MK Dons Under-18s suffered an unfortunate defeat to Peterborough United after a dramatic conclusion to their Youth Alliance League fixture at Woughton-on-the-Green.
After the visitors took a first half lead the Dons levelled with 15 minutes to go through half-time substitute Oliver Bishop.
Posh grabbed what they thought was the winning goal in the last minute of normal time although that looked set to change in stoppage time when the Dons were awarded a penalty.
The spot-kick by Dons skipper John Freeman was saved and the side from Cambridgeshire came away with the victory.
Peterborough took the lead midway through the first half when a cross was curled in from the right hand side and tapped home from close range. 0-1.
The hosts struggled to create any clear chances until a set piece in the 37th minute as a free-kick from the right passed through the box without a touch and went just wide of the far post.
The match proved equally competitive in the second half and just after the hour mark another good chance came the Dons way when sub Oliver Bishop drove into the box and hit a right-footed shot just wide of goal.
In a match played in wet and overcast conditions, the Dons levelled in scrappy fashion in the 75th minute when a cross from the right was scrambled in from close range by Bishop. 1-1.
Dons keeper Tom Carter produced an impressive double save with five minutes to go to keep parity as he parried away successive efforts from distance within the same passage of play.
Posh kept the ball alive after the second save but this time the shot went just wide of the post.
As the game became increasingly stretched it looked as though a dramatic finish could be in store and the action started in the last minute of normal time when after a driving run into the box a Posh player hit a shot into the top left hand corner. 1-2.
The Dons had a golden chance to level the match in stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty kick – something that seems to be a regular occurrence this season.
Dons skipper John Freeman stepped up and hit the penalty low towards the left hand side of the goal but Peterborough keeper Josh Allen guessed the right way and parried the ball away.
There was no time for another attack as the final whistle was blown immediately after the penalty save, leaving the under-18s saddened at the result but full of pride at a performance that deserved much more.
Speaking after the match assistant academy manager Izale McLeod said: “I am gutted for the boys – they did not deserve to lose.
"I thought we played very well. We started a bit slowly in the first half but in the second we were the better team.
“We got a deserved equaliser but although they scored again late on we got an even later penalty. Sadly John Freeman did not score, but that is football.
"It has been a tough old season for the Under-18s. The result today is a particularly tough one to take but I am seeing signs of progress. We work with the boys daily and I am seeing that they are taking on board what we want them to do.
“I hope they won’t get too down about today and learn from it. We will have to evaluate this game, dust ourselves down, watch the footage and go from there.”
MK Dons: Carter, Crane, Black, Freeman (c), Sule, Leach, Robinson (Wangusi 79), Rowley (Jallow 75), Holmes, Bailey (Bishop 46), Deall.
Subs: Sandford, Smith.
Goal: Bishop (75).