REPORT: MK Dons 1-4 Bradford City: Ten man MK Dons crushed by rampant Bradford
A catastrophic opening 18 minutes ensured MK Dons would get nothing from their game against Bradford City on Saturday as they went down 4-1 at Stadium MK.
Aaron Tshibola lasted less than five minutes before he was given his marching orders, losing the ball to and then fouling Nicky Law on the edge of the box to reduce Dons to 10 men. Capitalising, Bradford netted twice through Romain Vincelot and then a deflected Charlie Wyke strike to put the visitors into a comfortable 2-0 lead.
While Ethan Ebanks-Landell scored his second goal in as many games on the stroke of half time, it did little to stem the tide of the game, as Wyke netted his second of the afternoon and substitute Paul Taylor made sure seven minutes from time, bringing Dons' five match undefeated streak crashing down.
With Callum Brittain and Ouss Cisse on international duty and Scott Golbourne out injured, George Williams and Dean Lewington returned to the side, with Ed Upson sitting in front of the defence. Ryan Seager also missed out after playing 90 minutes in the Checkatrade Trophy, with Kieran Agard replacing him.
Dons' aspirations to mix it at the top of the table didn't so much hinge on the game against Bradford, but with the Banthams flying high it would be a good test of Dons' mettle. But after just 18 minutes, their task looked almost impossible.
Their capitulation began with less than five minutes on the clock. Having already needlessly fouled twice higher up the pitch, Aaron Tshibola dawdled on the ball and had his pocket picked by Nicky Law, who looked to bear down on goal. But a clip from the Dons midfielder send him sprawling on the edge of the box, offering referee Scott Oldham no choice but to send Tshibola off.
Looking shell-shocked and unable to clear the ball, Dons then fell a goal behind as Romain Vincelot powered home Tony McMahon's corner.
It got even worse for Dons on 18 minutes too, when Charlie Wyke's shot from the edge of the box took a huge deflection to beat Lee Nicholls' despairing dive, giving City a 2-0 lead against the 10 men.
From there, it was routine for the visitors. Barely threatening, other than a Kieran Agard header five minutes before half time, they were given a slim lifeline on the stroke of half time when Ethan Ebanks-Landell, who scored his first goal for the club last week, glanced home Ed Upson's corner to pull one back.
It was with a renewed sense of vigeur Dons began the second period, buoyed by the goal but also the introduction of Chuks Aneke at the interval. He was the target man for everything they had going forwards, but it would be a defensive catastrophy which would see them fall 3-1 down with 21 minutes to go. Switching off at a Bradford free kick, the whole defece stood and watched as Matthew Kilgallon pulled it back for Wyke to tap home the simplest of finishes.
But after falling two behind once more, Dons hit back with a flurry of chances of their own as they enjoyed their best period of the game. Sow, released down the left by Aneke, forced keeper Colin Doyle into an excellent save, before he was called into action again to deny Aneke's powerful header. He made it a hat-trick of stops when he got his fingertips to Ed Upson's placed effort which looked destined for the bottom corner.
Bradford rubbed salt in the wounds of the 10 men with seven minutes to go when substitute Paul Taylor beat the offside trap to latch the excellent Jake Reeves' onto a ball over the top to lash home their fourth.
Referee: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 9,106 (996)
MK Dons: Nicholls,Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Wootton, Lewington, Upson, Agard (Aneke 46), Tshibola, Gilbey, Ariyibi (Muirhead 86), Sow (Nesbitt 78)
Subs not used: Siestma, Walsh, Seager, McGrandles
Bradford City: Doyle, Chicksen, Reeves, Kilgallon, Vincelot, Law, Wyke (Jones 86), Poleon (Taylor 78), Gilliead, Knight-Pervical, McMahon (Hendrie 62)
Subs not used: Raeder, Dieng, Taylor, Field, Patrick
Booked: Gilbey, Knight-Percival, Aneke
Sent off: Tshibola