REPORT: Coventry City 1-2 MK Dons: Dons out of the drop zone
An Ed Upson brace saw Dons pick up their first league win in nearly two months as they beat 10-man Coventry City 2-1 at the Ricoh Arena.
In a scrappy affair, Upson headed Dons into the lead 34 minutes in, before Ben Stevenson scored a sublime equaliser five minutes later to peg Dons back.
A draw looked on the cards until Stevenson was showed a red card for a late, reckless tackle on Dean Lewington with 15 minutes to go.
And Dons made their advantage count as Upson swept home five minutes later to lift Dons out of the bottom four and up to 19th in the table.
After one of the most disappointing nights in the club's history on Tuesday, Richie Barker made two changes to the line-up which lost 3-2 to Chesterfield. Darren Potter returned to the side at the expense of Ben Reeves, while Paul Downing returned to the heart of the defence.
Coventry had lost just one game at the Ricoh Arena prior to kick off, and the opening half hour saw them put the squeeze on the visitors. Dons struggled to put a run of passes together and were rarely out of their own half as Kyel Reid, Ben Stevenson and Gael Bigirimana were key in breaking down any threats.
Despite being on top though, Coventry didn't really cause David Martin any troubles:, Bigirimana fired a free kick into the wall, Stevenson struck one wide and Jodi Jones hit a tame one into the stands as Dons barely threatened.
Typically though, it would be Dons who took the lead 11 minutes before half time. In a rare attack, Dean Lewington whipped in an excellent cross from the left, and though it was a little behind Ed Upson, he managed to steer it across Lee Burge's dive and into the far corner of the net.
But after throwing away the lead against Chesterfield in the week, Dons' lead would again be short lived as Coventry equalised courtesy of a wonderstrike from Ben Stevenson.
Lewington played a short but dangerous ball back to his keeper, and with Jones closing in, Martin swiped at it and it only reached Stevenson around 35 yards out. Wasting no time and spotting Martin out of his goal, Stevenson's strike was superb, catching it clean as it sailed into the top corner, past Martin's despairing dive.
Dons should have retaken the lead barely four minutes into the second period though. Flicked through by Dean Bowditch, Daniel Powell, who scored earlier in the week, raced through on goal. Shrugging off the attentions of Jordan Turnbull, Powell had just Burge to beat, but in lifting his effort over the keeper, saw it clip the top of the bar on its way over.
The second period though would play out in a similar way to the first. Both sides showed why they are struggling at the wrong end of the table with miscontrols, silly foul and scruffy play all over the field. Killer balls were overhit, or simply never came with neither side looking especially keen to keep the ball.
The game though was turned on its head 15 minutes from the end when the excellent Stevenson was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Lewington on half way.
And against 10 men, it took Dons just five minutes to make their numerical advantage count as substitute Ryan Colclough bundled into the box, and after several swiped at it, Upson got a clean connection for his second of the afternoon as Dons retook the lead.
While the home side had more of the ball in the closing stages, it was fairly routine for dons to see the remainder of the game out as tempers flared among the home players.
The result, Dons first League 1 win since October 1, means they climb out of the relegation zone, climbing to 19th, while Coventry replace Dons in the bottom four.
Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 9,640 (722)
Coventry City: Burge, Willis, Turnbull, Bigirimana, Rose (Maycock 56), Jones (Lameiras 79), Reid, Page, Tudgay (McBean 75), Kelly-Evans, Stevenson
Subs not used: Charles-Cook, Agyei, Gadzhev, Harries
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Walsh, Downing, Baldock, Potter, Upson, Powell (Colclough 69), Carruthers (Reeves 75), Agard (Aneke 86), Bowditch
Subs not used: Nicholls, GB Williams, Hendry, GC Williams, Reevesa
Booked: Kelly-Evans, Jones, Aneke, Maycock
Sent off: Stevenson