MK Dons suffered a first defeat in six games as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to play-off chasers Scunthorpe United.
Ivan Toney scored the only goal just before the half-hour of a largely quiet game at stadium:mk. The Dons had possession, but they couldn’t create many opportunities to take a share of the points from the encounter.
As a result, Robbie Neilson’s side duly sustained a first reverse since losing to AFC Wimbledon a month ago.
While the Dons had a frustrating conclusion away at Swindon last time out by conceding a late equaliser, they still entered the Good Friday clash unbeaten in one month. Neilson’s team were looking to maintain a top half spot that they had picked up in that period, but were in for a tricky test against a Scunthorpe side in the top 6 and still with an outside chance of catching second place Bolton.
The Dons’ teamsheet contained the inclusions of Giorgio Rasulo and Callum Brittain, with both making their first league starts of the season. In the early stages, the Dons accumulated some good time on the ball, but found themselves frustrated when trying to break through on goal.
The only test in the early stages for visiting keeper Joe Anyon came from an acrobatic attempt by Ed Upson, but the keeper made a fairly straight-forward stop.
Scunthorpe began to show some more adventure as the game progressed. A decent move released Toney, but the striker on loan from Newcastle fired wide.
The visiting forward was more accurate with his next chance, as he met Josh Morris’ corner and headed in, despite Lee Nicholls getting a hand to it.
MK Dons did have a fair quantity of the ball afterwards as they looked for a first half leveller. But the closest they got was an effort from range by O’Keefe, which floated away from the target.
The first half was a fairly chance-free affair overall, with Scunthorpe’s best chance of a second before the break coming from a free-kick routine that ultimately wouldn’t have counted due to an offside against Paddy Madden.
MK Dons showed some more verve after half-time. Harvey Barnes had the first chance when he saw a drive saved by Anyon.
Stuart O’Keefe then had two attempts. His first saw him played through by Rasulo, but unable to control the ball when put under pressure by a Scunthorpe defender and scuff the ball. He was able to hit his next chance with more precision, as he received Barnes’ knockdown from Robbie Muirhead’s cross but hit the side-netting.
Robbie Neilson bought on Ben Reeves and Kieran Agard to try and bring the home side back into proceedings. But despite having a large quantity of the ball and the game’s forward play, they were finding it hard to break through the Scunthorpe defence and test Anyon.
The visitors could’ve pulled further ahead, with Madden intercepting a loose pass but unable to put his shot between the posts when clean through.
Most of the Dons’ forward play came down their left flank, with Dean Lewington whipping in crosses with a fair regularity that Anyon got to first. A decent chance then came for Barnes, whose low shot was denied by Anyon’s leg, while handball appeals as Scunthope scrambled to clear fell on deaf ears.
But there was no way through for the Dons, and Scunthorpe ultimately rode out to take the points. Results elsewhere means the Dons remain 12th, with a ten point gap on the bottom 4 and a 15 point deficit on the play-offs.
MK Dons: Nicholls – Baldock, Walsh, Williams, Lewington – Upson, Rasulo (Agard 65), O’Keefe – Brittain (Reeves 57), Muirhead (Thomas-Asante 78), Barnes
Subs not used: Martin, Potter, Downing, Tilney
Scunthorpe: Anyon – Wiseman, Wallace, Mirfin, Townsend – Dawson, Bishop, Ness, Morris – Madden (Mantom 86), Toney (Davies 70)
Subs not used: Watson, van Veen, Toffolo, Mantom, Holmes, Sutton
Goal: Toney (29)