By Martin Atherton
MK Dons played out a complete carbon copy of their 2-0 defeat to Crewe Alexandra earlier in the season, both goals coming early and from questionable defending.
Mikael Mandron scored twice within five minutes as Dons slumped to their first defeat in five.
The notable absence from the starting XI was Scott Fraser, excluded after having been pulled on the half hour mark last weekend.
Equal to their outing at Gresty Road back in September, the first half was certainly one to forget for MK Dons.
It looked as if they had got themselves ahead early on – Jerome beating his man to slot home – but the Dons’ top scorer was deemed offside by the linesman.
And they were then punished for their mistake, an excellent through-ball from the Crewe midfield finding Kirk, who then played it off to Mandron to slot into an empty net. 1-0.
And it was that man Mandron who then condemned the Dons to further misery, comfortably shaking off a number of defenders to slot home his side’s far too easily second of the afternoon with just twenty-odd minutes gone.
For the rest of the first half, Dons barely threatened and couldn’t stamp their authority on the game. HT 0-2.
Minutes into the second half, Jerome nearly pulled one back after some great work from Laird – the striker, though, smashing an effort against the post after rounding the Crewe ‘keeper.
Kasumu was introduced for his first outing since the 19th of December in what was one of the few highlights of the afternoon for MK.
Darling was also handed the armband for the first time, having hugely impressed in his first few months at Stadium MK.
It looked as if the away side would have been reduced to ten men – Lancashire having brought down Grigg as the last man – but the referee only brandished a yellow.
Grigg then wasted the next best opportunity of the half, failing to bring down a long ball properly and get a shot away.
With almost the last kick of the game, Darling won a header from a corner and sent a bullet header on target – Jääskeläinen, though, was there to pull off an outstanding save. FT 0-2.
A frustrating afternoon for Dons, and one that sees their slim Play-Off hopes seemingly ended.
A great opportunity now for us to use these remaining games to experiment, make mistakes, learn from them, and build an incredible team ahead of next season.
Come on You Dons!