The MK Dons stunned Premiership new boys Blackpool on Tuesday night, sending the Seasiders hurtling out of the Carling Cup with a 4-3 victory after extra time.
Dons manager Karl Robinson has already expressed his desire for a good cup run to drive their season forward, and his forces got off to a dream start when Sam Baldock’s superb effort lobbed keeper Mark Halstead to put the League one outfit 1-0 up just 53 seconds into the tie.
Ian Holloway made no less than ten changes to the side thumped 6-0 at Arsenal at the weekend, although the Tangerines boss wasn’t at the stadium:mk to witness his side’s second reality check in the space of a few days.
Blackpool, though, improved in the second half and had a goal chalked off for offside. They finally got their reward on 52 minutes, when Brett Ormerod latched on to Neal Eardley’s pass to level things up.
However, Ormerod’s joy was to be short-lived as Angelo Balanta fought past Chris Basham and raced down the left wing, eventually producing a probing pass into the 18-yard-box to find Jermain Easter, who slotted home.
But far from sitting on their lead, the Dons went for the jugular and looked to have killed off Blackpool when Easter got his second two minutes later after good work from Sam Baldock.
The men in orange were not going to go down without a fight, though, and they seized their opportunity to get back into the game with both hands. Danny Woodards was punished for a seemingly harmless and well timed tackle on Tom Barkhuizen, the referee awarding ‘Pool a free kick.
Ludovic Sylvestre made no mistake with the blasting free kick that curled into the bottom corner. The Premier League side were back in it, and the Dons’ fans nerves were somewhat jangling when they brought on two of their star players, captain Charlie Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher to try and find an equaliser.
At first the substitutions seemed to make little difference, with the Dons still in control, and even having chances to put the game to bed once and for all, Balanta coming close after 71 minutes with a shot that went just wide.
But with just under ten minutes to go, Blackpool salvaged their pride when Dons captain Dean Lewington shoved Ormerod to lead referee Tony Bates to point to the spot. Adam stepped up coolly and converted the penalty with a powerful drive into the inside of the post.
The linesman’s flag denied Blackpool for the second time of the night after sub Taylor-Fletcher thought he had completed the comeback. Peter Leven went on to hit the post for the Dons but extra time was required to settle what had been a thrilling 90 minutes of football in Milton Keynes.
Leven was determined to have an impact though, and five minutes into the second half of extra time, his pass found Easter, who headed down to find Lewis Guy in the box. Guy controlled well and restored the Dons' lead, much to the delight of the raucous fans behind the goal.
MK Dons will now have their name in the hat for Saturday’s third round draw, and could now face one of the Premier League giants in a huge money-spinning tie.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.