christy Pym into a smart save. However, five minutes later, City responded as Nicky Law fed a good ball into Lee Martin in the box and he found the side netting.
Moments later it was Lee Holmes’ turn to go close but, after good work from Stockley and Lee Martin, he could only curl an effort a foot wide of the post. Agard then hit an angled drive that Pym saved with ease before Callum Brittain was presented with the best chance of first half but he was put under enough pressure from Nicky Law to slice his effort wide of the goal from 10 yards.
The second half began where the first half left off as Brittain got into another good shooting chance, but this time he was denied by a superb sliding block from Dean Moxey.
City responded as Lee Holmes got down the left and crossed for Stockley but Joe Walsh got to the ball just before the Grecians striker and gave him a whack for his troubles.
The match then appeared to have swung in MK Dons' favour when Dean Moxey handled the ball in the area and was shown a second yellow card for the offence. However, Pym made a superb save from Agard’s penalty to keep the scores level.
Aaron Martin was in the right place to make a vital interception as Robbie Simpson got free down the right side of the box and attempt to square a pass to one of his teammates.
However, MK Dons managed to nudge themselves in front on 65 minute when City were punished again for a handball in the area from a cross into the box. This time it was Stockley that handled and when the referee pointed to the spot for a second time Agard sent Pym the wrong way to put the hosts in front.
It was almost 2-0 moments later as Brittain nodded a ball to the back post across the face of goal but Agard could only direct his effort wide from close range.
Back came City though on 69 minutes as Woodman crossed for Aaron Martin to head an effort over from eight yards out. Then, with 10 minutes to go, the ball dropped kindly for Sweeney in the box but he couldn’t turn and get a shot on target.
However, City’s standout players on the day had to be alert once more in the closing stages to deny MK Dons a second. First Aaron Martin put in a superb sliding challenge to block an effort from Jordan Houhgton before Pym tipped a deep cross out of the top corner of his goal.
The Grecians did have a chance in the final minute of stoppage time as Pierce Sweeney crossed for Tristan Abrahams to head wide, but it was MK Dons who kept their unbeaten record in tact with the 1-0 win.
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington, Walsh, Gilbey (Cisse, 80), Agard, Moore-Taylor, Simpson (Healey, 71), Houhgton, Brittain (D’Ath, 86), Cargill. Subs not used: Moore, Watson, Hancox, Nombe.
Exeter City: Pym; Sweeney, A Martin, Moxey, Woodman (Abrahams, 86); Taylor, Law, Boateng, Holmes (Croll, 55); Stockley, Forte (L Martin, 10). Subs not used: Hamon, O’Shea, Tillson, Jay
Booked: Moxey, Stockley
Attendance: 7,672 (989, away)