MK Dons' miserable run against Carlisle United continued as they were soundly beaten at Brunton Park.
Boss Karl Robinson was sent to the stands near the end of a bad-tempered first half and his side failed to recover their composure in time to prevent a fourth straight defeat to the Cumbrian outfit. Shortly after United defender Ian Harte escaped punishment for a violent-looking clash with Jermaine Easter, Francois Zoko gave Carlisle the lead and Robinson received his marching orders for his bad-tempered reaction.
James Berrett quickly made it two before the break and further goals from Gary Madine and Tom Taiwo put the Dons to bed before Peter Leven's long-range consolation. Beaten 5-0 on the same ground last season, when Robinson was assistant to Paul Ince, this was a bitter pill to swallow for the new Dons boss, who had urged his side to erase the memory of their previous visit with a stirring performance.
But they were unable to resist Greg Abbott's aggressive outfit, whose four goals came in a 19-minute spell either side of the break when the Dons were clearly vulnerable. Robinson's side began with the best intentions of passing the ball, but were hurried and hassled by a Carlisle side that was never likely to allow them the time.
Zoko carved out the hosts' first opening, stealing half a yard on Stephen Gleeson to cross from the left, but Madine's header was blocked by Lewington and his follow-up skewed off target. The frantic, bustling midfield battle was never likely to yield too many chances, but the Dons so nearly took the lead on 17 minutes. Easter ran at sufficient pace to leave the home defence scrambling and, when Dean Lewington collected the clearance 20 yards out his lofted volley bounced down off the underside of the bar.
It was shades of England v Germany at this summer's World Cup as Dons players appealed in vain that the ball had crossed the line and even Easter's follow-up was blocked by Cumbrians goalkeeper Adam Collin. The battle raged without either side making too much headway in attack, but the game burst into life six minutes before half-time with what would emerge as a major talking point. Easter and Harte contested a long ball into Carlisle territory and, as the ball broke to the right, the pair were involved in an off-the-ball coming together. Harte looked to have caught Easter on the run with an elbow, but referee Mark Haywood took no action. Indeed, the free-kick was given against the Welshman.
Dons were incensed and Carlisle seized on their break in concentration. Taiwo drifted over a corner from the left, Madine climbed to head it down and Zoko spun to fire into the roof of David Martin's net. Sam Baldock takes on James Chester. &nbsp; It was a sucker punch to the visitors and Robinson's reaction to events of the previous few minutes saw him sent to the stands by Mr Haywood.
Worse was to come before half-time. Sensing a chance to hammer home the advantage, Carlisle went for the throat. Madine climbed highest to head a long ball forward into the heart of the Dons box and Berrett was bursting onto the scene to steer past Martin. The break would seemingly offer the visitors a chance to regroup, but the second period brought no respite as Carlisle relentlessly poured forward. Ivorian Zoko continued to be their tormentor-in-chief, finding acres of room down the left to rattle a shot against the near post.
The Dons didn't deal with the aftermath and Zoko's deflected cross was volleyed in calmly by Madine. Stephen Gleeson holds off James Berrett. &nbsp; Zoko was clearly on his A-game and after slipping past Gleeson once more just after the hour-mark, the hosts had a fourth. Lewington managed to scramble the initial ball away, but Madine collected beyond the far post before teeing up Taiwo for an easy finish. Robinson was desperately trying to change things from the directors' box, sending on Mathias Kouo-Doumbé,
Lewis Guy and Jabo Ibehre in quick succession, and the changes went some way to shoring things up. The Dons even pulled a goal back on 64 minutes when Sam Baldock's cross from the right was only partially cleared and Leven rifled into the corner from considerable range. Though a comeback was never likely to materialise, it did give the visiting fans something to shout about and their side visibly improved, albeit with Carlisle in cruise-control.
Guy flashed a dipping half-volley just wide on 72 minutes and Baldock drew an excellent stop from Collin late-on, but the damage had already been done. Attentions now turn to the visit of Blackpool in the Carling Cup on Tuesday, with crumbs of comfort offered in the fact that the Seasiders shipped six at Arsenal.
Carlisle United (4-3-1-2): Collin; Simek, Chester, Harte, McDaid; Taiwo, Thirlwell (c), Berrett (Robson 76); Zoko (Bridge-Wilkinson 87); Curran, Madine.
Subs not used: Murphy, Hurst, Kane, Bowman, Caig.
Goals: Zoko 42, Berrett 45, Madine 55, Taiwo 61
MK Dons (4-4-2): Martin; Gleeson (Kouo-Doumbé 62), Woodards, O'Hanlon, Lewington (c); Chadwick, Hamann (Ibehre 56), Leven, Balanta (Guy 56); Easter, Baldock.
Subs not used: Searle, Carrington, Howell, Chicksen.
Goals: Leven 64
Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)