MK Dons Under-18s were left to rue missed chances as they lost 2-0 against Southend United at Woughton-on-the-Green.
After both sides missed first-half penalties, two second-half Southend goals proved the difference in this Youth Alliance League fixture which was played on a chilly and overcast day.
Dons left-winger Liam Sole looked lively in the early stages and forced the visitors’ keeper to parry away an early shot from outside the box.
The Dons’ number eleven then won the hosts a penalty in the 16th minute after he was fouled inside the box.
Sole took the penalty himself however his effort hit the underside of the crossbar and ricocheted out, before a Dons player skied the follow-up over the top of the bar.
A few minutes later, Sole forced the Shrimpers keeper into action again as he hit the target with another shot from outside the box.
In the 24th minute, Southend were awarded a penalty of their own but the Dons’ trialist keeper made a good save to stop the low kick to his left-hand side and he was able to tip it away to safety to keep the scoreline goalless.
The Dons were largely dominating possession but lacked the clinical edge to their finishing, failing to hit the target with a number of efforts from inside the penalty area.
Just after the hour mark, attacking midfielder Joe Evans found himself through inside the box however his low shot was blocked by the Southend keeper.
The visitors had their best chance of the game midway through the second half but failed to convert after a goalmouth scramble from a corner kick.
A follow-up corner from the left hand side went right through the box and was poked home from close range by a Shrimpers player at the back post. 0-1.
Southend doubled their lead with seven minutes to go when the Dons gave the ball away inside their own half. A Shrimpers player produced a nice curling finish into the top right hand corner of the goal to make it 2-0 to the side from Essex.
The Dons had a chance to get a goal back with a few minutes to go when Jay Bird found himself in on goal, however the Dons’ day was summed up by the fact that the replacement could not hit the target with his shot.
Despite a late rally, the Dons could not get a goal back although they came as close as they had all game in stoppage time.
A low shot hit the left-hand post however it lacked sufficient power to cross the line as it got held up in the muddy goalmouth.
The Dons were unable to make it two home wins in a week as they lost to a side who have now beaten them in all three of their Youth Alliance League meetings this season.
After the match, Edu Rubio said: “It was a very good first half where we could have had two or three goals.
“It was one of those games where we felt a bit frustrated in the second half because we created chances but didn’t score goals.
“We then conceded from a corner and from there we lost a bit of belief. I felt we could have equalised if we had kept our composure.
“I think the emotion and nerves got the better of us in the final part of the game today. I felt that we were the better team and it was one of those days where we could have been there all day and not scored.
“The missed penalty in the first half was an important moment. If we had scored then it would have mitigated the negative emotions that we experienced later on.”
Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Trialist; Ackom (Sule 85), Tapp (c) (Kasumu 62), Hope, Sorinola; Pattison (Robinson 75), Wright; Bell, Evans, Sole: Holmes (Bird 46).
Unused sub: Jones.
Booked: Tapp 38, Kasumu 77.