MK Dons were beaten in the first leg of the play-offs at Adams Park, beaten 2-0 by Wycombe Wanderers
The Chairboys, who are looking for an immediate return to the Championship following their relegation last season, landed the first blow of the tie six minutes before half-time when Ryan Tafazolli headed in to give Wycombe the lead.
In a real slug-fest of a second half, Josh McEachran then was booked twice in quick succession and was sent off with 21 minutes to go.
Desperately hanging on as the hosts sensed blood in the water, Sam Vokes converted Gareth McCleary’s cross with seven minutes remaining to send Wycombe to Stadium MK with a two-goal advantage.
With both sides heading into the semi-finals with momentum behind them, the managers named unchanged teams for the first leg at Adams Park. For Dons, David Kasumu's brilliant showing at Plymouth on Saturday ensured he kept his position in the team playing in behind Troy Parrott and four-goal hero Scott Twine.
But while the front two were given plenty of time and space on the ball at Home Park in the rout of Plymouth, neither were given breathing room at Adams Park. Wycombe pressed a high line and smothered Dons almost at source, and it made for a scrappy game as neither side really kept possession well.
Half chances came and went for both sides, with 16-goal striker Sam Vokes swiping at thin air when the bounce beat Warren O'Hora, and Troy Parrott sent and effort just wide at the other end.
Kasumu, who enjoyed a similarly open environment at Home Park struggled to have the same impact at Wycombe, but when he did manage to shake off the attenations of Josh Scowen, his cross to Twine was dealt with by his bodyguards.
In the run up to half-time, second balls began to fall the way of the home side and that pressure told six minutes before the interval when Joe Jacobson, who has been a set-piece specialist throughout his career, picked out the head of Ryan Tafazolli to send the hosts in front.
It could have been a lot worse for Liam Manning's side two mintues later when Vokes had the ball in the net again for Wycombe, only for it to be chalked off for offside after Daryl Horgan's shot was parried into his path.
The second half was a proper slug fest for the opening 20 minutes as Dons tried to go toe-to-toe with Wycombe but the game hinge entirely on a red card for Josh McEachran with 21 minutes to go.
Having not long been booked for his role in a scuffle with Daryl Horgan in the centre of the park, he then made a rash tackle on Josh Scowen to secure his marching orders.
From there, Wycombe hammered home their numerical advantage. Jason McCarthy struck a wonderful effort but saw it come back off the bar with 13 minutes to go, but the killer blow, certainly on the night, would come seven minutes from time.
A long ball aimed towards Vokes was turned out wide to McCleary in space on the right flank, and his cross was returned to the striker, who headed into the top corner to double Wycombe's advantage heading to Stadium MK on Sunday.
Referee: Darren Bond
Attendance: 8,987 (1,845)
Wycombe Wanderers: Stockdale, Jacobson, Gape (Wheeler 80), Stewart, Tafaolli, Vokes (Akinfenwa 83), McCleary, Horgan (Wing 78), Obita, McCarthy, Scowen
Subs not used: Dickinson, Grimmer, Kaikai, Akinfenwa, Forino
MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington, O'Hora, Darling, Kesler-Hayden, Harvie, Coventry, McEachran, Kasumu, Parrott (Wickham 90), Twine (Boateng 83)
Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Smith, Corbeanu, Baldwin, Kemp
Booked: Gape, McEachran, Horgan
Sent off: McEachran