A WEEK is a long time in football - especially when it comes to the busy festive period - and the League One table now makes for better reading for MK Dons fans, despite their side slipping to a disappointing defeat at bottom side Yeovil Town on Monday.
Two home wins on the spin going into their trip to Somerset saw Dons catapulted back to within a point of the top six, but they missed their chance to climb into the play-off places after going down 1-0 at Huish Park.
Bournemouth and Bristol Rovers had been brushed aside as Karl Robinson’s men put concerns about a lack of firepower going into the second half of the season behind them to get their promotion push firmly back on track at stadium:mk.
The winter whiteout - that saw games with Oldham and Leyton Orient postponed - had appeared to have worked in Dons’ favour as they returned from a 17-day break looking a different side.
It’s looking like Jermaine Easter and Aaron Wilbraham have played in Dons shirts for the last time, meaning a busy January transfer window could be on the cards for Robinson if he wants to bolster his squad. And a striker is definitely going to be the priority as Dons left Yeovil with a blank scoresheet.
Goals from midfielder Lewis Guy and defender Mathias Doumbe put play-off rivals Bournemouth to the sword last Tuesday and Bristol Rovers also left stadium:mk with a 2-0 defeat on Saturday.
A Daniel Powell stunner from outside the penalty area gave the hosts an early lead after Jabo Ibehre had hit the post and Guy’s follow-up flew over the bar.
And the Pirates barely had time to recover when Peter Leven’s free-kick from 25-yards deceived Rovers keeper Mikkel Andersen.
But it was a different story on Monday as basement boys Yeovil hung on to claim three points as Robinson’s men failed to turn up.
Sam Baldock’s return to the starting line-up did little to alleviate the problems Dons have faced on the road so far this season, and they went behind in the ninth minute.
After Andrew Williams caught Dean Lewington napping to win a corner, Andy Welsh’s cross from the right found skipper Paul Huntington whose header couldn’t be kept out by David Martin.
With the wind in their sails, the Glovers looked the more likely to go on ad grab a second. Dean Bowditch should have doubled the lead when Sean O’hanlon missed a header to clear, allowing the forward in behind, but Martin was a match for his shot.
Dons’ defence looked in disarray, and the visitors could have been dead and buried when Welsh’s cross found Sam Williams unmarked on the penalty spot, but he couldn’t find the target with his header.
Dons lacked creativity going forward, often playing ambitious passes in behind the Yeovil defence to no avail - a Leven header tipped over the bar by John Sullivan being the only highlight of the opening 45 minutes.
Dons came out in the second half looking like the better team. With Baldock pushed up alongside Jabo Ibehre, he finally had someone to lay the ball off to, but chances were still at a premium.
The home side should have killed the game off on the hour when Andrew Williams evaded the offside trap to lob Martin from 20 yards, but his shot came back off the post.
The game flared up with 10 minutes to play when substitute Jean-Paul Kalala and Michael Mcindoe clashed in the centre circle, with the Yeovil man given his marching orders.
But in truth, Dons paid the price for not creating enough chances on the road once again and the hosts saw out the closing stages.
After the game Robinson refused to offer any excuses for his side’s disappointing show, admitting: “We simply didn’t turn up and we were not good enough.
“I don’t think you can blame playing away we just didn’t turn up. We made the change (Powell out) because of tiredness, but it was night and day in terms for performance. You have got to swallow it and accept it.
“I’m not hiding behind the record, but you come to places like this, you’ve got to defend well, and we looked on the back foot.
“Their goal for me was a catalogue of errors. But we have to be stronger, pin them in and create chances. Plain and simple, we weren’t good enough.”