Fleetwood snatch late winner to break Dons' defensive resolve
A stout defensive performance came undone with five minutes to go as Dons slump worsened further, losing 1-0 to Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
Setting out to draw the game 0-0 may not be the right way to alter their fortunes in the long term, but after one point in seven League One games, Paul Tisdale's tactics seemed to work until Lee Nicholls collided with Regan Poole as the keeper went to field a routine cross, dropping the ball at the feet of Fleetwood striker Ched Evans to tap home the decisive goal for Joey Barton's side.
Dropping to 20th in the table, Dons' terrible run continues for another week, with a vital clash against similarly struggling Tranmere Rovers at Stadium MK up next week.
After the defeat on Tuesday night to Rochdale, Paul Tisdale made wholesale changes to his side, making five alterations to the side which started at Spotland. Out went Baily Cargill, David Kasumu, Conor McGrandles, Jordan Bowery and Brennan Dickenson, in favour of Joe Walsh, Regan Poole, Kieran Agard, Jordan Houghton and Hiram Boateng.
For the opening half hour, Dons looked more than comfortable to play without the ball, as Fleetwood were given the freedom to control the play. Town skipper Paul Coutts was pulling all the strings for the home side as they won a string of corners, but struggled to really make Lee Nicholls work. While Dons attacks were few and far between, they had the first real sight of goal when Hiram Boateng headed George Williams' cross over the top.
Fleetwood continued to be the team in the ascendency and had the ball in the net six minutes before half time only to see it chalked off for a foul on keeper Nicholls in the build-up.
It was certainly more of the same in the second period as Fleetwood threw everything at the visitors. Kyle Dempsey and Paddy Madden both had half-sights of goal which called Nicholls into action, but more so than their chances was their possession and territory hemming Dons into their penalty area for long periods.
Surviving half an hour in the second half, Dons looked to chance tack in the latter stages as Jordan Bowery was introduced into the fray to play alongside Agard. It meant the strong defensive performance was a more nervous affair. Moore-Taylor was again superb for Dons, but Regan Poole and Joe Walsh too were in brilliant form as they threw everything in the way of Fleetwood's fleeting attacks.
So it was such a cruel irony that Poole was the man who collided with Nicholls when the keeper went to claim the ball in the air, dropping the ball in the path of Ched Evans to tap home the decisive goal with five minutes to go.
Referee: Marc Edwards
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Andrew (McAleny 82), Souttar, Burns, Dempsey, Morris (Evans 46), Dunne, Coutts, Rossiter (Hunter 60), Madden
Subs not used: Crellin, Clarke, Southam-Hales, Sowerby
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington (Cargill 89), Walsh, Moore-Taylor, Williams, Poole, Gilbey, Houghton, Brittain (Bowery 70), Boateng (McGrandles 58), Agard
Subs not used: Moore, Dickenson, Martin, Harley
Booked: Moore-Taylor, Lewington, Houghton