Hartlepool United became record breakers for all the wrong reasons as they fell to a club record 21 games without a win.
Report from Stadium MK
This Hartlepool United team is now officially the worst in the club’s 104-year history after recording their 21st successive game without a win.
John Hughes kept faith with the same side that lost against Stevenage last weekend as his side arrived at MK Dons.
The hosts dominated the opening 45 with Pools rarely able to venture out of their half with the ball. After early chances for Luke Chadwick and Dean Bowditch, the hosts did find the opener in dubious fashion with 15 minutes on the clock.
A lofted ball from Darren Potter found Ryan Lowe in what looked to be a clear offside position but the official’s flag remained firmly down as Lowe picked his spot and planted the ball past Scott Flinders.
Half of the sparse home crowd thought the Dons were two ahead when Dean Lewington’s free kick curled over Pools’ wall and beat Flinders, only to land in the side netting.
Angelo Balanta also tested Flinders while Jonathan Frank’s half-hearted attempt at a lob was the only chance of the half for Pools.
In classic lower league fashion referee Roger East looked to atone for his incorrect decision surrounding the opening goal by chalking off a perfectly legitimate header from the Dons’ Shaun Williams as the game approached half time.
A much improved Hartlepool side came out for the second half but still created few chances.
At the other end Hughes’ policy of passing the ball out from the back at every opportunity caused as many problems as it did good as sloppy passing gifted chances to MK on several occasions.
The home side’s lead should have been doubled when a ball whipped across from the right just eluded the MK Dons attack with several more long range efforts forcing saves from Flinders soon after.
Most of Hartlepool’s attacking outlets – Jonathan Franks, Andy Monkhouse, Steve Howard and later James Poole – were largely anonymous for much of the game while loanee Charlie Wyke worked hard but had little to feed on all afternoon.
MK should have sealed the win late in the game when Darren Potter’s strike rattled the crossbar but it proved to be a simple win for the Dons in a game where Hartlepool never made them get above third gear.
FT MK Dons 1 Hartlepool 0
Hartlepool: Flinders, Richards, Collins, Baldwin, Horwood (Holden 4), Franks (Poole 70), Sweeney, Humphreys, Monkhouse, Wyke (Rutherford 81), Howard
Subs not used: McHugh, Johnson, Boagey, Murray
MK Dons: Martin, Kouo-Doumbe, Kay, Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Bowditch, Lowe (MacDonald 82), Lewington, Chadwick, Balanta (Ismail 61)
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Smith, Chicksen, Powell, Sekajja