Bury 4-3 MK Dons: Remarkable collapse sees Dons throw it away
A catastrophic final 17 minutes saw MK Dons turn a 3-1 advantage into a 4-3 loss against promotion rivals Bury in a remarkable game at Gigg Lane on Saturday.
In a game that had absolutely everything, Jordan Moore-Taylor opened the scoring before Jay O'Shea missed a spot kick. He then converted at a second attempt from the spot, but parity lasted just three minutes when Dean Lewington's excellent free kick restored Dons' lead.
An own goal early in the second period put Dons 3-1 up and cruising, but Dominic Telford's goal with 17 minutes to go sparked a sensational collapse for Paul Tisdale's side. The unplayable Danny Mayor equalised three minutes later before former Dons striker Nicky Maynard flicked home in stoppage time to win it for the Shakers.
The result sees Dosn slip behind Bury in the table, now third.
A week off after their 6-0 win over Cambridge last time out, MK Dons welcomed back Joe Walsh and Jordan Moore-Taylor into the defence, at the expense of Conor McGrandles and Mathieu Baudry. With Rhys Healey back at Cardiff City after his loan ended, Peter Pawlett played in behind strikers Chuks Aneke and Kieran Agard.
It was a breathless opening 15 minutes which featured a little bit of everything. George Williams lasted just six minutes before he hobbled off with a hamstring problem, replaced by Conor McGrandles. A corner then won innocuously after Chris Stokes' poor ball back to his keeper, Moore-Taylor's bullet header put Dons into the lead after nine minutes.
Bury threatened to draw level when Dominic Telford fired just wide, but Jay O'Shea's quick feet bamboozled the Dons defence into a foul and a penalty. Lee Nicholls though was a match for the penalty, diving to his left to deny the former Dons man from the spot.
Dons should have doubled their advantage on the 20 minute mark when a wonderful ball from Aneke unleashed Alex Gilbey over the half-way line, but with the ball working out to Pawlett on the right side of the box, his strike was straight at keeper Joe Murphy.
Danny Mayor and Jay O'Shea were given a lot of freedom to play in the Bury midfield and they were causing a lot of the problems Dons' defence had to deal with. Telford though should have equalised when a straight forward ball into the area allowed him a sight of goal, though his bending effort was just wide of the mark.
After squandering the first spot kick, O'Shea had another opportunity to draw Bury level when, on 32 minutes, Joe Walsh was adjudged to have downed skipper Neil Danns. And O'Shea made no mistakes in thrashing it home past Nicholls.
The lead lasted just three minutes though as the game took another swing back into Dons' direction. In a narrow free kick which was just inches away from being a spot kick at the other end, Dean Lewington bent a wonderful free kick past Murphy to restore Dons' lead.
The second half continued in an equally breathless fashion, but the hapless Chris Stokes made it a lot harder for the home side seven minutes after the restart when he put Lewington's cross in to his own net to make it 3-1.
Having ridden a storm, Dons had a handful of chances to put it out of reach but squandered them with Aneke, Gilbey and Cargill firing wide of the mark.
With those chances missed though, Bury got back into it with 17 minutes to go when Telford breezed past Walsh to lash home their second.
And four minutes later they were level when Mayor lashed home as he cut inside onto his right foot, firing between Nicholls' legs.
With their tails up, the home side should have won it with three minutes to go when Nicky Maynard, who had been fairly quiet all afternoon, managed to work space on the edge of the six yard box but incredibly missed the target.
But the former Dons man would have the last laugh in stoppage time when he managed to get a flick onto Nicky Adams' cross as it sailed into the far corner.
Referee: Peter Bankes
Attendance: 4,072 (259)
Bury: Murphy, Stokes (O'Connell 55), Aimson, Thompson, Adams, Mayor, Telford (Omotayo 89), McFadzean, O'Shea, Danns (Moore 55), Maynard
Subs not used: Moloney, Miller, Cooney, Hulme
MK Dons: Nicholls, Moore-Taylor, Cargill, Walsh, Lewington, Williams (McGrandles 6), Houghton, Gilbey, Pawlett (D'Ath 69), Agard (Sow 87), Aneke
Subs not used: Moore, Baudry, Watson, Simpson