MK Dons were not able to build on their BBFA County Cup triumph after they were beaten 2-0 by second-placed C&K Basildon.
The Dons Ladies side travelled to Essex without five first-teamers, which left manager Matt French with just 12 players to choose from as they looked to topple a team who knew a win would send them top.
It was the hosts who started the strongest and just 10 minutes in they opened the scoring after the Dons defence failed to clear inside their own area allowing Karissa Rodney an easy finish six-yards out.
The Dons did creep back into the contest and they went close to an equaliser just before half-time through Chloe Smith from a Charly Wright corner.
Early in the second half, the Dons were dealt a blow when captain Hannah Barrett was forced off with an injury before Basildon doubled their lead, ten minutes later, when an inch-perfect through-ball was finished off by Sara Sinclair.
French’s side, to their credit, refused to let their heads drop and could have netted a late consolation had either Eden Washington or Heather McDonnell found a way past the Basildon ‘keeper with long-range shots.
The Dons, though, couldn’t find a breakthrough and as a result they slip to sixth in the South East Combination table and are now five points behind third-place.
MK Dons Ladies: Kirby, E Brockwell, Cutting, Hollingsworth, Howes, McDonnell, Turner, Barrett (M Brockwell 46), Wright, Smith, Washington.
Subs not used: None