Ex-Dons forward Lewis Guy came back to haunt his old Club on Tuesday night, as his first-half strike was enough to condemn MK Dons to a frustrating 1-0 defeat - their first at stadiummk this season.
Guy's volley 10 minutes before half-time proved to be the difference on a soaking wet evening in Milton Keynes, although Karl Robinson's men will rue several missed chances which could have seen them salvage something from the contest.
Robinson was forced into making three changes to the side which beat Rotherham United last weekend. David Martin, Stephen Gleeson were both ruled out through injury on Monday while Shaun Williams served a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the season against the Millers.
The Dons, who were looking to record back-to-back League victories for the first time this season, got off to a fast start and some good work down the left from Ben Reeves almost handed them the game’s first goal.
The former Southampton midfielder fooled Leon McSweeney with a dummy inside the box, but his low cross was a just too long for the on-rushing Daniel Powell, who couldn’t divert his slight touch goalwards.
Powell and Potter then both shot wide of Mark Gillespie’s left-hand upright as Karl Robinson’s side looked to assert their authority on the visiting Cumbrians inside the opening quarter of an hour, with their slick passing football.
However, Carlisle’s deep backline made things difficult for the hosts to get in behind and create many clear cut chances and when they were finally forced into a mistake on 23 minutes, the Dons weren’t able to capitalise.
After Gillespie’s hurried clearance looped straight to an unmarked Carruthers around 30-yards from goal, the Aston Villa loanee decided to take it first time but missed the target with his volleyed attempt.
Banton, praised on the weekend by his manager for his tireless work on the right-flank, was the next to try his luck from distance with a right-footed curling shot which, in the end, was easily gathered by Gillespie.
Then, on 34 minutes, the Dons were made to pay for their early missed chances when Lewis Guy volleyed the visitors into a surprise lead from David Amoo’s cross. Amoo, after being given space to drill a cross to the far post, found Guy and the ex-Dons forward was able to wrap his right boot around the ball and fire past McLoughlin from 10 yards.
It was the first time in three games the Dons had fallen behind in a match but Robinson’s men reacted well – Carruthers going close to an equaliser with a chipped effort before Banton had a shot palmed away from the edge of the area on the brink of half-time.
Carruthers was then the first to pull the trigger after the interval but the winger had his low shot well-blocked while at the other end, Cumbrians’ goalscorer Guy headed wide from Matt Robson’s cross.
Robson later had a chance of his own from the left-hand flank which hit the side netting before Townsend, out of position, wasted a glorious chance to put his side two-goals up his head.
Robinson, after seeing his side fail to threaten the visitors enough in the opening ten minutes of the second half, made a bold triple substitution bringing on George Baldock, Luke Chadwick and Izale McLeod in place of Lee Hodson, Carruthers and Banton.
McLeod, who has only scored twice this season for the Dons, almost had an instant impact as he rose to meet Reeves’ in-swinging free-kick but despite making good connection with the ball the striker failed to hit the target.
While the game may have lacked a bit of urgency as the clock crept past the hour mark, there was certainly plenty of electricity off it as the heavens well and truly opened above stadiummk, while several bursts of thunder and lightning provided a bit of excitement in the stands.
Although the wet turf arguably suited the hosts’ style of play, it was Carlisle who had the better chances after the brief storm, with McLoughlin called into action on several occasions - the Irishman, deputising for the injured Martin, doing extremely well given the difficult conditions.
If the Dons were to get something from this game it felt as though it would have to be from something special, with Carlisle putting more and more behind the ball as the game grew on and Bamford almost provided that piece of magic with a glancing header from Lewington’s cross but his effort bounced agonisingly wide of the post.
While Robinson was keen to throw men forward in hope of salvaging at least a point from the game, his side needed to remain wary at the back and evidence of that came in the 87th minute when substitute Danny Livesey crashed what would have certainly been a winning strike, against the bar.
Livesey's effort proved to be the last of the night, with the Dons failing to test Gillespie in stoppage time.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): McLoughlin; Hodson (Baldock 54), Otsemobor, Flanagan, Lewington (c); Potter, Reeves; Powell, Carruthers (Chadwick 54), Banton (McLeod 54); Bamford.
Subs not used: Burns (GK), Smith, Galloway, Rasulo.
Sent off: None
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Townsend, Robson, Amoo, Noble, Thirlwell (c), Potts (Miller 84), O'Hanlon, Guy (Symington 63), McSweeney (Livesey 55), Chimbonda.
Subs not used: Fleming (GK), Gillies, Beck, Eccleston.
Goals: Guy 35
Sent off: None
Attendance: 6,655 (263 away)