A first-half brace from Portsmouth’s Oliver Hawkins saw MK Dons fall to a 2-0 defeat at Fratton Park.
Hawkins opened the scoring 14 minutes in after Matty Kennedy had intercepted a pass out from the back. The striker then netted in first-half stoppage time to earn Pompey all three points and deny the men from MK1 a third-straight away success.
Robbie Neilson’s team did threaten in the second half but were unable to find a way past Luke McGee in the Pompey goal. The defeat sees them remain 14th in the Sky Bet League One table.
Neilson made four changes to the side that was beaten by Bradford City, with Callum Brittain and Ousseynou Cisse returning from international duty and Scott Golbourne back in the side after recovering from injury. Aidan Nesbitt was the fourth and final switch made - he replaced Kieran Agard out wide.
Striker Osman Sow was active early on for the men from MK1, targeted in the area by Ethan Ebanks-Landell with a ball that was gathered by Luke McGee before he almost latched onto Alex Gilbey’s through pass shortly afterwards.
At the other end, Brittain got a vital touch to prevent either former Don Kennedy or Jamal Lowe connecting with a Kyle Bennett cross at the far post.
The Dons defence was holding firm despite several dangerous deliveries into the area but on 14 minutes they fell behind when Kennedy intercepted a pass out from the back, drove into the box and teed up Hawkins to stab the ball past Lee Nicholls. 1-0.
Neilson’s side went in search of an immediate response and had Gilbey’s chipped pass into the area had just a little less pace on it then Gboly Ariyibi might have been in with a chance of grabbing an equaliser.
Attempts to draw level were halted by several free-kicks given against the visitors, many of which left puzzled looks on the Dons’ faces, as well as injury stoppages involving Callum Brittain and Lee Nicholls - both were initially able to continue despite their scares, although the former was withdrawn later in the half and replaced by George Williams.
On the 30-minute mark, Dion Donohue fired a speculative effort over the crossbar. Stuart O’Keefe then saw a shot blocked inside the area before Nicholls denied Bennett with a lightning quick burst off his line.
The Dons successfully weathered the storm and began to look more threatening as the half drew to a close. In the 40th minute, after bursting through the Pompey backline, Sow went close with a left-footed shot which was blocked by Matt Clarke’s outstretched leg.
It was Neilson’s team who ended the half in the strongest fashion but two minutes into stoppage time they presented Portsmouth with a chance to double their lead after failing to clear their lines - Hawkins duly made them pay with his second goal of the afternoon, converting from Lowe’s pass. 2-0.
Neilson sent his side out early for the second half and among those on the field five minutes before the re-start was Chuks Aneke, who replaced Nesbitt in the Dons’ second change of the game.
Aneke made an immediate impact and seconds after kick-off he found himself with possession inside the area after bringing down Williams’ header. He lifted it over his marker but was beaten to the loose ball by McGee.
Soon after, Ariyibi delivered a teasing low cross into the area which was just begging for a Dons touch. Upson then fired wide a loose ball as the men from MK1 began to really threaten the hosts’ resistance.
Pompey, on the breakaway, had a great chance to extend their advantage and effectively seal the game in the 63rd-minute when Lowe picked out Bennett with a cross. Fortunately for the Dons, the wide man put his shot wide from six-yards out.
Neilson made his third and final chance with 66 minutes played, replacing Cisse, who had moved into defence, with Agard. HIs introduction came moments after the Dons caused havoc in the Pompey penalty area from an Upson free-kick - they weren’t, however, able to fashion a decent shooting opportunity.
A similar situation occurred in the 71st minute when Ebanks-Landell headed a free-kick down into the six-yard box. Both Sow and Agard went for the bouncing ball but neither player could turn it home.
The 580 travelling Dons supporters willed their team on as they continued to push forward in search of a goal to get them back into the game.
They were, however, unable to find a way past McGee and Pompey, which resulted in a second successive defeat for Neilson’s team. They will look to respond at home to Walsall on Tuesday.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Brittain (Williams 41), Ebanks-Landell, Wootton, Golbourne; Cisse (Agard 66); Ariyibi, Gilbey (c), Upson, Nesbitt (Aneke 46); Sow.
Unused subs: Sietsma, Lewington, Walsh, Seager.
Booked: Williams, Ebanks-Landell
Attendance: 17,608 (580 away)