A Patrick Madden double saw 10-man MK Dons fall to a 2-1 defeat at Yeovil Town on a wet and windy Tuesday night.
Madden fired the home side into the lead midway through the first half, but the Dons ensured the score was even at half-time when Antony Kay headed home.
However, both Madden and Kay were in the thick of the action on the hour-mark when an off-the-ball incident resulted in a straight red card for the Dons defender. Meanwhile, Madden went on to head in what proved to be the winner 15 minutes after Kay had been given his marching orders.
The game at Huish Park was one of the Dons’ four games in hand on a number of their promotion rivals, and the result sees them slip to tenth place.
McLeod returned to the starting line-up as one of two changes to the Dons side which beat QPR in the FA Cup just days earlier. Ryan Harley, who came on for the injured Gary MacKenzie at Loftus Road, also came into the side.
The match passed a pitch inspection by referee Mick Russell at 7pm, the sodden-surface was patched together with piles of sand as Yeovil, who had not played a home game since New Year’s Day, and the Dons both were desperate to play the match.
The soaked pitch was far from ideal conditions for either side as the ball held up in areas and bobbled in others.
The first chance of the game came in the fourth minute when Matthew Dolan sent a low drive into the palms of David Martin.
It was the Glovers who started brightly, causing the Dons’ defence an array of problems from the opening phases. The Dons were called into some panic defending when Shaun Williams was forced to clear a Sam Foley cross high above Martin before the ‘keeper could control on his chest and pass the ball away.
After 10 minutes the Dons eventually managed to get a grip on the play with a quick break from Adam Chicksen
providing a threat before the cross went wayward. However, the Dons gave away possession in midfield and Darren Potter was left to track the run of Edward Upson whose eventual shot was blocked close-range by Dean Lewington.
The Dons were living dangerously as the Glovers continued to created the chances in front of goal, yet failed to pack the punch needed to take the lead. More last-ditch defending was required as Dolan was afforded the time to turn and shoot, but Williams managed to block with his leg.
Moments later a sloppy mis-placed pass found its way to Patrick Madden, yet the Dons were given a reprieve s Madden fired wide of the post.
In the blink of an eye the Dons could have found themselves a goal to the good as McLeod raced through on goal only for the striker to send his volley high and wide.
And it was a miss that would cost the Dons as a mistake in midfield allowed Foley to run into acres of space down the right-hand side and fizz a cross into the box. The run of Madden allowed him to get in front of his marker Jon Otsemobor and fire from the edge of the box beyond the outstretched fingertips of Martin.
The 30 minute-mark saw Ryan Lowe replaced, shortly after he had been treated for a head injury, and replaced by Chris Lines. Lines stepped into the central midfield role alongside Darren Potter while Harley moved into the hole to support McLeod.
Despite being second-best for the majority of the game, the Dons found themselves back on level terms in the 36th minute when a Ryan Harley corner was whipped into the six-yard box and the excellent movement by Kay saw the defender rise above everyone else in the box and plant the ball into the back of Marek Stech’s net.
Play got heated shortly before the break when a heavy tackle on McLeod by Byron Webster sparked an off-the-ball incident in which the Glovers defender appeared to deliver a blow into the body the Dons front man.
The incident incensed the Dons boss Robinson but both players were branded cautions by the referee.
As half-time arrived the Dons had one last attack on goal with Chicksen seeing his drive parried by Stech which fell into the path of the on-running McLeod, who could only register an air shot.
The weather conditions continued to worsen in the second half and it was the Dons who were defending into the face of the driving wind and rain.
Both sides had to play into the hands of the conditions making the play scrappy and unpredictable.
The Dons were through on goal when an excellent flick-on from Chicksen was threaded through to McLeod, but the striker was flagged off-side as he turned his shot wide.
It was a battling encounter, but it was made even harder for the Dons when Kay was given his marching orders in the 63rd minute for an incident off-the-ball involving Madden.
The defender and Madden had tangled second earlier and as Kay went to get back into his own half the two came together. When the referee halted play a long stoppage ensued as he consulted his linesman, and Kay was duly shown a straight red.
As a result, the Dons had to take one of their more creative players, Harley, off to bolster their defence with Mathias Kouo-Doumbe.
Williams at the back had been a rock for the Dons and continued to throw his body in front of everything the Glovers offered in front of goal.
However, it appeared even the in-form Williams can be broken as the midfielder-turner-centre-back was out-jumped by Madden for a Jamie McAllister cross, and the Glovers’ striker glanced his header past Martin to fire the Glovers in front for the second time in the game.
It was at that point the Dons had to through caution to the wind and sacrifice Otsemobor for the physical presence up front of Alan Smith.
Dons though should have found the much-needed equaliser in the 90th minute when Kouo-Doumbe broke down the right to drill a low cross in for McLeod. The striker just needed to get a touch on the ball, but failed to do so and the Glovers’ defence cleared up.
Yeovil Town: Stech, Ayling, McAllister (c), Webster, Upson, Hayter (Edwards 60), Foley, Madden, Burn, Dolan (Appiah 60), Dawson.
Subs: Hinds, Blizzard, Williams, Stewart, Young.
Booked: Webster, Madden
Goals: Madden 26, 78
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Otsemobor (Smith 81), Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Harley (Kouo-Doumbe 66); Bowditch, Lowe (Lines 31), Chicksen; McLeod.
Subs: Flanagan, Baldock, Alli, Ismail.
Sent-off: Kay 63
Goal: Kay 36
Referee: Mick Russell