Ten-man MK Dons suffered a first defeat in five league games after a 4-1 reverse at the hands of promotion contenders Bradford City.
The fixture’s main talking point came inside five minutes when Aaron Tshibola was given his marching orders, providing an uphill task for Robbie Neilson’s men.
Bradford took full advantage and were 2-0 up by 18 minutes courtesy of goals from Romain Vincelot and Charlie Wyke.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell provided a lifeline with a fine header, but Wyke scored his second and Paul Taylor raced through late on to seal the win, although there were suspicions of offside for Bradford’s final two goals.
Neilson named the same side that beat Bury 2-0 in the Dons’ last Sky Bet League One outing.
The men from MK1 were down to 10 men inside five minutes when Jake Reeves dispossessed Tshibola, who was then adjudged to have brought down his man and was subsequently shown a red card.
Stuart McCall’s outfit made the most of their numerical advantage on 11 minutes, Romain Vincelot heading home Tony McMahon’s corner from the right.
The Dons responded and Osman Sow nearly picked out Kieran Agard before the former set up Gboly Ariyibi, who fired over the top from 25 yards.
However, things got worse for the hosts seven minutes later when a low 20-yard drive from Charlie Wyke deflected into the bottom left-hand corner.
Lee Nicholls saved from Dominic Poleon and Reeves shot wide as the Bantams continued to make it difficult for the 10-man Dons.
A quick corner from Nicky Law presented an opportunity for McMahon, who brought the best out of the Dons’ No.1 courtesy of a curling effort which looked destined for the top corner.
The Dons threatened the visitors’ goal in the last real action of the first half when George Williams headed Ed Upson’s free-kick into a dangerous area but Kieran Agard couldn’t get enough on his close-range effort.
They went one better in the final few minutes of the half when, after winning a corner following a purposeful run, Ethan Ebanks-Landell headed Upson’s into the corner of the net.
To try and add to the lift, Neilson introduced Chuks Aneke at half-time and the powerful attacker set Sow away down the left with an exquisite touch but the latter return the favour.
At the other end, Nicholls made a smart save to deny Reeves from distance, but it was the Dons who started the second half better despite having a man less.
The Bantams were still a threat, though, with McMahon, Wyke and former Don Adam Chicksen shooting off target as they began to take a stranglehold once again on the hour mark.
Superb feet from Gboly Ariyibi saw him get away down the right although he couldn’t find Sow, who had taken up a good position in the box as the Dons looked to counter.
Bradford restored their two-goal lead on 69 minutes when Wyke tapped home from close range after Matthew Kilgallon had pulled the ball back – much to the annoyance of the Dons players who felt the latter was offside.
The Dons reacted well and both Sow and Upson forced smart saves from Colin Doyle as they targeted another goal to set up an interesting finish.
However, it was 4-1 on 83 minutes when Paul Taylor raced through and finished with aplomb past Nicholls – once again, though, there was more than a look of offside about it but the linesman kept his flag down.
Substitute Robbie Muirhead impressed after coming on and he came close to reducing the arrears with a fine strike in the dying embers of the game as the Dons kept going.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Wootton; Lewington (c); Upson, Tshibola, Gilbey; Agard (Aneke 46), Ariyibi (Muirhead 86), Sow (Nesbitt 78).
Unused subs: Sietsma, Walsh, McGrandles, Seager.
Attendance: 9,106 (996 Bradford fans).
Bookings: Aneke, Upson, Lewington.