A strong performance wasn’t rewarded as the Dons fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Burnley at Turf Moor.
Carl Baker deservedly levelled for the men from MK1 after Wales international Sam Vokes had fired the hosts in front against the run of play, but George Boyd settled an evenly-contested affair with a superb volley.
Rob Hall, Baker and Simon Church replaced Daniel Powell, Josh Murphy and Sam Gallagher in the starting XI for the clash with the Clarets.
Hall came extremely close to opening the scoring in the third minute when he fired a 25-yard effort just over the top after receiving the ball in the middle of the park and driving forward.
Karl Robinson’s side continued to do the early running, controlling possession and enjoying good territorial advantage as the game ticked towards the 10thminute.
Andre Gray shot well wide in between Church almost finding Dean Bowditch following another slick Dons move and the latter seeing a cross deflected behind.
The men from MK1 started very strongly, playing at a fantastic tempo and breaking into the hosts’ half with real purpose on every occasion.
Against the run of play, Gray was presented with a golden opportunity to give the Clarets the lead on 17 minutes but, after latching on to Sam Vokes’ through-ball, he was magnificently denied by David Martin at point-blank range.
That sparked a mini spell of pressure from the hosts, who put four crosses into the box but they were all dealt with comfortably by the Dons.
At the other end, Antony Kay headed a free-kick into the arms of England keeper Tom Heaton, but it was Burnley’s centre-back, Michael Keane, who came within inches of breaking the deadlock when he directed an effort just off target from a corner.
Clever movement from Church created another chance but his cut-back couldn’t quite find Hall, who made a dangerous run into the box.
Gray was again brilliantly denied by Martin when put through one-on-one, but there was nothing the Dons’ No.1 could do with a rasping 25-yard shot from Vokes which arrowed into the top left-hand corner on 32 minutes.
That was very harsh on the Dons but they didn’t dwell on it and fought back as they looked for an immediate response – Dean Lewington sending a 25-yard free-kick over the top and Samir Carruthers volleying wide shortly afterwards.
The former Aston Villa man then saw a shot deflect over the top, which signalled the start of a strong spell of pressure for the Dons, who were almost level when Michael Duff headed a dangerous delivery just over his own crossbar on 42 minutes.
The Dons’ pressure finally told in injury-time at the end of the first half when, following some intricate passing, Carruthers burst into the box and picked out Baker, who showed great desire to head past Heaton at the back post.
Burnley went back in front on 50 minutes thanks to a moment of magic from Boyd, who superbly volleyed Tendayi Darikwa’s cross past Martin from 15 yards.
A fine turn from Bowditch almost created a shooting opportunity for the Dons’ No.9 but he was crowded out at the crucial time as the men from MK1 responded once again.
At the other end, Gray got free but shot into the side-netting via a deflection, but it was the Dons who were enjoying the better territorial advantage.
A burst from Bowditch caused problems for the Clarets’ defence but the attacker was penalised for a foul midway through the second half as he entered the area.
Murphy was introduced for Hall shortly afterwards as Robinson looked to freshen up his side’s attacking threat going into the final 20 minutes.
But it was the goalscorer Baker who almost created a second, beating his man before firing a dangerous ball across the box which was cleared at the last by Darikwa.
Gallagher and Powell also came on to try as the Dons pushed for a leveller but, despite late pressure, they were unable to find what would have been a deserved equaliser.
MK Dons: Martin; Spence, Kay, McFadzean, Lewington (c); Poyet, Carruthers; Hall (Murphy 68), Bowditch (Powell 82), Baker; Church (Gallagher 74).
Unused subs: Burns, Hodson, Upson, Aguza.
Goals: Baker (45+1).
Bookings: Carruthers, Poyet, Kay.
Attendance: 15, 845 (166 Dons fans).
Referee: K Wright