The lack of killer instinct cost MK Dons once again on Saturday as they were beaten 1-0 at home to Ipswich Town.
After a miserly opening 45 minutes, which saw Brett Pitman’s 10th minute header give the Tractor Boys the lead, Dons looked reinvigorated in the second half but failed to find the net.
Nicky Maynard headed just over, while Dean Gerken needed to be at his best to keep out Ben Reeves, Samir Carruthers and Rob Hall as the visitors held on to take the win.
Despite claiming he’d made wholesale changes to his side following the embarrassing 2-0 defeat at Brentford last weekend, Dons boss Karl Robinson made just one change to the side which started at Griffin Park. Diego Poyet dropped out of the starting line-up for the first time since joining on loan in August.
The visitors were the quicker out of the box in the day’s early kick off, and were in the lead after just 10 minutes. Captain Luke Chambers easily skipped past Dean Lewington on the right flank to pick out Brett Pitman beyond Carruthers in the six yard box to head home easily past David Martin.
While there was certainly more fight than at Brentford, Dons continued to struggle to make a serious impact on proceedings at stadium:mk. Ipswich had two good chances to double their advantage within 10 minutes of the opener, through Freddie Sears and Jonathan Douglas saw their efforts go just off target. But looking stuck for ideas, Dons’ attempts to launch the ball to Nicky Maynard were proving fruitless as the Ipswich defence looked comfortable in containing.
Looking like they could strike at any point, Ipswich looked to use their pace advantage over the Dons defence to get in behind. And Daryl Murphy came very close to doubling the lead on the half hour with exactly that tactic, drawing out Martin once more, only to see his lob hit the side netting as he shrugged off the attentions of Kyle McFadzean.
Despite seeing a lot of the ball in the remainder of the half, Dons barely threatened Dean Gerken’s goal as they cruised into the break with the lead.
But it was a renewed MK Dons which appeared for the second half, instilled with a positive attitude and looking potentially dangerous. Keen to get forward, Maynard headed just over the top after come good work from Carruthers, while Bowditch probably should have done better when he was slid in by Josh Murphy, seeing his shot deflected just wide.
But it still left Dons open at the back, and Daryl Murphy wasted a glorious opportunity to put the result beyond doubt as he raced clear, only to blast over from 18 yards when he could have taken so much more time.
He missed another sitter from close range, but Dons continued to pile forwards. Substitute Ben Reeves forced Gerken into a brilliant save to tip it around the post, before making another top stop from Carruthers 30 seconds later.
Another substitute, Rob Hall, also made Gerken make a save as Dons piled forwards late in the day but it wasn’t to be as Ipswich held on to take all three points.
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 13,520 (3,024)
MK Dons: Martin, Spence (Hall 86), McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Carruthers, Potter, Baker (Powell 62), Bowditch (Reeves 62), Josh Murphy, Maynard
Subs not used: Cropper, Hodson, Poyet, Gallagher
Ipswich Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Douglas, Maitland-Niles (Parr 78), Sears (McGoldrick 86), Pitman, Daryl Murphy
Subs not used: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Coke, Tabb, Fraser
Booked: Douglas, Chambers, Sears