MK Dons suffered back-to-back home defeats as they lost 1-0 at home to a previously winless Southend United.
Southend struck in the early stages when Charlie Kelman put a low effort in after two previous attempts on goal had been blocked.
MK Dons had plenty of the ball after the break, but couldn’t turn their pressure into anything tangible, as Southend held out to claim their first three points of the new season.
The second of three straight home matches saw the Dons host a Southend side who had yet to win a League One game in the new campaign. Ahead of the midweek Carabao Cup tie against Liverpool, the Dons were looking to bounce back to winning ways after the midweek loss to Ipswich.
But the Shimpers would spring an early surprise on Paul Tisdale’s side. After Southend worked the ball forward, they had two efforts blocked by covering moves by Dons’ defenders Russel Martin and Joe Walsh, only for the onrushing Kelman to tap it past Lee Nicholls.
Southend could’ve made it 2-0 very shortly after, as a poor MK Dons pass was intercepted only for Brandon Goodship to fire it wide.
The Dons’ best opportunity of the early moments came just after, as a low Jordan Houghton free-kick was tipped wide by away keeper Mark Oxley.
The home side were beginning to show some forward momentum, with Sam Nombe almost getting lucky after blocking a clearance, and Conor McGrandles having a decent try blocked by Elvis Bwomono.
But Southend rode that out and could’ve got a second later in the first half. After Simon McLaughlin and Goodship got in each other’s way, a try from range by Simon Cox was well saved by Nicholls before Goodship blasted the rebound into the stands.
The Dons introduced Kieran Agard at the break as an attempt to introduce some attacking impetus. The players responded with some pressure early in the second half, with half-chances, blocked crosses and other set-pieces.
The closest they got in the opening moments of the second period fell to Agard, as he had a first-time shot from Callum Brittain’s cross saved by Oxley.
Southend still continued to block MK Dons’ crosses, and could have hit the Dons on the break. A foul by David Kasumu gave Southend a free-kick, and Isaac Hutchinson’s curled delivery had to be tipped wide by Nicholls.
Nicholls was also called upon to deny Kelman after space opened up for the Southend goalscorer.
MK Dons won a corner and came close as David Kasumu’s bolt was blocked. But Southend then had space to counter, and saw Hutchinson fire wide at the end of the move.
The home side continued to try and probe to find a way through, with Agard, Nombe and Brittain all seeing attempts blocked by Southend defenders.
An angled cross by David Kasumu also just bounced over, while Conor McGrandles saw a free-kick go straight to Oxley when a touch may’ve taken it beyond the Southend keeper.
Kasumu then saw a strike from range saved by Oxley, before substitute Brennan Dickenson had a shot saved after an impressive run from Alex Gilbey set him up.
Southend then had two chances to finish the contest, as Cox struck a post before Hutchinson’s effort was blocked by Russell Martin.
Agard and Joe Walsh came close as the game moved into five added minutes, which were extended and saw the Dons finish the game against 10 after John White was taken off injured. But the Dons couldn’t breakthrough and were consigned to defeat.
MK Dons: Nicholls – Poole, Martin, Walsh – Brittain, Kasumu, McGrandles, Houghton (Agard 45), Boateng (Gilbey 78), Lewington (Dickenson 64) – Nombe
Subs not used: Moore, Williams, Bowery, Harley
Southend: Oxley – Bwomono, Kieranan, Lennon, Ralph – Hamilton (Hyam 65), Milligan, Kelman, McLaughlin (Hutchinson 45) – Cox, Goodship (White 69)
Subs not used: Bishop, Nudkwu, Shaughnessy, Blackman
Goal: Kelman (3)
Booked: McLaughlin, Hamilton, Lennon, Cox, Milligan