MK Dons’ Sky Bet League One survival hopes are all-but-over after a 2-0 defeat to Bradford City at the Northern Commercials Stadium.
Timothee Dieng and Nathaniel Knight-Percival scored either side of half-time, in a game where the Keith Millen’s side dominated possession but were unable to find a way past Colin Doyle in the Bantams goal.
With only two games remaining, the Dons are six points adrift of safety in Sky Bet League One and with a much inferior goal difference compared to the teams above them.
Millen made two changes to the starting line-up with Josh Tymon and Scott Golbourne replacing Scott Wootton and Dean Lewington at the back. Callum Brittain moved back to a right wing-back position while George Williams moved inside of the back five.
The Dons started well with Chuks Aneke almost finding an on-rushing Tavernier inside the opening 90 seconds. Aneke later got into a shooting position but saw his effort blocked by a defender.
On seven minutes, they earned themselves a corner from Ed Upson’s free-kick. Aneke met Tavernier’s delivery but his header crashed against the crossbar - Upson then saw his follow-up effort saved by Colin Doyle.
Their offensive push continued and with 10 minutes on the clock, Tymon released Ike Ugbo with a well-played ball down the line. Ugbo raced into the box and picked out Aneke, who cut onto his left foot and saw his shot blocked by a sliding Bantam.
Bradford then offered their first threat with Alex Gilliead having an effort blocked before Wieger Sietsma watched Callum Guy’s deflected attempt whistle just past the left upright. From the resulting corner, Dieng put his side ahead, converting at the far post with a headed finish. 1-0.
The Dons responded well and their attacking mindset remained. They earned themselves a pair of corners in the 23rd minute but weren’t able to trouble Doyle in the Bradford goal.
Soon after, Tavernier sent in a free-kick which was headed behind for a corner - one which was punched clear by Doyle inside his six-yard box.
The Middlesbrough loanee then went close to what would have been a superb solo goal - after turning his man brilliantly inside the box, he directed a left-footed attempt just wide of the post.
It was Millen’s side who were dominating but Matthew Lund did go close to doubling City’s lead on 35 minutes with a curling shot which bent around the right post. Kai Bruenker then forced Sietsma into an acrobatic save from Charlie Wyke’s header down - the striker’s effort looked to be looping over the Dutchman, who managed to get a hand up in time to palm it over the bar.
The Dons returned to their dominant self as the first-half drew to a close but they weren’t able to muster a clear goalscoring opportunity before the whistle blew.
Aneke and Upson almost combined three minutes into the second period as the Dons looked to pull themselves level. Some fine individual play from Tymon then led to the Stoke City loanee forcing Doyle into a save to keep left-footed drive from the edge of the area.
Tavernier later set up Cisse, who sent a 25-yard attempt above the bar, before Bruenker wasted a good opportunity to extend City’s advantage - he lifted his shot over from six-yards out.
On the hour mark, Cisse delivered a cross for Aneke, who headed wide. Millen then made his first substitution, introducing Robbie Muirhead off the bench in place of Ugbo.
Brandon Thomas-Asante also joined the contest, replacing Brittain. A minute after his introduction, Upson flashed a right-footed effort wide, 20-yards from goal.
A goal would have been just rewards for their dominance but it was Bradford who would find that crucial second finish - defender Knight-Percival firing into an empty net after the Dons failed to deal with a ball into the area. 2-0.
Agard was brought on for the final five minutes but it was Bradford who threatened the scoresheet in the final stages.
The crossbar and a goal-line clearance from Upson prevented the hosts extending their lead from a McMahon free-kick while Sietsma watched an effort fall just wide of his right upright.
The Dons did see Aneke have a goal-bound effort blocked but that’s the closest they came. They live to fight another day but their survival hopes appear all but over.
Starting XI: Sietsma; Williams, Ward, Golbourne; Brittain (Thomas-Asante 75), Upson, Cisse, Tymon; Tavernier (Agard 85), Aneke, Ugbo (Muirhead 64).
Unused subs: Jones, Lewington, Wootton, Reo-Coker.
Referee: B Toner
Attendance: 19,192 (111 away)