Grimsby 1-0 MK Dons: More misery as Dons beaten by 10-man Mariners
MK Dons' dismal run of form continued on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 by 10-man Grimsby Town.
Wes Thomas' straight-forward header on 28 minutes was enough to win it for the home side, who were dealt a first half blow when Harry Davis was sent off five minutes before the break to reduce them to 10 men.
But despite the man advantage, Dons never once tested keeper Sam Russell, with a handful of half-chances all they had to their name, while Thomas drew two terrific stops from Lee Nicholls at the other end late in the day as Dons fell to their fifth defeat in seven games, dropping to sixth in League 2.
With just one win in six, Paul Tisdale rang the changes for the trip to Blundell Park, making four to the side which started in the 1-0 defeat to Crewe a week earlier. Russell Martin and David Wheeler were handed their debuts, while Ryan Watson took over on the right flank and Osman Sow led the line in place of Chuks Aneke who dropped to the bench.
It was a stuttering start to proceedings in Cleethorpes, not helped by referee Paul Marsden's incessant whistle blowing stopping any flow in the game. Martin, making his debut, was probably Dons' stand-out in the opening stages as he showed terrific game-reading to win most of his battles.
Wheeler, another man making his debut, was struggling to make an impact on the game, but was was hardly helped by his new team-mates' inability to pick him out on the right flank.
It would be another problem in the defence though which would see Grimsby take the lead on 28 minutes. A routine cross from the right-hand side from Luke Hendrie looped up into the centre where the dangerous Thomas was left completely unmarked to head past Lee Nicholls and put the home side ahead.
The final 10 minutes of the half though first dealt Dons a blow, when Jordan Moore-Taylor limped off to be replaced by Joe Walsh, and then a huge advantage when the home side were reduced to 10 men. Breaking clear of the defence, Kieran Agard was hauled to the ground on the edge of the box as he shaped to shoot by Harry Davis, with referee Marsden deeming him the last man and sent him off.
With their man advantage, it was obvious Dons would be the main playmakers in the second period. Kieran Agard tried a couple of acrobatic efforts before being replaced, while Sow's afternoon was called short when he made way for Chuks Aneke as Tisdale desperately sought out an equaliser.
And Aneke came agonisingly close for the visitors with 16 minutes to go, somehow heading wide from about five yards.
There were calls for a penalty from the away dugout when Ryan Watson was sent sprawling in the box, but the referee was unmoved.
It could have been much worse late in the day for Dons as twice Nicholls made two terrific saves to deny Thomas a second.
Referee: Paul Marsden
Attendance: 3.862 (141)
Grimsby Town: Russell, Ohman, Hessenthaler, Cook (Hall-Johnson 67), Grayson (Whitmore 56), Woolford, Fox, Embleton (Welsh 82), Davis, Hendrie, Thomas
Subs not used: M Rose, Vernam, A Rose, Battersby
MK Dons: Nicholls, Moore-Taylor (Walsh 38), Cargill, Martin, Lewington, Watson, Houghton, Gilbey, Wheeler, Agard (Harley 69), Sow (Aneke 64)
Subs not used: Baudry, McGrandles, D'Ath, Moore
Booked: Ohman, Gilbey, Cargill, Whitmore
Sent off: Davis