10-man Notts County were beaten for the first time since the end of August this afternoon in a 3-0 loss at the hands of Milton Keynes Dons.
The game started badly for Notts, when Julian Kelly was sent off for a deliberate handball on the goal line. Shaun Williams fired towards the corner from the spot but Stuart Nelson once again saved from 12 yards.
On 11 minutes, the Magpies did go behind, as Angelo Balanta raced through on goal to finish exquisitely. Further chances followed for the Dons but County were able to weather the storm.
Notts came out after the break as the better team, and Jeff Hughes, Lee Hughes and substitute Sam Sodje all came close. But, two late goals from Clinton Morrison and Daniel Powell confirmed the end of the Magpies' undefeated streak.
Following an unbeaten September, the Magpies were looking to take their good form into October against the Dons. Karl Robinson's team hadn't been defeated at stadiummk in the league prior to kick-off, setting up an interesting clash between two sides in the top six.
Martin Allen was returning to his former club for the second time since taking over at Meadow Lane and made one change to the side that beat Rochdale the previous weekend. Cristian Montano took the place of Ben Burgess in the starting 11, as Notts lined up in a 4-3-2-1 formation, which saw Alan Judge and Montano playing off Lee Hughes in attack.
County came out of the traps early and Cristian Montano cut open the home midfield with a surging run through the centre. This gave Lee Hughes space to get a shot away, only he curled high and wide from just inside the box.
The hosts were given a huge boost on four minutes, when Kelly prevented a certain goal by palming away Dean Bowditch's finish on the goal line. The full back was shown a red card, following a signal from the assistant referee.
Williams found the net with a penalty in midweek against Charlton Athletic but he was unable to beat Nelson in the Notts goal. The ball was struck towards the bottom-right corner and Nelson pushed clear, much to the delight of the visiting fans behind his goal.
Jude Stirling was introduced at the expense of Alan Judge to fill the void left by Kelly and it looked set to be a tricky remaining 78 minutes for the 10-man Magpies. This was emphasised by a flurry of chances for MK Dons, from which they went in front.
Nelson saved well at the feet of Bowditch just before Balanta made it 1-0 to the hosts. The wideman timed his run to meet Morrison's lofted in behind the County defence and proceeded to lift over Nelson, who had rushed off his line.
Williams, eager to beat Nelson after having his penalty saved, also threatened with a low hit from range but the Magpies stopper stuck out an arm to prevent the midfielder from finding the bottom corner. Defender Gary Mackenzie later headed over from Williams' corner and midfielder Darren Potter saw his stunning strike held by Nelson.
As expected, Notts were forced to work hard to win possession back but they looked dangerous when given the chance to attack. As the game edged towards the break, Neal Bishop wrestled the ball from Luke Chadwick and almost caught out Dons goalkeeper David Martin with a hopeful lob.
Mackenzie was forced to cut out Alan Sheehan's dangerous centre that seemed certain to find Lee Hughes during two minutes of added time. Sheehan then fired ferociously past the top corner from 35 yards, meaning the Magpies went into the second period a goal down.
An early change saw Montano replaced by Karl Hawley and Notts came agonisingly close to levelling from the next move. Gavin Mahon's targeted free kick from was headed inches over by Jeff Hughes.
Despite being at a disadvantage, the Magpies frustrated MK Dons and regularly halted their attacks in midfield. Stirling caused problems with his long throws, Sheehan with his set-plays and Lee Hughes almost beat Martin with a bending effort from distance.
Nelson had to remain alert, because the Dons remained eager for a second, and they nearly got it when Mathias Kouo-Doumbe picked out Morrison with a weighted diagonal delivery. Morrison poked towards the corner but Nelson somehow reached to tip away, before saving at the feet of Chadwick.
Sam Sodje was introduced in attack on 67 minutes and he instantly combined with Lee Hughes to great effect. A quick, overhead one-two allowed Hughes to strike powerfully at goal, though Martin spectacularly denied him.
From the resulting corner, Krystian Pearce had a header cleared off the line. This was followed by an attempt at the other end, where Chadwick watched his low attempt roll past the foot of the post.
It was County that seemed the most likely to score next. Sodje had an overhead kick clutched by Martin and then he volleyed authoritatively over from 20 yards.
Morrison put to bed any hopes of a point on 82 minutes, as he placed home, following a low centre by Bowditch. Substitute winger Powell then made it 3-0 a minute later, when he cut inside from the left and rifled into the far corner.
Hawley almost pulled one back for Notts, after Sheehan found him with an opportunistic through-ball. Martin charged down the frontman's low strike, which proved to be the final noteworthy attempt of an eventful afternoon.
Attendance: 7,620 (909 away supporters)
Man of the Match: Stuart Nelson