MK Dons 0 Wolves 1
Ten-man MK Dons weren't able to topple the league leaders on Saturday afternoon, despite a spirited performance at stadiummk.
Karl Robinson's side were than a match for Wolverhampton Wanderers but fell courtesy of a Liam McAlinden header which came a minute after substitute Sanmi Odelusi was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Robinson made four changes to the side which lost to Gillingham in mid-week, handing an MK Dons debut to winger Matty Kennedy, who joined on loan from Everton on Wednesday.
Also coming into the starting XI was James Loveridge for his first senior start, as well as Dean Bowditch for the injured Ben Reeves and Daniel Powell for Sanmi Odelusi.
After a cagey opening four minutes, Wolves were the first to breach their opponents’ backline when James Henry got past Dean Lewington but, after taking a touch and keeping the ball in play, the midfielder chipped his cross over the bar.
Michael Jacobs then curled a 25-yard effort wide of David Martin’s left-hand upright before Dean Bowditch produced a good save out of Carl Ikeme with the Dons’ first shot of the afternoon - a dipping volley which the Wolves ‘keeper was equal to.
Following Bowditch’s chance the tempo of the game took a dip, as both sides enjoyed spells of possession without really troubling each other’s final thirds.
That was until a Henry latched onto a delightful free-kick on 28 minutes and was denied by one of the saves of season from Martin, who prevented the midfielder’s close-range shot piercing his net with a superb reaction save. The linesman’s flag did go up for offside afterwards, but neither Henry nor Martin were to know.
In the 35th minute, Bowditch tried his luck again with another half-volley which sailed over the crossbar before Antony Kay denied Nouha Dicko a clear run on goal with a vital interception of Dave Edwards’ pass.
Wolves and the first-half’s best chance, though, came on the brink of the half-time whistle when the visitors found themselves in a four-on-one situation, only for the Dons to get players back and prevent Jacobs from really troubling Martin with his low shot.
That opportunity was quickly followed-up by a fierce shot from the speedy Dicko which Martin managed to tip over the crossbar.
The visitors started the second-half bright and forced Martin into a save just 30 seconds in although the Dons ‘keeper was never really threatened by Dicko’s near post flick. Down the other end, James Loveridge had a chance to run in-behind the Wolves defence only to see Ikeme run towards him and punch the through-ball clear.
On 52 minutes, Danny Batth headed over from 10-yards after Martin failed to reach Henry’s cross before Bowditch went close to finding the top corner with a curling free-kick which Ikeme had to palm away for a corner.
Both sides then made substitutions, with Sanmi Odelusi replacing Matty Kennedy for the Dons and a duo of Leon Clarke and Liam McAlinden coming on for Nouha Dicko and Jack Price.
And the latter of those Wolves substitutes went close to making an instant impact when he crossed for Price, who had sneaked in at the far post, only for his team-mate to fail in hitting the target with his header.
The Dons’ sole replacement thus far, Odelusi, almost provided the moment of brilliance they were looking when he worked his way into the area with a neat flick over Scott Golbourne but the loanee blasted his right-footed volley wide.
Robinson then introduced 17-year-old Giorgio Rasulo in place of Loveridge and the youngster impressed early with a couple of neat touches in the number 10 role, including a back-heel which almost led to a Dons chance.
The men from MK1 were proving to be more than a match for their league-leading opponents but their hopes of salvaging anything more than a point took a blow in the 80th minute when Odelusi was shown his second yellow card in as many minutes following a foul on Golbourne.
The decision looked harsh on the Bolton loanee and, to make matter worse for his side, Wolves broke the deadlock from the resulting free-kick. From Jacobs’ set-piece, the ball found its way over to Kevin McDonald and he provided the perfect cross for substitute McAlinden to climb and head past a static Martin.
Forced to replace Bowditch before the re-start, Robinson moved defender Kay up-front alongside Powell in attempt to win draw level and they came within inches of doing so in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Kay climbed well to flick Martin’s long-ball towards Galloway who managed to get his body in the way of Batth’s clearance and almost divert it into the bottom corner.
It wasn’t to be for the Dons, though, and, as a result, they slipped to ninth in the Sky Bet League 1 table.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Baldock, Spence, Kay, Lewington (c); Smith, Alli; Kennedy (Odelusi 58), Bowditch (Galloway 82), Powell; Loveridge (Rasulo 73).
Subs not used: Burns (GK), Randall, Hall.
Booked: Kay, Odelusi
Sent off: Odelusi 80
Wolves: Ikeme, Edwards, Stearman, Batth, Henry, McDonald, Ricketts (c), Price (McAlinden 61), Golbourne, Jacobs, Dicko (Clarke 61).
Subs not used: McCarey (GK), Elokobi, Davis, Evans, Ebanks-Landell.
Goal: McAlinden 81
Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire)
Attendance: 20,516 (8,943 away)
Gulliver's Land Half-Time Jackpot Draw: 06-07-12-13