Carlisle United got right back to winning ways at stadiummk on Tuesday night as they put their weekend disappointment at Oldham behind them with a disciplined and often eye-catching performance which brought them a thoroughly deserved three points.
It is now just one defeat in seven games for Carlisle boss Graham Kavanagh as his side made light of the MK Dons unbeaten home record to claim the spoils courtesy of former-Don Lewis Guy.
"Karl [Robinson] has a very good team here and I'm sure they'll win a lot more games than they'll lose," Kavanagh said. "They had a couple of players missing tonight but it was up to us to capitalise on that, and that's exactly what we did."
The hosts settled into a neat passing style of play and an incisive through ball from Carruthers allowed Reeves to spin his man and cross low from the byline. Powell got there but he stabbed his effort wide as he stretched to meet it at the back post.
The lively Ben Reeves found another good delivery as he ran clear on the right and Powell held his ground as he watched the ball come in. It eventually fell for him and a guided volley had Gillespie beaten as it whisked past the upright.
The home side pressed forward and a full-blooded tackle from Banton opened an unexpected path to the edge of the area. Darren Potter let one fly but Gillespie was comfortable as it curled away from the target.
Carlisle were guilty of an almost very costly mistake midway through the first half when keeper Mark Gillespie lost his footing as he raced to meet a firm back pass from Chimbonda. His hurried clearance left Samir Carruthers with an open goal to aim at but the surprised midfielder couldn’t find the target with his 30-yard volley.
Carruthers was next to waste the good build up play which had gone before when he twisted and turned in possession in the Carlisle half. He had options and he wheeled away in frustration as a poor shot ballooned over the bar.
The Cumbrians started to play their football and a dangerous run from Robson brought half a sight of goal for Amoo as he pulled clear at the back stick. He lobbed a pass back into the danger area but Flanagan dived to clear it before Potts could pounce.
Matt Robson stroked a weak long range effort wide at one end and Jason Banton curled an equally uninspiring punt into Gillespie’s hands at the other as both sides pressed buttons without quite managing to find the breakthrough.
The visitors passed their way into the lead on 34 minutes when Lewis Guy started and finished a fantastic move. His composure allowed Robson to feed Townsend on the overlap for a cross and David Amoo set himself for a spectacular scissor-kick volley as he found himself in space. He connected firmly as he sent the ball back across the face of goal and the timing was perfect for the late arrival of Guy to thunder into the roof of the net as he somehow wrapped his boot around a crunching volley.
Gillespie completed parried saves from Banton and Carruthers ahead of half time as the Dons piled on some pressure but it was the visitors who almost extended their first half lead when Amoo clipped the ball over the back line. Brad Potts used his strength to shrug Lewington out of the way but he couldn’t find the finish to match the work which had gone before.
The Dons tried to increase the pace of the game after the break and a weaving run from Banton led to another testing cross. An intervention from O’Hanlon sat up nicely for Carruthers and Chimbonda did well to make the block.
Lewis Guy headed wide as he stretched to meet a Robson delivery and United’s left winger blazed a powerful effort into the side netting when he ran from deep to get to the edge of the area.
And it was United who should have extended their lead when Townsend stepped in to take control on the half way line as his poise sparked the move of the game. He fed Guy who immediately spread the play for Robson to swing one in. Conor Townsend had continued his run but he couldn’t keep his close range diving header on target and the moment was gone.
David Amoo was next in the queue and he stepped inside before crashing an off-balance attempt into the newly completed stands. A thunderstorm exploded over stadiummk as the clock ticked past the hour mark but the thunder, lightning and driving rain did little to upset the attacking flow as Carlisle slowly edged their way even further on top.
Amoo and Robson stretched the back line with more testing crosses from wide and both Symington and Potts went close to finishing them off. The expected late onslaught from the home side failed to materialise but Bamford was within a whisker when he made a corner his own. His header was firm but was always heading to safety.
Carlisle continued to look the more likely and an inch perfect cross had to be blocked as substitute Lee Miller steamed in. The clearance from Flanagan bounced to Danny Livesey and his chested volley almost snapped the bar as it left the keeper flapping at thin air.
The visitors settled with their one goal lead as the frustration on the terraces grew in volume and it was a deserved and prolonged round of applause from the 263-strong band of travelling fans as they celebrated yet another good performance.
United - Guy (34)
MK Dons - Potter (65)
United - Thirlwell (45)
MK Dons - McLoughlin, Otsemobor, Lewington, Flanagan, Hodson (Baldock 53), Potter, Reeves, Bamford, Powell, Banton (McLeod 53), Carruthers (Chadwick 53). Subs - Burns, Smith, Galloway, Rasulo.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, McSweeney (Livesey 54), Chimbonda, O'Hanlon, Townsend, Thirlwell, Noble, Potts (Miller 84), Amoo, Guy (Symington 63), Robson. Subs - Fleming, Gillies, Beck, Eccleston.
Referee - Mr Andy D'Urso
Attendance - 6,655 (263 away fans)