MK Dons fell to only their second home defeat of the season as they were beaten 3-0 by a clinical Rotherham United at Stadium MK.
Michael Ihiekwe put the Millers ahead with their only shot on target in the first half before second-half goals from Dan Barlaser and substitute Freddie Ladapo – the former direct from a corner – sealed all three points for the visiting side.
As a result, Liam Manning’s men fell to seventh in the Sky Bet League One table. They travel to Crewe Alexandra next weekend but not before their final Papa John’s Trophy group tie against Aston Villa Under-21s.
MK Dons were forced into making one change from Tuesday’s win over Wigan Athletic, as Zak Jules replaced a suspended Daniel Harvie. Josh Martin, meanwhile, came into the squad as a result of Harvie missing out.
Rotherham crashed a shot against the crossbar just four minutes in – Michael Smith the man with the looping effort which bounced off the woodwork and away to safety.
There was then a stoppage in play while Peter Kioso received treatment following an aerial challenge. He picked himself up, though, and almost broke the deadlock with a right-footed shot which flew just past the post.
The visitors went close themselves on 13 minutes through Ben Wiles, whose 15-yard effort curled outside of Fisher’s left post. Rotherham then threatened again with first, a free-kick that was headed behind Warren O’Hora, and then a corner routine from which Kioso had to produce an important block. Wes Harding cleared the bar with a header from the corner that followed.
MK Dons responded with a quick break down the left but Jules, set away by Boateng, wasn’t able to pick out Mo Eisa with his low cross. Eisa did get onto an O’Riley pass shortly after but couldn’t fashion a shot inside the Millers box.
In the 26th-minute, Twine won a free-kick following some neat footwork on the edge of the Rotherham D. He, of course, took the set-piece and was a whisker away from finding the top left-hand corner with his attempt.
Rotherham went straight up the other end and won a free-kick of their own and, from it, they took the lead - Ihiewke connecting with Dan Barlaser’s ball in and sending a looping header over Fisher and into the net. 0-1.
A poor touch from Smith prevented him from having the opportunity to double Rotherham’s lead, after latching onto a loose ball deep inside the MK Dons half. Moments later, Twine worked himself into the Millers area but wasn’t able to create a shooting opportunity for himself, nor find the on-rushing Boateng.
David Kasumu went agonisingly close to levelling the scores with a stunning 20-yard volley which deflected just over Josh Vickers’ crossbar. At the other end, Chiedozie Ogbene failed to hit the target when well placed inside the Dons box, not long before Smith headed wide from a left-wing cross.
Five minutes of first-half stoppage time were awarded and in the final one of those, the Dons should have drawn level but, from a Matt O’Riley free-kick, neither Darling nor Jules were able to get their headers on target.
Half-Time – MK Dons 0-1 Rotherham United.
MK Dons were almost punished for a loose backpass minutes into second half but Fisher was quick off his line to smother at the feet of Smith. Fisher was also called into action early in the period to punch clear an in-swinging corner.
Twine had the Dons’ first effort of the second half with 11 minutes played – another free-kick opportunity from which he was denied by Vickers.
Manning then made his first change of the game, replacing Jules with Tennai Watson out wide. Parrott followed off the bench soon after as he took Boateng’s spot in attack.
The task, though, was made all the more tougher just a minute later as Rotherham doubled their lead direct from a corner – Barlaser’s in-swinging delivery making its way through the crowd untouched and into Fisher’s far corner. 0-2.
Fisher prevented Wes Harding from putting the game beyond doubt with a 68th-minute third, producing a smart one-on-one save low down to his left. He could do nothing, however, to stop Ladapo adding a third with 18 minutes to play – his deflected strike wrong-footed the goalkeeper to get rid of any hope of a late Dons comeback. 0-3.
Deflated with the game beyond doubt, and against a buoyant visiting side, the Dons struggled to create much in the way of clear-cut chances in the final exchanges.
Parrott did have an opening from Twine’s cross but opted to pass when a shot was much the better option. He later did go for goal but saw his attempt blocked by a defender.
Vickers was forced into a save by O’Riley with four minutes to play - that, however, proved to be all she wrote.
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, Jules (Watson 60), O’Hora, Darling, O’Riley, Kasumu, Twine, Eisa, Boateng (Parrott 64), Kioso.
Subs: Ravizzoli, Martin, Baldwin, McEachran, Watters.
Rotherham United: Vickers, Harding, Barlaser (Odoffin 82), Wiles, Grigg (Ladapo 63), Ogbene, Ferguson (Miller 71), Rathbone, Ihiekwe, Edmonds-Green, Smith.
Subs: Johansson, Wood, Sadlier, Kayode.
Goals: Ihiewke (28), Barlaser (66), Ladapo (72)
Referee: C Sarginson
Attendance: 8,448 (1,242 away)