MK Dons saw their unbeaten run come to an end as they were beaten 2-1 by Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Tommy Rowe put the hosts ahead after just six minutes but Peter Kioso was able to restore parity before half-time with a close-range finish.
Despite a dominant second period, Liam Manning’s Dons weren’t able to find a way past Rovers, who found produced a late sucker-punch through Tiago Cukur with just 11 minutes remaining.
MK Dons made one change from the midweek draw with Fleetwood Town as captain Dean Lewington replaced Zak Jules in defence. Tennai Watson came in for Aden Baldwin but the Dons were, otherwise, the same.
Donny started brightly and hit the post just two minutes in through Ben Close – his header had Andy Fisher beaten but, fortunately for him and the Dons, it wasn’t accurate enough to find the net.
The hosts were then awarded a free-kick for a foul by Warren O’Hora. Harry Darling dealt with Close’s teasing delivery with an important defensive header but it led to a corner from which Donny opened the scoring – Tommy Rowe beating the offside trap to poke past an on-rushing Fisher. 1-0.
Doncaster almost made it two-nil with 11 minutes played but, for the second time, the woodwork came to the Dons’ rescue – this time the left upright preventing Vilca from finding the net.
The Dons slowly worked their way into the contest after that and, on 22 minutes, Peter Kioso forced a terrific diving save out of Pontus Dhalberg. Kioso wasn’t to be denied, though, and from the resulting corner, he drew his side level.
Twine’s corner was sent to the back post for Troy Parrott, who headed back into the mix where a lurking Kioso was there to meet it – the wing-back able to get in front of his marker and fire the ball home. 1-1.
O’Riley went close to putting MK Dons soon after but his skimming low drive was pushed past the post by Dhalberg. A well-worked corner routine then let to a chance for Watters but a Donny defender got in the way of his first-time try.
With just over half an hour played, Twine had his first sight of goal but wasn’t able to beat Dhalberg from distance. At the other end, a cross in from the left was just out of the reach of a sliding Dodoo.
The Dons threatened again from successive corners with three minutes to play in the half, although they were almost punished on the counter from the second – Fisher, though, saved from Rowe.
Half-Time – Doncaster Rovers 1-1 MK Dons
The second half took some time to get going and it wasn’t until the 55 minute mark that period saw it’s first attempt on goal – a chance for Watters, after latching onto Parrott’s through pass, but he was denied by the goalkeeper.
Watters went close again just past the hour, beating Dhalberg to a high ball sent in by Harvie but unable to direct his effort on target. Kioso went even closer just a few minutes later but was denied one-on-one by the Donny stopper.
Manning went to his bench for the first time after that, swapping Watters with Mo Eisa in attack. He later brought on Boateng in place of Twine.
Despite his side being in the ascendancy, they would find themselves behind again with 11 minutes to play – substitute Cukur converting from close range despite what appeared to be an obvious offside in the build-up. 2-1.
The Dons thought they had been handed a golden opportunity to level the scores almost immediately but, despite seeing Eisa brought down inside the area, referee Andrew Kitchen awarded a free-kick rather than a penalty. Eisa took the free-kick but could only find the side netting.
That was the closest Manning’s men came to finding a late leveller as they fell to their first defeat since md-August.
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O’Hora, Darling, O’Riley, Twine (Boateng 78) Robson, Parrott, Harvie, Kioso, Watters (Eisa 67).
Subs: Ravizzoli, Watson, Jules, Kasumu, McEachran.
Goal: Kioso (24)
Doncaster Rovers: Dhalberg, Knoyle, Anderson, Williams, Close, Rowe, Bostock (Smith 68), Hiwula, Dodoo (Cukur 77), Galbraith, Vilca (Barlow 46).
Subs: Jones, Seaman, Gardner, Horton.
Goals: Rowe (6), Cukur (79)
Referee: A Kitchen