Report: Dons 0-1 Chesterfield
Armand Gnanduillet’s powerful second-half header proved the difference as the men from MK1 were beaten by their Sky Bet League 1 rivals.
Dean Lewington and Benik Afobe returned to the starting XI in place of Lee Hodson and Ben Reeves (stiff hamstring) for the clash with the Derbyshire outfit.
The visitors settled the better of the two teams and Charlie Raglan saw a header from a Gary Roberts corner saved by David Martin on eight minutes.
Martin was again called into action four minutes, pushing away Eoin Doyle’s dangerous delivery in front of the lurking Roberts.
However, the Dons had the best opportunity of the opening 17 minutes when Afobe was put through on goal but he thwarted on the edge of the box by Tommy Lee, who then did well to close the angle as Dele Alli tried to beat two defenders on the line.
That seemed to lift the Dons, who began to enjoy more possession and territorial advantage as the clock ticked towards the midway point of the first half.
Carl Baker, who was named League 1 Player of the Month on Friday, tested Lee with a fine curling 20-yard effort on 23 minutes while, at the other end, the Dons defence were dealing well with Chesterfield attacks.
Fellow winger Daniel Powell, having swapped to the left side, was also threatening and only a last-ditch block from Raglan denied the 25-year-old finding the back of the net after a powerful run on 29 minutes.
At the other end, Darren Potter was alert to turn Armand Gnanduillet’s cut-back behind for a corner after the Dons had lost possession on the edge of their box.
An even better chance came Chesterfield’s way on 39 minutes when Tendayi Dariwka got in down the right-hand side but he lifted his effort over Martin and on to the roof of the net from 12 yards. That proved to be the last real action of a half which was fairly-evenly contested.
Like in the first 45, the visitors started the second period on the front foot and they took the lead on 55 minutes when Gnanduillet powered home a close-range header from Sam Clucas’ pinpoint left-wing cross.
Paul Cook’s men had the ball in the back of the net again less than two minutes later, Doyle tapping home after Roberts’ initial shot been saved by Martin, but the offside flag came to the Dons’ rescue.
Doyle was presented with another chance on the hour mark but his goal-bound effort, which beat the outstretched Martin, was expertly blocked by the covering Antony Kay.
The Dons tried to hit back through Baker, who saw a shot blocked from just inside the box, as did Potter from 20 yards.
Karl Robinson introduced George Baldock, Tom Flanagan and Giorgio Rasulo as they continued to try and find a way back into the game, but the Spireites defence were holding firm as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes.
A Baker corner momentarily caused mayhem in the Chesterfield box in injury-time but Afobe nor Kay could get the vital touch. With that went the last chance and the Dons’ involvement in the FA Cup this season, which began with a thrilling 4-3 win at Port Vale.
Starting XI: Martin; Spence (Baldock 71), Kay, McFadzean (Flanagan 77), Lewington (c); Potter, Alli; Powell, Grigg (Rasulo 71), Baker; Afobe.
Unused subs: McLoughlin, Hodson, Tilney, Tshimanga.