MK Dons were frustrated by Tranmere Rovers on Saturday as they slipped to their third League defeat on the bounce.
Karl Robinson's side were much the better side throughout the afternoon but their former striker, Ryan Lowe, tapped home a Jake Cassidy cross in the 91st minute to inflict more disappointment on the Dons, who failed to close the gap on the play-off places.
Ben Reeves went close with the first shot of the match as Owain Fon Williams had to dive to his right and push the ball around the post for a corner. And it was Reeves who was involved in the next Dons attack as he played in Daniel Powell whose effort went inches wide.
The 22-year-old midfielder was at the centre of everything and his shot from outside the box flew just off target before he turned a defender and perfectly chipped into Powell who couldn’t get a shot away and Samir Carruthers intercepted, but his stab at goal was deflected.
Fon Williams was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers and he was tested again as he got down low two deny Reeves after Dean Bowditch had beaten two Tranmere players and played him in. Then, Carruthers poked a clever ball through to Powell, but his effort looped over the top of the crossbar as the Dons impressed despite the state of the pitch.
Tranmere’s first real chance came after a flat period of the match, as Ash Taylor climbed highest from a free kick to head just over David Martin’s bar. At the other end, Powell went on a brilliant run and Fon Williams had to get down well to deny the forward, before Antony Kay headed straight at the goalkeeper from the resulting corner.
The away side began the second half on top, but Karl Robinson’s side were limiting them to very little chances, before Jake Cassidy was denied by a strong save from Martin. The Dons then had a few efforts on goal of their own as Reeves shot off target before Carruthers was denied twice by Fon Williams.
Dean Lewington was then inches away from connecting with Stephen Gleeson’s curling free-kick as the Dons began to take control of the game and they went close once again through Powell, who had an effort blocked on the line after Lewington knocked the ball down to him from a Gleeson corner. Carruthers, later, fired just wide of Fon Williams goal with a long range strike.
Substitutes Izale McLeod and Dele Alli brought some spark to the Dons side late-on, with the latter beating his man in the area and pulling the ball back for McLeod, but the forward took too long and eventually lost the ball. Then, after some neat build up play Carruthers whipped the ball in towards McLeod again, but his header was straight back across goal and cleared by a Rovers defender.
But, as has been the case for the majority of the season, the Dons’ good work was undone by one of their former players, Lowe, who came back to haunt his old club in the final minute; tapping home Jake Cassidy’s low cross.
The Dons, therefore, remain in 10th place in Sky Bet League 1 and are still 10 points adrift of the top six with a game in hand.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Hodson, Kay, Spence, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Bowditch (Alli 59), Reeves, Carruthers; Powell (McLeod 71).
Subs not used: McLoughlin (GK), Flanagan, Chadwick, Smith, Baldock.
Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams, Taylor, Wallace (c), Lowe, Cassidy, Jennings, Kennedy (Kirby 72), Koumas, Ridehalgh, Pennington, Arthurworrey.
Subs not used: Mooney (GK), Holmes, Goodison, Robinson, Stockton, Power.
Goals: Lowe 90
Attendance: 7,460 (245 away)
Goal-Don Treble Chance HT draw numbers: 06-07-04-09