REPORT: MK Dons 0-1 Plymouth: More woes for Neilson as Dons are beaten again
MK Dons were met with a chorus of boos as MK Dons slumped to 20th in League 1 as they failed to win for the 13th league game in a row, going down in a terrible 1-0 defeat to Plymouth.
There was little in the way of Christmas spirit in an awful game at Stadium MK between two sides battling it out at the wrong end of the table, but Gary Sawyer's 16th minute strike for the visitors turned out to be enough.
The result means Argyle leap-frog Dons, who are now just one place above the relegation zone.
After losing 2-1 to Rotherham on Saturday, Robbie Neilson reshuffled the pack to play Peter Pawlett at right back - a position he isn't accustomed to. With Scott Golbourne still out with a hip problem, Scott Wootton was dropped to the bench, as was Ed Upson in favour of returning skipper Alex Gilbey and Gboly Ariyibi.
It was almost a typical start to the game for Dons. Looking the better side for the opening 15 minutes, they failed to capitalise on their early pressure, with strikes from Chuks Aneke and Alex Gilbey sailing into the stands, before Argyle took the lead in relatively straight forward fashion. Gary Sawyer was left totally unmarked where Pawlett was caught upfield just inside the Dons area, and the Plymouth skipper fired low across Lee Nicholls into the corner of the net.
Far from spurring Dons into action though, it was an unimaginitive, lifeless side which continued through the half. Too often, the ball was given away needlessly, the defending looked nervous and Plymouth were given an easy ride. Plymouth though were far from vintage either, and but for a half sight of goal from Ruben Lameiras, it made for a terrible spectacle.
The second half didn't make for much better viewing either, but the home side were the ones doing much of the leg work as they chased the game. The introductions of Ed Upson and Ouss Cisse did little though to alter things.
The visitors again had the best chance to double their lead too, coming when an uncharacteristically poor ball from Nicholls went straight to Lameiras, who in turn played it to Ryan Taylor, but the striker shanked his shot terribly wide.
But with the home side unable to get a sight of goal, they were never going to turn it around, and though the boos were short, they will have been ringing in Neilson's ears.
Referee: John Busby
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Walsh, Ebanks-Landell, Ariyibi, Pawlett, Gilbey, McGrandles (Cisse 71), Aneke, Agard, Sow (Upson 71)
Subs not used: Sietsma, Wootton, Seager, Muirhead, Nombe
Plymouth Argyle: Roos, Sawyer, Songo'o, Edwards, Carey (Jervis 80), Lameiras (Grant 87), Bradley, Threlkeld, Taylor, Fox, Diagouraga
Subs not used: Cooper, Miller, Sarcevic, Ainsworth, Wylde