MK Dons were beaten at home by Charlton Athletic, as the South Londoners ground out a 1-0 win.
Liam Millar would fire Charlton in front. Despite have lots of the ball, MK Dons struggled to make chances as Charlton ultimately ground out three points on a cold night at stadium mk and the Dons suffered a first home defeat in the league since late November.
A week on from beating Fleetwood at stadium mk in their last outing, Russell Martin welcomed some new faces into his side, with new recruits Harry Darling and Matt O’Riley going straight in. The squad also featured a return for Louis Thompson after injury, although Russell Martin would have to watch from the stands as he served a touchline ban.
Charlton arrived in the top 6 at the start of play, and it was they who would have the first chance of note. A strike by new signing Jayden Stockley after MK Dons lost possession would be beaten away by Andy Fisher.
MK Dons were finding it a challenge to break through Charlton’s defence, despite a few good moves down their flanks.
As the early stages continued, Charlton began to press the Dons more and were getting into dangerous positions. But it failed to yield major chances until they landed an early breakthrough.
Connor Washington was able to get into space on the Charlton right before firing in a cross. While it failed to land for more centrally located teammates, it did fall for Millar, who was able to control the ball and fire past Fisher.
The Dons nearly grabbed a quickfire equaliser, as new signing O’Riley picked up the ball on the edge of the box and saw a shot deflected wide.
O’Riley would then see another strike blazed over before a great chance came at a corner, which saw Joe Mason’s header bounce off the post.
A further effort from O’Riley would cannon away via a deflection off a home player, but the first half largely ended up as a stalemate and a physical battle.
MK Dons would have a few chances late in the first half, with Warren O’Hora seeing a header kept out by Amos and Ben Gladwin thumping one wide from distance, but they couldn’t get a first half equaliser.
The home side had started the second half brightly enough with a few set-pieces, but it was Charlton who would have the first full opportunity, as one time MK Dons loanee Jake Forster-Caskey saw a free-kick go over.
Fisher then had to be out quickly to put off Millar after Charlton’s scorer was played through.
For the most part, the Dons would enjoy a good quantity of possession, but it would continue to be a challenge to break down the visiting defensive line.
MK Dons threw on Louis Thompson for his first appearance since mid-November, while the visitors would then introduce a familiar face, as Chuks Aneke arrived for this first appearance at stadium mk since leaving in 2019.
Gladwin would have a chance for the home side, when his low free-kick just crept wide of the mark. Another Gladwin free-kick would also lead to a chance, as his lofted delivery found O’Hora, who just saw a header bounce off the top of the bar.
The Dons made a triple substitution, with Matty Sorinola’s first act after coming off the bench seeing his shot narrowly deflected over the top.
Two of the subs nearly combined in the final stages, as Regan Poole was found by Sorinola but just couldn’t turn his shot on target, as the game seeped away for MK Dons and they were to end as the night’s losing side.
MK Dons: Fisher – O’Hora, Darling, Lewington – Laird (Sorinola 81), Gladwin (Brown 81), O’Riley (Thompson 64), Fraser, Harvie (Poole 81) – Mason, Jerome
Subs: Nicholls, Sorensen, Johnson
Booked: O’Riley, Thompson
Charlton: Amos – Matthews, Gunter, Oshilaja, Purrington – Shinnie (Morhan 68), Forster-Caskey, Pratley, Millar (Pearce 90) – Washington (Schwartz 50), Stockley (Aneke 68)
Subs: Maynard-Brewer, Pearce, Williams, Watson
Goal: Millar (18)