MK Dons' troubles in League One worsened after a dank 2-0 defeat at Rochdale on Tuesday night.
Still searching for their first win since September 14, Dons found themselves trailing after just two minutes at the Crown Oil Arena when Callum Camps lashed Rochdale into an early lead. Things could have been much worse before half time but a bit of luck on Dons' side as the home side could well have been high and dry by the break, but just as the visitors looked to get a foothold in the game in the second period, Ian Henderson's header on the hour put it to bed.
Somewhat incredibly, Dons climbed a position as a result of Tranmere's heavy 5-0 defeat at the hands of Sunderland, but sit 18th in League One.
After ending their run of five consecutive league defeats on Saturday in their 0-0 draw with Coventry, Dons headed to Rochdale in the first of two long away trips in quick succession, and made three changes for the game at the Crown Oil Arena. Out went Hiram Boateng, Joe Walsh and Jordan Houghton, replaced by Baily Cargill, Jordan Bowery and Brennan Dickenson, with the latter two leading the line in the early stages.
But those early stages could have seen Rochdale 3-0 up inside 15 minutes, with the visitors somewhat lucky onto to trail by the single strike. And what a strike it was as Callum Camps thrashed home a deep corner to the far post after just two minutes. Matt Done probably should have doubled the lead 10 minutes later when Baily Cargill misjudged a Rochdale ball forwards, but the striker fired over the top. He then had another terrific chance to head home Rhys Norrington-Davies, but saw it blocked by Jordan Moore-Taylor.
Having limped through the opening half hour, Dons changed formation to a flat back four and it appeared to give them a bit more of a foothold in the game. Dickenson was growing in stature in the game as he sought to pull the Rochdale defence apart to create some space, but it was the home side who would again come close to adding to their tally when MJ Williams thumped the post with a fierce effort nine minutes before the break.
Bowery's somewhat anonymous evening was brought to an end after 45 minutes, replaced at the break by Ben Reeves, and it took just eight more minutes before Kieran Agard was brought on for a similarly quiet David Kasumu.
And for a period it looked like Dons were getting on top of the hosts, but when captain Ian Henderson nodded past Nicholls on the hour mark to make it 2-0, their chances of a comeback were dealt a blow they would not recover from.
Struggling for ideas, Dons limped to the full-time whistle without testing Lynch – Brittain firing into the side netting was as close as they would come to troubling the scorers.
Referee: Robert Lewis
Attendance: 2,286 (128)
Rochdale: Lynch, Norrington-Davies, O'Connell, MJ Williams (Wilbraham 76), Camps, Keohane, Rathbone, McShane, Done (Tavares 65), Morley, Henderson (Andrew 82)
Subs not used: Ryan, Wade, Bradley, Matheson
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Cargill, Moore-Taylor, Lewington, Brittain, McGrandles, Kasumu (Agard 54), Gilbey, Bowery (Reeves 46), Dickenson (Boateng 61)
Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Martin, Moore, Houghton
Booked: Gilbey, Boateng, Lynch