MK Dons suffered a 4-1 home defeat by Bradford City, with their hopes hit by a red card in the opening five minutes.
The Dons’ hopes were hit when Aaron Tshibola was shown a red card inside the early stages after hauling down Jake Reeves. Things then got worse, as Romain Vincelot and Charlie Wyke struck early goals for the visitors.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell got the home side back into the contest with a goal in first half added time. The Dons had shown some promise, but conceded twice in the final 20 minutes, with Wyke grabbing a second and substitute Paul Taylor adding to the visitor’s margin.
The result sees Bradford continue to be a bogey team for the Dons, with the Bantams making it 4 league wins at stadium:mk in a row, and the Dons are left to reflect on what might’ve been after the early dismissal.
After an unbeaten run of 5 games in all competitions, the Dons were hopeful to take a big scalp and continue their run. Visiting stadium:mk were a Bradford City side who arrived unbeaten away from home, and 3rd in the League One table.
But the Dons ended up with the early backwards step of a red card. After having his pocket picked by Reeves, Tshibola responded by dragging down the Bradford midfielder on the edge of the box. While the referee chose to give a free-kick instead of a penalty, the official still deemed it worthy of dismissal and the Aston Villa loanee’s game was over.
Bradford responded by applying pressure on the MK Dons goal, with the initial free-kick deflected wide and the visitors racking up corners. Eventually, one paid off, as visiting skipper Vincelot rose highest to a corner and headed in despite Lee Nicholls getting a hand to it.
The home side did foray forward shortly after, with Kieran Agard just unable to reach Sow’s cut-back and Gboly Ariyibi firing over. But the visitors continued to look menacing and had a second before the 20 minute mark as Charlie Wyke advanced and saw his shot from just outside the area deflected beyond the keeper.
Most of the rest of the half was played in the MK Dons’ half, with the home side mainly spending their time looking to limit the visitor’s attacks. Concrete chances saw Alex Gilliead have a shot blocked moments before his pull-back cued up Dominic Poleon, who shot straight at the keeper.
A more difficult effort saw a quick corner tee up Tony McMahon, who saw a drive tipped over by the keeper. The Dons then almost made the most of a rare trip to the opposite box, as Agard’s header was denied by Colin Doyle.
The effort of Ebanks-Landell bought MK Dons back into the contest in first half stoppage time. The loan defender’s run then saw his shot deflected wide, and from the consequent corner, the centre-back headed in Ed Upson’s corner.
MK Dons introduced Chuks Aneke as a half-time substitute and the attacking midfielder showed signs of early menace in the first attack of the second half.
The game’s momentum was somewhat beset by erratic decision by the referee, but as the second half continued, the visitors continued to apply pressure, even if they were mainly limited to long range efforts. Particularly keen on trying his luck was Reeves, who saw two efforts repelled by Nicholls during the second period.
The home sides were providing hints of getting back into the contest but were finding it hard to create opportunities and Bradford were still probing themselves. It was the visitors who would find the game’s 4th goal as the match entered the final 20 minutes.
The Dons were guilty of switching off at a free-kick as they appealed in vain for offside, with Matty Kilgallon allowed to advance and roll the ball for Wyke to tap in.
This was the cue for MK Dons to respond with some attacking work, with 3 chances in quick succession repelled by excellent goalkeeping from Doyle. The Irish keeper was on hand to thwart Osman Sow’s low shot, then doing as well to tip away Aneke’s header, and then performed great work again to keep out Upson.
But Bradford began to probe afterwards, and picked up a fourth goal in the final ten minutes as substitute Taylor was ruled onside before advancing and scoring, much to the disgust of home fans and players, with the referee ignoring their protests.
That bought to an end the scoring on a miserable afternoon for the hosts, who drop a couple of places in the table to 13th at the end of their recent unbeaten run.
MK Dons: Nicholls – Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Wootton, Lewington – Upson – Agard (Aneke 45), Tshibola, Gilbey, Ariyibi (Muirhead 87) – Sow (Nesbitt 78)
Subs not used: Sietsma, Walsh, Seager, McGrandles, Nesbitt
Goal: Ebanks-Landell (45+1)
Sent Off: Tshibola (5)
Booked: Gilbey, Aneke, Upson, Lewington
Bradford: Doyle – McMahon (Hendrie 62), Knight-Percival, Kilgallon, Chicksen – Reeves, Vincelot – Gilliead, Law, Poleon (Taylor 78) – Wyke (Jones 87)
Subs not used: Raeder, Dieng, Field, Patrick
Goals: Vincelot (11), Wyke (18, 71), Taylor (83)
Booked: Knight-Percival, Kilgallon