A disappointing afternoon at Stadium MK saw MK Dons fall to defeat at the hands of Southend United.
Goals from Simon Cox and Anthony Wordsworth had the visitors 2-0 up midway through the first half and, despite going close on a number of occasions, the men from MK1 were unable to overturn the deficit. Wordsworth added a third in injury-time from a free-kick.
Joe Walsh, Darren Potter and Daniel Powell returned in place of the suspended Dean Lewington, Ed Upson and Kieran Agard (knee).
The Dons were made to pay for failing to clear a corner when Simon Cox fired back across Dave Martin inside two minutes to give the visitors the lead.
Karl Robinson’s men responded in a positive fashion with Ben Reeves forcing a save from Mark Oxley and Ryan Colclough seeing a cross deflected over.
Opposite winger Daniel Powell was then denied at close range from a Colclough cross after the former had initially made good distance with a purposeful run.
The Dons were putting the pressure on and only a magnificent double save from Mark Oxley denied Walsh’s powerful header and Potter’s powerful strike finding the back of the net on 14 minutes.
However, against the run of play, Anthony Wordsworth extended the visitors’ lead with another fine drive into the far corner from 15 yards after being given too much time to shoot.
Jack Hendry flashed a long-range effort as the Dons looked for a way back into it while, at the other end, Martin parried away Ryan Leonard’s fierce long-range drive.
Reeves fired a 20-yard free-kick wide before Dean Bowditch was put through on goal but he flicked his effort inches past the right-hand post.
Martin thwarted Southend in their attempts for a third goal as Martin superbly denied Will Atkinson from 12 yards after he’d been picked out by Cox.
At the other end, the Dons were still looking for a way back into the game and Reeves forced Oxley into a smart save away to his right from just inside the 18-yard box.
Ten minutes into the second half, Samir Carruthers flashed a ball across the box while, at the other end, GB Williams made great yards to block an effort from Stephen McLaughlin on the counter.
Upson and Thomas-Asante were introduced midway through the half but it was one of the starters, Carruthers, who brought a save out of Oxley after cutting inside a minute later – Thomas-Asante couldn’t get on the rebound.
Bowditch came within inches of reducing the arrears on 73 minutes but his curling left-footed effort went narrowly over the top.
Wordsworth made sure of the visitors’ victory in injury-time, curling home a free-kick from 25 yards.
Starting XI: Martin; GB Williams, Downing, Hendry (Upson 68), Walsh; Potter (c), Carruthers; Powell (Thomas-Asante 68), Reeves, Colclough; Bowditch.
Unused subs: Nicholls, Tilney, GC Williams, Tshimanga, Maynard.
Bookings: Potter, Martin, Colclough.