Dons slipped to their fourth away defeat in a row on Saturday, going down 2-1 to League 1 pace-setters Leyton Orient.
Weathering the early storm from the home side, Dons took the lead courtesy of Patrick Bamford’s 11th strike of the season after half an hour. But a Moses Odubajo goal four minutes before the break levelled things for the home side, before Kevin Lisbie poked in David Mooney’s defence splitting with 22 minutes remaining.
Having served his one match suspension after his Gillingham red card, Tom Flanagan returned to the starting line-up, with Dean Lewington returning to his more customary left back role. Jon Otsemobor recovered from injury to take over at right back from George Baldock, who dropped to the substitutes bench along with Alan Smith and Izale McLeod.
Dons were very much on the back foot in the opening 15 minutes. Barely able to string two passes together without being quickly smothered by the Orient midfield, Dons looked lost and had to weather an early storm from the home side. A series of half chances and corners meant Ian McLoughlin saw the ball regularly, but was relatively unchallenged.
After making their way out the otherside of the storm, Dons settled and began to see more of the ball, but still barely threatened Jamie Jones’ goal. Sensationally though, it was Dons who took the lead from who else but Patrick Bamford.
Chadwick, who looked at sea for the opening 25 minutes, burst forward from the halfway line, drawing in his man before sliding the ball wide to Bamford. The striker cut inside on to his left foot and drilled the ball low into the far corner, beating Jamie Jones to give Dons the lead from seemingly nowhere.
And it certainly settled the stomachs for the visitors, knowing they had a cushion to. Shaun Williams came within inches of doubling the lead too, bending a free-kick just the wrong side of the post, with Jones stranded.
But the home side showed why they’re sitting top of the table with a brilliant one-touch move to get level four minutes before the break. Capitalising on Darren Potter’s loose pass, Orient attacked down the right, David Mooney overlapped around Lewington. He played the ball inside to Kevin Lisbie, who touched the ball back out to Moses Odubajo, who curled the ball first time across the face of goal, leaving McLoughlin nothing to do but watch as it hit the net.
Mooney came close to firing Orient ahead on the stroke of half time as the home side looked keen to capitalise on their momentum shift, but his low strike brushed the wrong side of the net, with some fans at the far end of Brisbane Road thinking it had crept in.
The came edged from end to end in the early stages of the second half, but by and large it was a scrappy affair. Neither side seemed too keen to hold on to possession, more intent on quickly getting forward than a patient build-up.
Kevin Lisbie squandered the best chance in the opening 20 minutes of the half when he beat the offside trap down the right, but with an age to pick out Mooney or Odubajo in the middle, he played the ball behind both to the collective groan of the Brisbane Road crowd.
He made a mends in the 65th minute though to put Orient ahead. A defence-splitting pass from Mooney saw Lisbie turn Flanagan 10 yards out, and with the defender anxious to put a foot in, the striker needed no further invitation to poke past McLoughlin, putting Orient into a 2-1 lead.
Substitute Izale McLeod almost pulled level five minutes later when the Orient defence was caught napping as Otsemobor sent in a long diagonal ball. Chesting down, McLeod tried to fired away a volley, but he was quickly shut down by keeper Jones who blocked the effort point blank.
McLeod came closest again with 13 minutes to play, when the ball bounced kindly for him on the edge of the area, and he unleashed a fierce volley which had Jones beaten all ends up. But unfortunately for the visitors, it crashed against the bar and out of play.
With the Orient defence shutting down in the remaining 10 minutes, Dons found it increasingly difficult to make any headway. As panic ensued in the dying minutes, Dons’ passing became frantic and saw a few promising moves fall apart at the critical moment.
Ultimately, the defeat sees Dons slip to eighth in League 1.
Referee: Iain Williamson
Attendance: 6,359 (569)
Leyton Orient: Jones, Omozusi, Vincelot, Cuthbert, Baudry, Cox, James, Lisbie (Batt 73), Mooney, Odubajo, Clarke
Subs not used: Sawyer, Larkins, Lee, Lasimant, Bartley, Stockley
MK Dons: McLoughlin, Otsemobor (Smith 82), Lewington, Williams Flanagan, Potter, Gleeson, Chadwick (McLeod 69), Powell, Carruthers (Baldock 61), Bamford
Subs not used: Rasulo, Reeves, Banton, Burns