MK Dons Under-18s were beaten 5-3 to Luton Town at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday morning.
In a game full of twists and turns, the Dons went two down but took the lead with three goals in a 20-minute spell.
The home side’s advantage only lasted a minute, however, before the visitors re-took the lead and re-established a two goal margin in stoppage time.
There was one change from the Dons’ loss at home to Barnet last week as Harry Riley came into the starting XI.
The Dons created the first opening in the 20th minute when, after good play on the edge of the box, the ball was squared to Jamie Robinson who miscued his effort allowing the Luton keeper to save it comfortably.
A couple of minutes later, the Dons survived a scare when a curling effort from the edge of the box smacked off the crossbar.
It proved a short lived reprieve as Luton took the lead in the 27th minute when the ball was back-heeled to a runner on the right-hand side of the field whose cross was tapped in from close range. 0-1.
Dons keeper Tom Carter impressively tipped a rising drive over the bar as Luton continued to threaten.
The Bedfordshire side then doubled their lead in the 37th minute when a whipped cross in from the right was finished from close range. 0-2.
Just moments after the goal, the Dons got a foothold into the contest as they were awarded a penalty for a foul inside the box. Captain John Freeman stepped up to take the penalty and put the spot-kick into the right-hand side of the goal as the Luton keeper dived to the left. 1-2.
Just after the restart, the Dons levelled from a corner as the ball was played in from the right and headed towards goal, before Jamal Sule bundled into the net from close range. 2-2.
The hosts completed the turning in the 54th minute as Robinson’s cross from the right was buried from close range at the second attempt by the trialist. 3-2.
MK Dons advantage only lasted a minute as Luton levelled with an impressive curling shot from the left edge of the box which flew into the right-hand corner of the net. 3-3.
The Hatters almost re-took the lead from a set piece as a ball in was misjudged by the Dons before it fell to a Luton player whose shot hit the post and went away to safety.
It was another short lived reprieve as, with a quarter of an hour to play of an entertaining fixture, Luton edged in front when a cross from the right was finished from 10-yards-out. 3-4.
The hosts thought they were level a couple of minutes later as a free-kick into the box from the right came to Dons sub James Holmes who converted the ball into the net from what was judged an offside position – cutting the Dons celebrations short.
Luton sealed the win in stoppage time in slightly fortunate circumstances as a shot from the edge of the area deflected off a Dons player, wrong-footed the keeper and nestled in the net. 3-5.
Speaking after the match, Izale McLeod, who took temporary charge of the Under-18s for the game in Jon Goodman’s absence, said: “Before the match I asked the boys to leave everything out on the pitch and they did – they worked their socks off and I am really proud of them for that.
“We played some good football and I think 5-3 is a harsh scoreline. We had a goal disallowed and although we had one penalty, we had a second which was given as a free-kick outside the box but was blatantly a penalty.
“You would have forgiven the players for falling apart when we went two down but we got a penalty to stay in the game and then took the lead after half-time but unfortunately we couldn’t hold on.”
He continued: “The focus is on trying to improve the players in all areas rather than any one aspect of a performance so we will come in on Monday fresh and start getting ready for next week’s game.
“I’m enjoying my second season of coaching at a club that I love and where my heart is.”
Starting XI: Carter, Sule, Black, Freeman (c), Riley, Leach, Robinson, Crane (Jallow 61), Deall (Smith 73), Bailey, Johnson (Holmes 61)
Unused subs: Mumford, Matsuazi.
Goals: Freeman (pen 37), Sule 48, Johnson 54.