MK Dons were beaten 2-1 at the Wham Stadium as Accrington Stanley came from behind to secure the points.
Kieran Agard put the Dons ahead with his first goal of the season but second-half goals from Colby Bishop and Mark Hughes saw the Lancashire outfit come out on top. Paul Tisdale's men did have a goal disallowed for a debatable offside in stoppage time.
Boss Tisdale made five changes from the Carabao Cup tie in midweek, with Lee Nicholls, George Williams, Baily Cargill, Hiram Boateng and Ryan Harley all coming into the starting XI. There was also a place amongst the substitutes for Conor McGrandles, who had missed the last two matches with a knock.
The hosts had an early sniff at an opportunity when Dion Charles raced onto Colby Bishop’s flick-on. Joe Walsh got back to clear and from the resulting corner, Ross Sykes headed over.
Rhys Healey then had his first sighter at the other end, creating the opportunity for himself with a run inside from the left. However, his strike was blocked by a Stanley defender. Kieran Agard also had a half-chance inside the opening six minutes from a lofted forward pass, but he was unable to bring the ball down, deep inside the area.
At the other end, Stanley threatened again down the left – fortunately, though, Walsh was able to get to the low delivery and stab clear. Cargill then got himself in the way of Jordan Clark’s effort, as the hosts remained on the front foot.
The Dons saw off another attack on 10 minutes which led to a chance for Healey on the counter. He tried an ambitious long-range attempt which flew harmlessly over the Stanley goal.
Walsh denied the home side again as he raced back to prevent Clark from the pulling the trigger. Bishop header over at the far post from the corner which came from it.
Despite their slow start, it was the Dons who opened the scoring 18 minutes in. Healey listened to a shout of ‘time’ as he brought down the ball on his chest midway inside the Stanley half. He then lifted a pass over the top of the defence for Agard, who got goal-side of his man, took a touch and then fired a low shot under Dimitar Evtimov for his first of the season. 0-1.
It took some quick reactions from Evtimov to prevent Healey getting in from another through ball on 22 minutes. The Dons recycled possession and Healey came within an inch of connecting with a cross from Boateng.
Agard then went close with a pop shot from the edge of the box which was deflected just wide of Evtimov’s right-hand upright. Minutes later, Boateng sent a curling shot over from 30-yards after pouncing on a loose ball.
Just as it looked as though Dons were wrestling control of the contest, Stanley threatened an equaliser as Joe Pritchard struck the crossbar with a fierce strike from the edge of the box.
Charles then saw a long-range effort deflect over off the back of Walsh before curling one over without the need of a Dons touch moments later.
With three minutes to play, Sam Finley dragged a long-range drive wide as Stanley went in search of a goal that their first-half performance arguably deserved. The Dons, though, were able to take their advantage into the break.
They went about doubling their lead early in the second half as Brittain produced a save out of Evtimov within a minute of the re-start. At the other end, Gilbey was alert to clear away a low cross from Pritchard.
Stanley, however, eventually drew level with 51 minutes on the clock. Clark found a pocket of space on the edge of the box and while his attempt struck the far post, Bishop was on hand to tap in the rebound and level the scores. 1-1.
The Dons almost responded instantly from a Boateng cross but Healey’s diving header fell wide of the post. Healey then got to the byline and lifted a ball in for Agard but Evtimov gathered inside his six-yard box.
Tisdale made his first substitution 58 minutes in, replacing Gilbey with Jordan Bowery. His side, though, found themselves behind a minute later as Hughes came up from the back to head past Nicholls following a deep cross from the left. 2-1.
Things looked as though they were heading from bad to worse, as the hosts were awarded a penalty for a foul on Clark inside the area. Nicholls, though, produced between the sticks, diving to his left to keep out Bishop’s effort.
Sam Nombe, who scored his first senior goal in the Carabao Cup win over Southend United in midweek, soon came off the bench. He watched on from up to as Pritchard struck the crossbar and Clark curled marginally over.
Nombe almost got involved on 74 minutes but Cargill’s chipped across was above his head. He was then joined on the pitch by McGrandles, who replaced Harley with Tisdale’s final change.
With eight minutes to play, Boateng whipped a ball in from the left but it was smothered by Evtimov. Bowery almost poked home at the near post from Brittain’s ball but put wide.
Walsh wrestled free from a corner in the final minute of regulation time but saw his sight of goal blocked by two defenders. At the other end, Nicholls prevented Stanley extending their lead with a diving save at his near post.
Five minutes of additional time were awarded and in the first of those, the Dons thought they were level through Healey but a late, late flag from the linesman saw the effort chalked off.
Williams had a header saved in the fifth minute of stoppage while the Dons had a late free-kick which they weren't able to capitalise on. Defeat then, for Tisdale's men, who visit Stevenage in the Leasing.com Trophy next.
Starting XI: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington (c), Walsh, Cargill, Gilbey (Bowery 58), Healey, Agard (Nombe 65), Brittain, Boateng, Harley (McGrandles 75).
Unused subs: Moore, Poole, Martin, Houghton.
Goal: Agard (18)
Booked: Gilbey, Harley, Lewington, Nombe
Attendance: 2,218 (318 away)