Despite playing against 10 men from the sixth minute, Karl Robinson still can’t claim victory at London Road as Peterborough won 2-1 on Saturday.
Nathaniel Knight-Percival was given a very early bath after striking Patrick Bamford in the face after just six minutes, but it didn’t stop the home side taking a 2-0 first half lead. Lee Tomlin fired in the opener from the penalty spot after Danny Swanson was fouled by Shaun Williams before Britt Assombalonga rifled them two goals ahead.
Dons penned them in in the second half, and Izale McLeod pulled one back for the visitors before Mark Little was then given his marching orders for a stamp on Dean Lewington. But even with two fewer men, it wasn’t enough for Dons to get a last-gasp equaliser.
Karl Robinson named an unchanged side to the one which started in the 3-1 victory over Notts County a week earlier. Lee Hodson returned to the substitutes bench.
The fiery match had barely kicked off before there was drama, and it put Dons in an ideal position to get on top. After just six minute Nathaniel Knight-Percival chased a ball back toward his own byline, with Patrick Bamford in tow. Incredibly, the Peterborough defender thrust an arm up into Bamford’s face. After consulting with his linesman, referee Darren Drysdale showed Knight-Percival a straight red card.
But it didn’t stop Peterborough from taking the lead five minutes later though. A driving run from Danny Swanson up the Peterborough right saw him skip passed three Dons defenders. His run appeared to come to an end when Chadwick got a toe to the ball, but Williams’ clearance hit Swanson and allowed him clean into the box. Williams then appeared to slip over, taking Swanson with him - Drysdale having no choice but to award the penalty. Lee Tomlin made no mistakes, hammering Posh into the lead with a firmly struck penalty straight down the middle.
The game was allowed to settle after the opener, but the hostility between the two was still bubbling away under the surface. There were handbags between Michael Bostwick and Danny Green, and a few crunching challenges in midfield but Drysdale did well to keep his cards in his pocket.
Dons, with the man advantage, got themselves into some good positions in wide areas, but the crossing was distinctly lacking and all too often over hit. Jon Otsemobor should have scored with a header from four yards but managed to put it wide, before a great move allowed Bamford a free header, but he hit it straight at Bobby Olejnik.
And it was from that miss that Peterborough went straight up the other end to double the lead. A long ball over the top allowed Britt Assombalonga to finally beat the offside trap, racing in behind to smash in Peterborough’s second after 33 minutes.
Olejnik almost let Dons back into it two minutes before the half time break when he spilled Danny Green’s ambitious free kick into the path of Bamford, but the striker somehow managed to mishit the ball with the goal gaping. Olejnik made up for the error a minute later though when his thrust a big right hand at Green’s strike from the edge of the box to tip it over the top.
He was unsighted seconds into the second half when George Baldock pulled the trigger from the edge of the box, but somehow he darted across his line to get his finger-tips to the ball, touching it on to the post as Dons burst out the box. Izale McLeod had replaced Danny Green at half time as Dons went ultra-attacking to try and get back into the game.
But Peterborough should have put the game to bed 13 minutes after the restart when Craig Alcock cut back for an unmarked Assombalonga no more than 10 yards out, but he fired well over the bar.
The home sides’ defence was standing firm as Dons tried to tie the screws. Playing much of their football well inside the Peterborough half, Posh defenders threw themselves in front of shot after shot from the edge of the area, and what did make it through inevitably seemed to be straight at Olejnik.
Dons finally made a breakthrough with 17 minutes remaining. After Bamford missed a fairly simple header a minute earlier, he turned provider when Alan Smith’s looping header made it to him at the far stick. Knocking it back across goal, McLeod was on hand to tap in from close range to bring the game right back within Dons’ reach.
Mark Little then hit the self-destruct button with 15 minutes to go when he was given his marching orders after stamping on Dean Lewington on the halfway line, reducing Peterborough to nine men for the remainder of the game.
The visitors continued to throw everything they had at Peterborough, who, as expected, played with their backs firmly against the wall. Olejnik made good saves from Smith and Bamford in the closing 10 minutes, while Baldock and Potter both put efforts into the stand behind the goal.
But Peterborough’s stern defence held firm under increasing pressure, and eventually David Martin in the Posh penalty area, though they held on to win it.
Dons’ unbeaten record ended with the defeat, and saw them slip to eighth in League 1.
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 8,149 (874)
Peterborough: Olejnik, Alcock, Bostwick (McCann 67), Swanson, Payne, Assombalonga, Tomlin (Zakuani 46), Rowe, Knight-Percival, Barrentt (Ntlhe 80), Little
Subs not used: Day, Newell, Mendez-Laing, Gordon
MK Dons: Martin, Otsemobor, Lewington, Williams, Kay, Gleeson, Potter, Carruthers (Baldock 33), Green (McLeod 46), Chadwick (Smith 62), Bamford
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Hodson, Alli, Banton
Booked: Tomlin, Assombalonga, Swanson, Barnett
Sent off: Knight-Percival