Carlisle United 3 MK Dons 0
MK Dons' disappointing mid-week away form continued on Tuesday evening with a 3-0 defeat to Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
The Dons, who had won just three of their last 22 League games away from home on a Tuesday night, fell behind to two first-half goals from Lee Miller and Brad Potts before their former loanee David Amoo headed home a third on the hour to seal the loss.
The result leaves the Dons 10th in the Sky Bet League 1 table and, now, 12 points adrift of the play-off places, albeit with two games in hand.
Karl Robinson made two changes to his side with defensive pair Lee Hodson and Tom Flanagan replacing George Baldock and the now-departed Shaun Williams at right-back and centre-back respectively.
It took until the 10th minute for the game's first chance which came courtesy of Dons loanee Chris Long but, after he was able to beat his marker and drive deep into the Carlisle box, his cut-back aimed at Dele Alli was caught by a diving Greg Fleming.
Soon after, Long was able to win the Dons their first corner of the evening and, after it was only half-cleared by the hosts, Alli was able to shoot from distance; his effort, however, flew harmlessly over the bar.
The hosts then tested David Martin for the first time through former-Dons defender Sean O’Hanlon, who produced a strong save out of the Dons ‘keeper with a close-range header from a corner on 15 minutes.
Another ex-Don, David Amoo, who earlier appeared to trip up his own man - Lee Miller - when clean through on goal, then drilled a shot wide of the left-hand upright before the same man’s dangerous-looking cross was deflected just wide of the target.
With Williams no longer at the Club, there is an opening for a set-piece taker and Ben Reeves staked his claim for that role on 20 minutes with a bending free-kick which had to be well-saved by Fleming at his near post.
The Cumbrians then went close through a set-piece of their own seven minutes later but O’Hanlon wasn’t able to find the target after latching onto James Berrett’s deep cross.
Then, arguably the best chance of the opening half an hour came courtesy of the hosts on 28 minutes but Potts, after ghosting into the penalty area, drilled a shot wide of the target.
Long, eager to build on his goal tally in only his fourth senior game, was looking lively up-front for Robinson’s side and he forced Fleming into a diving save on 36 minutes with his first real shot on goal - a mean right-footed effort on the corner of the box.
But, with just four minutes left in the first-half, the deadlock was finally broken and it was the hosts who drew first blood. After a winning a free-kick on the right-hand touchline, Berrett fired in a dangerous low cross and Cumbrians forward Miller was able to get the faintest of touches inside the six-yard box to direct the ball past Martin.
A lot had been made before the game about the Dons’ form away from home on a Tuesday night and their task of reversing that run was made even tougher when Carlisle doubled their lead just a few minutes later.
Amoo, who was looking a real threat for the Cumbrians, was able to beat Gleeson down the right channel and cross for a sliding Potts to tap home, much to the adulation of the Brunton Park crowd.
Eager to get back into the contest as soon as possible Robinson made two changes at half-time, with George Baldock and Daniel Powell coming on for Samir Carruthers and Dele Alli.
And the pair almost combined to pull a goal-back on 50 minutes but after Baldock crossed for Powell, following a nice move from the visitors, the latter wasn't able to win his header and the chance went begging.
Powell then had another opportunity to reduce the deficit but the 22-year-old failed to control Potter's delightful chip into the box and Fleming gathered.
And those missed opportunities proved costly when the game was all-but sealed in favour of Carlisle with half an hour to play, when Amoo got across his marker at the near post to head home Berrett's corner.
The Dons, to their credit, continued to search for some pride and cheer for the brave 103 Dons supporters who had made the long trip to Cumbria and both Powell and Reeves went close in the 64th and 71st minutes respectively.
Potter also threatened with a long-range effort as time wound down before Fleming denied Bowditch a late consolation after the winger had latched onto Reeves' superb through-ball.
Carlisle United: Fleming, Robson, Amoo (Dempsey 84), Noble, Miller (Drennan 76), Potts, Berrett, O'Hanlon (c), Meppen-Walter, Lawrence (Symington 90), Chimbonda.
Subs: Bouzanis (GK), Livesey, Buaben, Guy.
Goals: Miller 38, Potts 43, Amoo 59
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Hodson, Flanagan, Kay, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Reeves, Alli (Powell 46), Carruthers (Baldock 46); Long (Bowditch 61).
Subs: McLoughlin (GK), Chadwick, Smith, McLeod.
Attendance: 3,007 (103 away)