MK Dons were beaten 3-2 by Peterborough United at Stadium MK, despite a late rally from Liam Manning’s men.
First-half goals from Jonson Clarke-Harris and Kwame Poku gave the Posh a commanding half-time lead, which they extended through Ricky-Jade Jones soon after the break.
The Dons pulled a goal back in the final minute of regulation time through Daniel Harvie, before Matt Smith scored a quickfire second in the first of four added minutes. There wasn’t to be a dramatic late comeback, though, as Liam Manning’s men fell to their third home defeat of the season.
Ethan Robson returned to the starting XI as Head Coach Liam Manning made three changes from the win over Oxford United. Will Grigg and Zak Jules also came in to the side, with Dean Lewington, Matt Dennis and Dawson Devoy making way.
The Dons were keen to build on their 2-1 win at Oxford a fortnight before but they found themselves a goal behind after just two minutes when Jonson Clarke-Harris rifled in from a Ben Thompson cross, with the game’s first shot. 0-1.
In search of an instant response, Daniel Oyegoke got past his man down the right, however his low cross was intercepted by a Posh defender. The return delivery from the Brentford loanee was headed away above Daniel Harvie.
On 11 minutes, Grant made a darting run into the box which was spotted by Josh McEachran. Grant attempted to guide his teammate’s pass towards goal with his head but the glancing effort fell wide.
Joe Ward forced Jamie Cumming into a save moments later with a fierce strike from 25 yards out. Grant then went close again as he looked to connect with Harvie’s low cross – an interception from a Posh defender prevented him testing Lucas Bergstrom.
With a quarter of an hour played, Cumming claimed a curling effort from Ricky-Jade Jones. He then palmed a low drive from Jack Taylor around his post – Taylor’s shot from the resulting corner also went wide, without a touch from an MK Dons player.
Cumming made an even more crucial intervention with 27 minutes played, getting down to direct Jones’ effort onto the post with his fingertips. Jones then had the ball in the net a minute later, from a corner, but he was rightly pulled up for offside.
The Dons responded by forcing Bergstrom into a save five minutes later through McEachran, whose stinging long-range try was tipped over by the Posh goalkeeper. Peterborough would, though, double their lead with their next attack – Poku left free at the far post to hammer past Cumming from Jones’ left-wing cross. 0-2.
Harvie almost found a way to reduce the deficit with three minutes to play in the half, creating room for a shot inside the area with a lob over his marker, only for his effort on goal to be deflected past the post. Jules headed wide from the resulting corner with the final meaningful action of the first half.
The Dons made a positive start to the second period, in search of a way back into the contest but Peterborough made it difficult for them to create too much in the way of chances early.
Grant did create space for shot with 51 minutes on the clock but sent his curling effort wide from 30 yards out.
However, chances of mounting a comeback were dealt a fatal blow soon after, as the Dons conceded possession inside their own half, providing Jones a clear run on goal which he took advantage of to extend the lead to three. 0-3.
Manning went to his bench on the hour and replaced Grant and Robson with Louie Barry and Dawson Devoy. The former, shortly after his introduction, made a good run into the area, which was spotted by Smith, but the through ball was cut out.
Bradley Johnson and JJ Kayode were both introduced with just under 20 minutes remaining, taking the places of McEachran and Grigg. Kayode was the target of a Harvie cross in from the left which was far too close to Bergstrom.
Henry Lawrence for Oyegoke was the Dons’ fifth and final substitution, coming on for the final 13 minutes. One of the earlier changes, Barry, went down in the area late on but appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Ollie Yates.
Another of the second-half additions, Devoy, earned the Dons a free-kick with four minutes left. He stepped up to take the set-piece himself and his delivery led to a chance for Tucker, who saw his looping attempted turned over by Bergstrom.
The Dons did get themselves on the scoresheet through Harvie with a minute remaining in the 90. Harvie raced onto Tucker’s through pass and kept his composure, despite a tight angle, to curl a shot around Bergstrom and into the net via inside of the post. 1-3.
That sparked Stadium MK into life and a minute into stoppage time, Manning’s men had a second through Smith, who collected Kayode’s knockdown and sent a chipped shot over a stranded Bergstrom, who had come racing out of his goal to try and beat Kayode to the ball. 2-3.
Manning’s men then earned themselves a late free-kick but there wasn’t to be a dramatic finish – the Posh defence dealing with Devoy’s delivery, securing themselves the points.
MK Dons: Cumming, Tucker, O’Hora, McEachran (Johnson 71), Smith, Robson (Devoy 60), Grigg (Kayode 71), Oyegoke (Lawrence 77), Grant (Barry 60), Harvie, Jules.
Subs: Ravizzoli, Lewington.
Goals: Harvie (90), Smith (90+1)
Booked: Robson, Devoy, Johnson
Peterborough United: Bergstrom, Butler (Burrows 71), Knight, Kent, Fuchs (Randall 82), Taylor, Clarke-Harris (Kyprianou 81), Poku (N Thompson 62), Jones (Marriott 71), Ward, B Thompson.
Subs: Blackmore, Edward.
Goals: Clarke-Harris (3), Poku (36), Jones (54)
Referee: O Yates
Attendance: 8,963 (2,631 away)