Max Dean scored his first goals of the season on Tuesday night as MK Dons cruised to a routine win over Chelsea U21s in the EFL Trophy.
The former Leeds United teenager came off the bench to fire in twice late on to earn Graham Alexander’s side a comfortable victory in their Group N opener, after goals from Matt Dennis and Jonathan Leko came either side of a Jimmy-Jay Morgan header for Chelsea.
For Graham Alexander's first venture into the EFL Trophy in MK Dons' dugout, he made eight changes to the side which started against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday. The most notable of those was Dean Lewington returning to the fold for the first time this season, having been injured in pre-season and absent since. There were also first senior starts handed to academy products Phoenix Scholtz and Callum Tripp, and keeper Nathan Harness following his summer move from Charlton Athetic.
Despite a quick start from the visitors, which saw Tyrique George fire into the side netting inside two minutes, Dons soon showed their experience against the young Blues and took the lead after just nine minutes. Matt Dennis' brilliant turn on half-way allowed him to show the defence a clean set of heels, and he picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
From there, it looked as though the floodgates would open. Conor Grant had three good chances but failed to hit the target with all of them with varying degrees of closeness, while Jonathan Leko, as well as everyone else, was left scratching his head as to how he didn't end the half with a goal to his name.
His first chance came on 13 minutes when he was picked out by Ash Hunter's expertly weighted pass, but with just keeper Eddie Beach to beat, somehow he fired into his feet.
Chelsea pulled a goal back from a rare attack - Somto Boniface's ball into the box found an unmarked Jimmy-Jay Morgan to head home on 32 minutes.
Leko would have another golden opportunity when he was slid in by Dennis but once again Beach came to Chelsea's rescue, denying the striker his second goal of the season.
He would eventually get his reward though ten minutes into the second-half as Dons retook the lead. Breaking through the middle, Leko bided his time before giving it to Scholtz who tested Beach, only for the rebound to fall to Leko to lift into the net.
Max Dean's first appearance of the season would come with 28 minutes to go, and he would ensure his name would be on the tip of Graham Alexander's tongue with a brace to secure the win for the home side.
His first came eight minutes after his introduction as he latched onto Leko's well-weighted pass, smashing it into the net past the hapless Beach, before an expert finish from the corner of the penalty area, bending it into the far corner of the net.
Referee: Jacob Miles
MK Dons: Harness, Tucker (O'Hora 62), Lewington (Waller 62), Ilunga, Scholtz, Tripp, Devoy, Hunter, Leko (Anker 62), Dennis (Dean 62)
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Gilbey, Harvie
Chelsea U21s: Beach, Gilchrist, Williams, Matos (McNeilly 80), Castledine, Morgan (Rakp-Sayki 80), Hughes (Gee 87), Stutter (Ampah 73), George, Boniface, Dyer (McMahon 80)
Subs not used: Merrick, Wilson
Booked: Scholtz, Devoy, Hunter, Leko, Boniface