Four minutes of Sunderland magic saw Dons fall to their fourth defeat in a row, going down 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Having matched the Black Cats for the opening 24 minutes, Max Power's remarkable 20-yard strike sparked the home side into life, and though Luke O'Nien could have had a hat-trick before he did eventually find the net four minutes later, he doubled the lead with a deft lob over Lee Nicholls.
A rejuvenated Dons came out fighting in the second period and got back in it when Jordan Bowery bundled George Williams' header over the line 10 minutes after the restart, but they could not find another to snatch a point.
The result sees Dons remain 15th in the table.
After the midweek performance against Liverpool, much of the team remained for Dons' trip to Sunderland. Lee Nicholls, Russell Martin, Dean Lewington and Jordan Houghton returned, with Stuart Moore, Brennan Dickenson and David Kasumu dropping to the bench. Joe Walsh missed out through injury, and it saw Jordan Moore-Taylor included in an MK Dons squad for the first time since January 26 as he was named amongst the substitutes.
Sunderland named two former Dons on their bench in the form of Tom Flanagan and Will Grigg.
After a steady start, Dons were beginning to find their feet with Bowery and Nombe leading the line, both making good inroads in the Sunderland defence.
It took a moment of magic to break the deadlock, and it sparked the home side into life as they scored twice in four minutes. Max Power scored a wonderful effort in midweek to knock Sheffield United out of the Carabao Cup, and his first-time strike from 20-yards curling past Lee Nicholls' dive was more than a match for it.
With their tails up, Luke O'Nien could have had a hat-trick by the time he eventually found the net four minutes later, first hitting the post and then forcing a fine stop from Nicholls before his deft lob was adjudged to have crossed the line, despite Regan Poole's protests he'd cleared it off the line.
Though Dons were simply overrun by a rampant Sunderland side, they didn't help themselves with a string of poor passes, not least by George Williams who gifted the ball to Lynden Gooch to put the game to bed six minutes before half time, though the American fired wide.
Dons were dealt a blow when Jordan Houghton limped off, but his replacement David Kasumu was made the villain of the Stadium of Light when he locked horns with Power on the half way line, both earning themselves a spot in the book.
The second half could have seen Dons dead and buried when Power again tested Nicholls, but it was the visitors who gave themselves an unlikely lifeline 10 minutes after the restart when Jordan Bowery bundled the ball over the line to make it 2-1.
Though Sunderland over-ran Dons in that 10 minute period in the first half, it was a much more balanced affair in the second period. Bringing on Kieran Agard, Dons continued to push the issue, but strikes from Gilbey and Kasumu were both wasteful in front of goal, not really testing keeper Jon McLaughlin with their efforts.
Spirited though their fightback was though, Dons could not find an equaliser, slumping to their third league defeat in a row.
Referee: Paul Marsden
Attendance: 29,954 (455)
Sunderland: Jon McLaughlin, Conor McLaughlin, Lynch, Willis, Power, Maguire, McGeouch, Wyke (Grigg 81), Gooch (Dobson 90), O'Nien, De Bock (Hume 64)
Subs not used: Burge, Ozturk, Flanagan, Leadbiter
MK Dons: Nicholls, Poole, Martin, Williams, Lewington, Brittain, Houghton (Kasumu 35), McGrandles, Gilbey (Boateng 78), Bowery (Agard 61), Nombe
Subs not used: Moore, Dickenson, Moore-Taylor, Boateng, Harley
Booked: O'Nien, Kasumu, Power, Maguire, Martin, Lewington