Josh Magennis scored a well-taken brace as Hull City climbed to the top of League One with victory at MK Dons.
In a crazy opening 12 minutes, Magennis’ right-footed volley was cancelled out by Stephen Walker’s close-range finish before the Northern Irishman powered the Tigers back in front.
Substitute James Scott secured a fifth straight win in all competitions with a flicked 76th-minute header – his third goal in four outings.
Grant McCann made three changes from the last league game against Burton, with Alfie Jones, Hakeeb Adelakun and Magennis – back from international duty – returning to the starting XI.
Greg Docherty missed out through injury, with Keane Lewis-Potter also absent having only just finished his period of self-isolation.
Adelakun made a goalscoring impact off the bench against the Brewers and looked to get on the scoresheet again inside the first two minutes, firing well wide from outside the box.
There was a let off for the visitors as Adelakun failed to clear his lines from a corner but Walker skewed his shot wide.
The Tigers had scored in every previous league game and that trend continued with eight minutes on the clock.
Mallik Wilks chased a ball down the right and laid it back for Josh Emmanuel to cross first time towards Magennis, who hooked a right-footed volley into the bottom corner.
But the visitors’ lead lasted barely three minutes as Richie Smallwood inadvertently diverted Ben Gladwin’s centre into the path of Walker, who swivelled and swept home from close range.
No sooner had the Dons levelled, the Tigers were back in front.
Callum Elder’s low cross was collected by Magennis, who turned smartly before rifling a powerful left-footed drive into the roof of the net at home keeper Andrew Fisher’s near post.
In a remarkably open contest, Russell Martin’s men could have equalised again but Cameron Jerome fluffed his lines when well placed, miskicking from Ben Gladwin’s delivery.
MK were dominating possession and causing problems with their slick passing approach.
Scott Fraser turned and fired over from a narrow angle and Matt Ingram claimed Walker’s cross-shot at the second attempt after the Middlesbrough loanee had breezed past Emmanuel.
A gilt-edge chance for the Dons went begging on 33 minutes as Matthew Sorinola’s delightful lofted pass sent Walker galloping clear down the right.
The Dons dangerman advanced into the area but Ingram stood tall to block his effort.
Sorinola fired well wide from the edge of the box, while a similar attempt from Adelakun produced the same result.
In comparison to the first half, the second was a much tighter affair with precious few chances for either side.
The hosts continued to enjoy plenty of the ball, with centre-backs Jacob Greaves and Reece Burke both forced into vital defensive contributions.
Tom Eaves and Scott were introduced midway through the half and, not for the first time this season, the subs combined to devastating effect with 14 minutes remaining.
George Honeyman’s deep corner was headed back by Eaves for Scott to glance a close-range header in off the post to give Hull City breathing space.
Gaps began to open up and Scott should have made it 4-1 when the ball was played to him in acres of space but he opted to pass instead of shoot.
Wilks drove towards the box before hitting a left-footed drive straight at Dons custodian Fisher.
Sorinola had a chance to reduce the arrears in the final minute of normal time but Ingram was equal to his near-post effort.
MK Dons: Andrew Fisher, Dean Lewington © (Baily Cargill 83’), Richard Keogh, Ben Gladwin (Regan Poole 73’), David Kasumu (Carlton Morris 73’), Scott Fraser, Stephen Walker, Warren O’Hara, Jordan Houghton (Andrew Surman 65’), Matthew Sorinola, Cameron Jerome (Lasse Sorensen 83’).
Subs not used: Lee Nicholls, John Freeman.
Hull City: Matt Ingram; Josh Emmanuel, Reece Burke, Jacob Greaves, Callum Elder; Alfie Jones, Richie Smallwood © (Dan Batty 82’), George Honeyman (Regan Slater 82’); Mallik Wilks (Martin Samuelsen 87’), Josh Magennis (Tom Eaves 66’), Hakeeb Adelakun (James Scott 66’).
Subs not used: George Long, Lewie Coyle.