Dons win at last as they see off Coventry to progress in the Leasing.com Trophy
MK Dons' 63-day wait between victories finally came to an end on Tuesday night as they beat Coventry 2-0 in the Leasing.com Trophy, but once again ended the match with 10-men.
After a goal-less first half, Kieran Agard and Joe Mason fired Dons into the next round but Brennan Dickenson's red card - Dons' fifth in six games - made things harder than they needed to be in the latter stages.
With the team in such a poor run, Russell Martin made just three changes to the side which lost in dramatic circumstances against Rotherham 10 days ago. Baily Cargill and George Williams are suspended for league action but were included in the defence, as Regan Poole, Callum Brittain and Jordan Bowery out.
Coventry boss Mark Robins meanwhile was able to make 11 changes to the side which drew with Ipswich Town in the FA Cup on Sunday.
After their fast start against Rotherham, Dons thought they had done it again when Kieran Agard lifted the ball over Ben Wilson and into the net after just four minutes, but he was called back for offside.
Much like the game earlier in the campaign, the first half was a very even affair, bordering on stale. Joe Mason, Hiram Boateng and Alex Gilbey came close for Dons, but Dons keeper Lee Nicholls would be both the villain and the hero for his side. After twice messing around on the ball and nearly caught out by Amadou Bakayoko, Nicholls did brilliantly to deny Gerevane Kastaneer before a finger-tip save kept out another Bakayoko header, via the post.
It was more nip-and-tuck stuff in the early second half exchanges, but it was Dons' insistence on playing out from the back which appeared to be causing them problems as on too many occasions, Coventry were gifted possession in the final third as the defence struggled under pressure.
It would be the home side though who would take the lead on 62 minutes. Having done well to win the corner, Kieran Agard was left with a straight forward finish thanks to Baily Cargill, who did not give up on Conor McGrandles' deep cross when the Coventry defence did, nodding back into the middle for Agard to tap home.
Despite Coventry forcing the issue to get back in it, bringing two more good saves from Nicholls, Dons doubled their advantage 10 minutes after taking the lead when McGrandles released Mason on the right, and the striker fired across Wilson for his second goal in as many games.
Alongside their torrid run on the field, Dons have been carrying something of a disciplinary problem with four red cards in their last five games, but Brennan Dickenson made that five in six when his 11-minute cameo saw him spark a scuffle and then clatter Coventry skipper Morgan Williams to pick up two bookings and an early bath five minutes before the end.
Cargill headed onto his own bar in stoppage time, but Coventry were unable to find a way back into it as Dons held on to claim their first win since October 1.
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 1,686 (544)
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Cargill, Walsh, G Williams, Houghton, Boateng (Dickenson 74), Gilbey, McGrandles (Kasumu 74), J Mason, Agard
Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Bowery, Asonganyi, Sorinola
Coventry City: Wilson, Watsoin, B Mason, Allen, Hiwula, O'Hare (Shipley 60), Bakayoko (Biamou 78), Kastaneer (Jones 78), Drysdale, M Williams, Eccles
Subs not used: Marosi, Westbrooke, Bapaga, Newton
Booked: McGrandles, Gilbey, Dickenson, Jones
Sent off: Dickenson