By Gerry Prewett.
All the games between Rovers and MK Dons have been played since 2006 and the Dons certainly have the advantage with 7 victories to Rovers 4, with 3 games drawn.
The first game took place on 19 August 2006 at the National Hockey Stadium, the Dons ran out 2-0 winners. Lloyd Dyer gave the hosts a 30th minute lead and former Rovers target Clive Platt doubled the lead in the 64thminute.
One notable feature of games between the clubs is how close they are. There has only been one 0-0 draw and the biggest winning margin was 2-0, until Rovers’ New Years Day visit earlier this year under Ben Garner. The previous time that one team scored 3 goals in this fixture, they both did, in a remarkable 3-3 draw at Stadium MK on 18 October 2016 when Matty Taylor completed a very late hat-trick, with goals in the 87thand 88thminute to stun the home team.
Rovers victory in this fixture was on 3 March 2018. The hosts started brightly and went close to taking the lead when Robbie Muirhead cut inside on 15 minutes, before firing a left-footed strike just over the Rovers goal. Liam Sercombe threatened for Rovers 10 minutes later when his half-volley inside the Dons box was superbly saved by Lee Nicholls.
The Gas then took a deserved lead five minutes after the break as Ellis Harrison broke down the flank before cutting inside and delicately dinking a fine finish over the head of MK keeper Nicholls. Despite Muirhead forcing Sam Slocombe into a testing save late on, Dan Micciche's men couldn't find an equaliser.
In the New Years’ Day fixture the Gas should have taken the lead inside 13 minutes when Jonson Clarke-Harris' cross found the unmarked Luke Leahy in the Dons box, but his first-time strike was superbly saved by home goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.
MK scored minutes later, though, when frontman Rhys Healey swivelled in the Rovers box to beat his marker before firing an emphatic left-footed strike home to continue his impressive goalscoring form, 3 goals in 3 games.
Russell Martin's men doubled their lead just after the hour, when Dean Lewington's pass sent striker Sam Nombe through on goal, before the youngster tapped home.
Former Bristol City player Kieran Agard then added the third late on.