A stoppage-time goal from Daniel Batty saw MK Dons beaten 2-1 by Fleetwood Town at Stadium MK.
After a goalless first-half, the Dons took the lead through Warren O’Hora’s acrobatic finish but goals from Carl Johnston and substitute Batty saw the visitors snatch all three points.
Manning made one change from last weekend's draw at home to Burton Albion, with Louie Barry replacing an injured Darragh Burns. Matthew Dennis took the available space on the substitutes bench with captain Dean Lewington still sidelined through injury.
Fleetwood had the first shot of the game with two minutes played - a 20-yard attempt from Carlos Mendes Gomes which sailed harmlessly over Jamie Cumming’s goal.
A few minutes later, Callum Morton tried his luck after cutting in from the left flank but he saw his effort deflect wide off Jack Tucker. The Dons then worked their first real attack and had a shout for a penalty waved away despite Mo Eisa being blocked off inside the area.
Nathan Holland registered the Dons’ first shot with 12 minutes played, however his 18-yard try was blocked on its way through to goal. He also had their next shot shortly after – this one was diverted over the crossbar by the outstretched leg of Aristote Nsiala.
Nothing came of the resulting corner, although Daniel Harvie was close to getting his head to the ball in decent range after Tucker met Dawson Devoy’s deep delivery to the far post.
With 25 minutes played, the Dons won possession on half-way and that provided an opportunity for Barry to drive forward. After collecting Conor Grant’s pass, Barry took the ball into the box but wasn’t able to find the target with his right-footed strike.
Manning’s men threatened again just before the half-hour when Warren O’Hora set Holland away down the left. He got past his man and tried his luck on goal – from a tight-angle, though, his effort was saved by Jay Lynch.
Grant was the next to go close, looping a header over the crossbar after Tennai Watson’s cross to Eisa was lifted up into the air by a Fleetwood defender.
Holland then went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock for the Dons but, after collecting Grant’s cutback, his 15-yard try grazed the woodwork on its way wide. The winger was looking the most likely to open the scoring and he had another go a few minutes later – this attempt, too, was off target.
That proved to be the final opportunity either side had at scoring in the first-half. Eisa tried to pick out Barry in an attempt to find a goal early in the second but his cross-field pass ran away from his teammate and out of play.
Shortly after, Barry robbed Lewis Warrington of the ball deep inside his own penalty area but the touch to tackle the Fleetwood man proved too heavy and prevented the winger from gaining possession.
Barry then won his side a corner and from it, they took the lead. McEachran’s cross was headed into the mix by Tucker and, after Fleetwood failed to deal with it, O’Hora managed to turn home, in acrobatic fashion, from close range. 1-0.
The Dons, buoyed by their goal, went on the attack again in search of a second. Holland, after skipping away from his man down the left, almost created a chance for Eisa but the Fleetwood defence did well to prevent the MK Dons number 10 from being able to get a shot away.
Fleetwood did have the ball in the net with 58 minutes on the clock but the linesman’s flag was quickly up for offside to deny them, even before the shot came in.
Holland almost had the ball in the opposite net soon after but he was denied by the feet of Lynch after doing brilliantly to beat his man, Nsiala, with a dribble inside the box.
Bradley Johnson replaced Grant on the hour as Manning made his first change of the game. Manning’s side almost doubled their lead three minutes later but Lynch kept out Barry’s fierce strike with a terrific diving save – Harvie, on the rebound, miss-hit his effort into the arms of the Fleetwood goalkeeper.
Barry threatened again with the Dons’ next chance however, after skipping past a challenge inside the area, he wasn’t able to get over the shot and it flew away and above the target.
There was an off-the-ball incident involving Lynch and Watson with 69 minutes gone, which resulted in both players earning themselves a yellow card. The Dons wanted more in the way of punishment for Lynch, to no avail.
Fleetwood, who remained at 11 men, responded by levelling the scores through Johnston, who found room on the left side of the penalty area and was then able to beat Cumming with a curling shot. 1-1.
Watson tried his luck as MK Dons went about restoring their lead, though his attempt from 20 yards was blocked. Manning then went to his bench to introduce Matthew Dennis and Henry Lawrence, with Barry and Eisa making way.
At the other end, Mendes Gomes blazed over for the visitors with a shot from the edge of the area. The Dons bounced back with Watson delivering a dangerous ball across goal – one which, unfortunately, went through untouched.
From the opposite flank, Holland delivered a teasing cross which looked to be landing on the head of Johnson until a last-ditch clearance from Johnston denied the MK Dons midfielder a chance on goal.
Will Grigg and Ethan Robson came on for the final four minutes as Manning made his final two substitutions. The Dons’ earlier arrival, Dennis had their next chance on 87 minutes, heading into the hands of Lynch from Watson’s cross.
Those missed opportunities proved costly for the Dons, who saw their visitors snatch the lead in the final minute of regulation time courtesy of substitute Batty, who rifled past Cumming after collecting a ball on the edge of the D. 1-2.
Nine minutes of stoppage time were awarded for the Dons to salvage something from the game. They won a corner in the third of those minutes but weren’t able to make the set piece count.
Lawrence had a deflected shot saved by Lynch as Manning’s men came forward again with four minutes to play. That was the closest they came, though, to preventing a 13th league defeat of the campaign.
MK Dons: Cumming, Watson, Tucker, O’Hora, McEachran (Robson 87), Eisa (Dennis 78), Holland, Grant (Johnson 61), Barry (Lawrence 78), Harvie, Devoy (Grigg 86).
Subs: Ravizzoli, Jules.
Goal: O’Hora 52
Fleetwood Town: Lynch, Mendes Gomes (J Garner 87), Vela, Morton, Warrington, Holgate (Wiredu 57), G Garner (Hayes 57), Omochere (Batty 73), Nsiala, Rooney, Johnston (Andrew 87).
Subs: Stolarczyk, Baggley.
Goals: Johnston 72, Batty 90+1
Referee: M Coy
Attendance: 5,672 (126 away)