Both newly-promoted teams going into the unknown, both sides with controversial moves in their recent history. But for 90 minutes that was where the similarities between Barnet and MK Dons ended as the Bees ran out 3-1 winners.

Martin Allen will have been by far the happier of the two managers after watching his side pick up their third – and by far most impressive – victory in pre-season thanks to a John Akinde hat-trick.

The difference in Akinde alone from 12 months ago is remarkable and it can only be down to confidence. It took until the second league game for the hitman to open his account in black and amber but this summer already has seven goals and two hat-tricks – a stark contrast.

Akinde’s first arrived after 20 seconds and owed much to the tigerish will of strike partner Michael Gash to win the ball from the front. But the Dons levelled when Simon Church cracked home a penalty after three minutes.

But the half belonged the Akinde and last season’s Conference top scorer wrapped up a first-half hat-trick with two well-taken goals.

Trialist goalkeeper Ashlee Jones – as indicated after Tuesday’s defeat by Peterborough United – handed his second start in a week with Graham Stack again left out as a precautionary measure.

Andy Yiadom returned to right back whilst Bondz N’Gala came into the starting XI in place of Michael Nelson. Tom Champion partnered captain Curtis Weston in the centre of midfield whilst Luke Gambin and Ben Tomlinson began on the flanks.

Akinde has made a habit of quick goals in his 12 months at The Hive but this surely capped the lot. Owing much the sterling work of Gash, who first won the ball from centre and then slipped in the big forward, Akinde strode forward to plant behind David Martin after just 20 seconds.

And, in keeping with the breathless start to several of Barnet’s pre-season fixtures this summer, the Dons were level almost immediately.

Yiadom was penalised for a trip on former Ipswich Town striker Dean Bowditch and summer signing Church coolly fired the resulting spot-kick into the top right-hand corner to make it one apiece after three minutes.

That led to a quieter period in which the only real chance of note saw Church wriggle into the penalty area and force the ball under Jones, only for the covering Yiadom to clear off the line before it was too late.

The Bees re-took the lead in the 27th minute when a crunching challenge from Champion freed Gambin to drop the ball into the path of Akinde. The beefy striker galloped forward and spying Martin off his line, took aim to lob perfectly over the advancing gloveman.

A minute later Barnet should have been awarded a penalty when Gambin raced into the penalty area and sat up a delightful cross, which had he not been held, Yiadom would surely have nodded home from a couple of yards out.

But six minutes before the break the Bees went 3-1 ahead with Tomlinson the creator. The winger had drifted into a central position and took both MK Dons central defenders out the equation with a slide-rule pass which set Akinde through to wrap up his treble.

The second period did not begin at the same frenetic pace as the first and true chances were harder to come by.

Dons’ Bowditch really ought to have done better when he was released in space down the right of the penalty area but he could only drag wide of the far post without testing Jones.

The visitors should have snatched one back with 11 minutes remaining when substitute Daniel Powell stole a march on Elliott Johnson down the left-hand flank. But the pacey forward’s shot across the face of goal cracked off both posts before being cleared off the line.

Barnet might have added a fourth when substitute Kevin Lisbie got up highest at the back post to knock down for Matt Stevens but, for once, the 57-goal Under-18s hot-shot failed to knock home from close range.

Lisbie went close a couple of minutes later too, latching onto a Sam Muggleton hurl from inside the Barnet half before seeing his stab across goal blocked for a corner by Joe Walsh at the death.

Barnet now have a week off before travelling to Eastleigh for their penultimate pre-season friendly.

Barnet: Jones (T); Yiadom, N'Gala, Dembele, Johnson; Gambin (Muggleton 79), Champion, Weston (Togwell 79), Tomlinson; Akinde (Stevens 62), Gash (Lisbie 62).

Subs: Haigh (GK) (T), Hoyte, Nelson, Vilhete, Batt.

MK Dons: Martin; Hodson, McFadzean (Kay 20), Walsh, Lewington; Potter, Carruthers (Reeves HT); Baker, Rasulo (Jennings 61), Bowditch; Church (Powell HT).

Subs: Cropper (GK), Spence.

T = Trialist

Referee: Mick Russell.