A controversial first-half penalty proved the difference as MK Dons were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield Wednesday at Stadium MK.
Josh Windass’ spot-kick, which was awarded for a foul which occurred outside the area, was the only goal in a game which the Dons deserved more.
Liam Manning’s men could have had more too, had they not been denied on several occasions by brilliant David Stockdale saves – Matt Smith had their best chance midway through the second period.
They were also denied a late spot-kick of their own for what appeared to be a push on Matt Dennis in the area. While referee Anthony Backhouse awarded the visitors the chance to score from 12-yards, he didn’t afford the Dons the same luxury.
MK Dons made four changes from their defeat to Cambridge United last weekend, with Ethan Robson, Daniel Oyegoke, Bradley Johnson and Louie Barry all coming in to the starting XI.
Sheffield Wednesday made a bright start and worked a shooting opportunity for Barry Bannan inside the opening 30 seconds but a host of MK Dons defenders got in the way of his attempt on goal.
Tucker, one of those who blocked Bannan’s early effort, dealt well with several crosses into the area early on.
The Dons had their first shot on goal with a quarter of an hour played when Oyegoke cut in from the right-hand side and curled a left-footed shot wide of the target. Shortly after there was an opportunity for Will Grigg, pouncing on a loose pass, but his effort was saved by David Stockdale.
Grigg was denied another chance following a great tackle in the area by Heneghan, after the MK Dons striker had latched onto Barry’s through pass. Moments later, Barry got to the byline but saw his delivery intercepted by the feet of Stockdale.
Just as Manning’s men were establishing control on the game, the visitors were handed the opportunity to take the lead when referee Anthony Backhouse adjudged a foul from Lewington to occur inside the area, despite reality to the contrary.
Windass was the man brought down and he stepped up to convert from 12 yards, giving Sheffield Wednesday a first-half lead. 0-1.
In response, the Dons worked a shooting opportunity for Nathan Holland but his effort was blocked by a defender. At the other end, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru tried his luck from range but sent his drive high over the crossbar.
The Dons were dealt a blow in their attempt to get back level when Grigg was forced off with an injury five mintues before half-time. Matt Dennis was his replacement, making his Stadium MK debut.
With two minutes to play in the half, there was a half-chance for Johnson, who swiped at a shot 20-yards out – he wasn’t able to find the target, however.
Six minutes of added time were awarded for the injuries to Akin Famewo and Grigg and in the fifth of those, Wednesday went close to doubling their lead, only for a terrific save from Cumming to keep Dele-Bashiru’s shot out of his net.
At the start of the second half, Smith got free down the right flank and stretched to deliver a ball for Robson, whose header bounced wide. Wednesday also had an early opportunity – Hunt with a 20-yard effort which deflected behind for corner, from which Cumming saved a Heneghan header.
The Dons were dealt a further blow with an injury to Holland on 51 minutes – Dan Kemp was his replacement. Kemp was almost involved immediately but Smith’s cross towards him at the far post was just out of reach.
Manning’s men went agonisingly close five minutes later but both Smith and Lewington were denied in quick succession by Stockdale – the first save, to deny Smith, was a top-class save from the Wednesday goalkeeper.
Barry then stung the palms of Stockdale with a shot from range, after cutting in from the left. The Owls keeper then made another brilliant save to keep out Kemp’s low effort, after the winger had been played through by Smith.
Conor Grant and Darragh Burns were Manning’s final two changes, replacing Robson and Barry. They added pace to an MK Dons attack which was started to build momentum, though found it difficult to create too much against a stubborn Owls defence.
Eight minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the 90 and in the final one of those, there was one more moment of controversy in a game that was about to be settled by controversy.
After getting goal-side of his man, Matt Dennis appeared to be pushed over in the area. Everyone looked to the referee for a decision but their hopes of a late penalty were not to be granted. Soon after the that, the referee did blow his whistle – full-time.
MK Dons: Cumming, Lewington, Tucker, O’Hora, Smith, Robson (Grant 77), Grigg (Dennis 42), Holland (Kemp 53), Oyegoke, Johnson, Barry (Burns 77)
Subs: Ravizzoli, Lawrence, Jules.
Sheffield Wednesday: Stockdale, Palmer, Vaulks, Heneghan, Bannan (Byers 77), Windass (Bakinson 77) Paterson, Famewo (Hunt 29), Dele-Bashiru, Johnson, Ihiekwe.
Subs: Dawson, Iorfa, James, Sow.
Goal: Windass (pen 22)
Booked: Ihiekwe, Bannan, Paterson, Dele-Bashiru
Referee: A Backhouse
Attendance: 13,241 (6,512 away)