Clinical United claim much needed win
Carlisle United ended January on a high as they found a clinical streak in front of goal to bag themselves a thoroughly deserved three points.
It was a tight start in what was an important game for both sides but United showed intent when Potts spread the play to Lawrence. The striker twisted and turned inside the area but the referee blew for a push as Robson swung the cut-back into the box.
Tom Lawrence was involved again as he closed Hodson down near the corner flag and his block allowed him to cross into the danger area. Lewington stepped in to clear as Miller made a move.
Miller and Amoo clashed when it appeared that a mistake had let the Cumbrians in on goal and it was relief all round for the Dons defence as the big striker hit the floor when he had a clear run in front of him.
A quick break brought the visitors into the game when Reeves slid Long into a good area. He took it past Meppen-Walter but it was a tight angle and Fleming was able to save.
The Dons kept the pressure on and Alli whipped a low cross at the near post for Long to dummy. Meppen-Walter watched it and his hooked clearance temporarily cleared the danger.
United defended the corner well but the clearing header from Chimbonda fell into the path of the waiting Deli Alli. He went for glory from distance but he couldn't keep the shot down.
The home side regained the upper hand and a turn from Miller inside the box left him with the ball at his feet and his back to goal. Amoo was on hand but the touch to set him up was heavy and the shot was dragged rather than struck.
Captain Sean O'Hanlon was close to registering against his former club when he rose highest for a Berrett corner. Martin moved across to gather as the powerful header angled at the top corner.
Both sides created chances and Reeves was next in the queue to have a go when he set himself for a 30 yard free kick. Fleming did well to drop low at his near post and gather the awkwardly bouncing shot.
O'Hanlon went close again when he stayed deep for another good Berrett corner and Martin found himself in no man's land as the ball dropped over his head. The centre half adjusted his feet but it was a difficult volley and he rattled it into the side netting.
Strong work from Chimbonda opened things up when he charged down a Lewington clearance as United continued to work hard. Quick thinking from Miller released Potts but he had to rush his shot and he fizzed his first time effort well wide.
The Dons had their moments and Fleming went full stretch to block a thundering drive from Long as he found unexpected time. Potter pounced on the parry but Meppen-Walter blocked and United survived the scare.
The hosts kept plugging away and a free kick from wide on the right brought a first goal in nine games for Lee Miller as he got the slightest of touches to finish off a wonderfully struck Tom Lawrence effort.
And the lead was doubled on 42 minutes when James Berrett surged forward with purpose through a packed midfield. Amoo matched him stride for stride and Brad Potts was on hand to score the first goal of his professional career as he slid in to stab it over the line from very close range.
MK Dons went with a double substitution for the start of the second half and Meppen-Walter had to clear from the head of Powell as Baldock overlapped and clipped it into the danger area.
United had the chance to wrap things up for the night when Amoo was sent into acres of space on the right flank with Lawrence screaming for a pass. The young striker was left to wheel away in disappointment as the delivery ran behind his run and away to safety.
Pascal Chimbonda showed good concentration when Baldock shrugged off his marker and clipped the ball at the penalty spot. The right back had to go low to send his diving header out of the box.
The Cumbrians started to boss the midfield and Berrett, Lawrence and Amoo sent shots over the bar as United held their shape and pulled the strings.
Tom Lawrence earned a round of applause when he jinked and swerved his way to the byline, but there was better to come from the resulting corner when David Amoo rose to thump an unstoppable header into the back of the net to make it eleven for the campaign and all but wrap up the points.
Greg Fleming was quick on his toes midway through the half when he scampered off his line to grasp a deflected Reeves cross from the feet of the onrushing Dean Bowditch.
Reeves went close when he picked up a loose ball in the centre circle and strode forward, but he had to shoot through a gaggle of bodies and he could only send it wide.
Second year youth team midfielder Kyle Dempsey came off the bench to make his senior debut with five minutes left to play but there was still work to do for the home side as Powell broke through to go one on one. Fleming spread himself to preserve the clean sheet and to help his side celebrate the win in style.
United - Miller (39), Potts (42), Amoo (58)
United - Fleming, Chimbonda, O'Hanlon, Meppen-Walter, Robson, Potts, Noble, Berrett, Amoo (Dempsey 85), Miller (Drennan 76), Lawrence (Symington 90). Subs - Bouzanis, Livesey, Buaben, Guy.
MK Dons - Martin, lewington, Flanagan, Hodson, Gleeson, Potter, Reeves, Alli (Powell 46), Long (Bowditch 60), Carruthers (Baldock 46), Kay. Subs - Chadwick, Smith, McLeod, McLoughlin.
Referee: Mr David Coote
Attendance: 3,007 (103)