Black Cats come from two down to beat the Dons.
Connor Wickham came off the bench to score a late double as Sunderland came from two goals down to beat MK Dons 4-2 at the Stadium of Light.
The England under-21 international struck in the 85th and 88th minute to ensure the Black Cats’ safe passage into the third round of the Capital One Cup after Jozy Altidore had initially replied to Patrick Bamford and Izale McLeod strikes for the hosts.
Adam Johnson bagged a fourth with a fine solo goal deep into injury time as the hosts showed a steely determination to score four goals in the final 13 minutes.
Paolo Di Canio made six changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Southampton at the weekend with David Moberg-Karlsson and Vito Mannone making their debuts.
Cabral, Valentin Roberge, David Vaughan and Ji Dong-Won were also given starts as Di Canio rotated his squad for their second game in four days.
Sunderland started on the front foot and were the first side to go close after Ji found Altidore inside the area but the USA front man couldn’t work space and his flick was easily caught by McLoughlin.
However the hosts found themselves behind on six minutes as Dele Alli fed Chelsea loanee Bamford who buried a sweetly struck 20-yard drive beyond Mannone.
The Italian stopper was called into action just four minutes later and produced a fine save as a Dons free-kick was deflected by Cabral towards his own goal.
The visitors continued to pressure on the break and when Alan Smith found McLeod the striker should have done better when one-on-one with Mannone but he dragged his shot just wide.
Johnson was a constant threat for Sunderland and he did excellently down the right before his cross was cleared to Colback who shot into Moberg Karlsson who then volleyed wide.
Ondrej Celustka then went close to grabbing his first Sunderland goal but the Czech defender headed Johnson’s free-kick over.
The Black Cats’ best chance of the half fell to Altidore who curled a 20-yard strike against the post before Moberg Karlsson couldn’t get enough power on his follow up to bundle the ball over the line.
Wickham replaced Ji after just three second-half minutes but the Dons doubled their advantage just minutes after the former Ipswich striker took to the field as McLeod chipped Mannone after being fed in by Carruthers.
Wickham, Celustka and Johnson all went close to finding an equaliser but it looked as if it was going to elude the hosts until Altidore gave Di Canio’s side a lifeline; the USA front man latched on to Wickham’s through pass and slid the ball past McLoughlin from close range.
Seven minutes later and Wickham sent the crowd into elation when he drove Celustka’s cut back home from close range.
The magnificent come back was secured when Altidore set a quick free-kick to Wickham and the young striker struck from 20-yards off the back of his strike partner and beyond McLoughlin for 3-2.
Johnson sealed Sunderland’s progress deep into injury-time with a fine solo run which was matched by a stunning finish from a tight angle.
Sunderland: Mannone, Celustka, Colback, Cabral (Larsson, 59), O’Shea ©, Roberge, Johnson, Vaughan, Altidore, Ji (Wickham, 48), Moberg-Karlsson (Mavrias, 64).
Subs not used: Westwood, Fletcher, Ba, Cuellar.
MK Dons: McLoughlin, Baldock, Reeves, Alli, Kay, Williams, Bamford (Otsemobor, 69), Smith, McLeod (Chadwick, 82), Gleeson, Carruthers (Banton, 69).
Subs not used: Burns, Hodson, Rasulo, Galloway.
- Yellow Roberge
- Moberg-Karlsson (Mavrias)
- Yellow Johnson
- Adilson Cabral (Larsson)
- Ji (Wickham)
- McLoughlin Yellow
- Baldock Yellow
- Carruthers (Banton)
- Bamford (Otsemobor) Yellow
- McLeod (Chadwick)