MK Dons will have to win both of their remaining fixtures if they are to get automatic promotion, says Paul Tisdale.
Dons squandered the chance to move into second on Monday after they drew 1-1 with Port Vale. Having missed a first half Kieran Agard penalty, Tom Conlon fired the visitors ahead just three minutes into the second period. The lead would last just four minutes, with David Wheeler tapping home his second of the weekend.
Chuks Aneke thumped the outside of the post late in the day to win it as the spoils were shared, but a win for Bury and defeat for Mansfield mean Dons are fourth on goal difference, with just a point separating the second and fourth.
Tisdale's side travel to play-off chasing Colchester next Saturday and take on Mansfield at home on the final day, and the manager predicts Dons will have to win both to go up automatically.
"Two games to go – we have to win them both," he said. "We weren't expecting anyone to hand it to us – nothing is easy. We've got a real challenge ahead of us. We have two games to go, and we have to win both. It will be really tight, exciting, anxious. We have to relish it. It will continue to twist and turn.
"On Friday we were really pleased, today not so. We just have to go again."
After slipping out of the top three again, Tisdale cited the missed chances for Agard and Aneke for missing out on the win.
He said: "Whatever we say about the performance, we still had two great chances – the penalty and the one-on-one with Chuks at the end. We missed our chances and I'm disappointed with the goal we conceded just after half time, we made a lacklustre start to the second half. We cannot afford for that to happen again.
"It is what it is, we've drawn the game. I was hoping for a real push at the end but it petered away. We've not just got to look to the next game.
"Every side will do their best to defend and make it difficult for us. They did what they did."