DONS 0 AFC BOURNEMOUTH 3
Ryan Lowe was sent off for a horrific challenge as Dons slid to a hugely disappointing home defeat to promotion rivals AFC Bournemouth.
The striker lunged in two footed on Cherries defender Tommy Elphick just moments after a heated exchange between the two players and referee Scott Mathieson immediately brought out the red card.
Mr Mathieson had spoken to both Lowe and Elphick after an off the ball scuffle but Lowe was clearly angered as his rash tackle seemed to be a pre-meditated one.
He clearly saw the red mist but it was a moment of stupidity which disadvantaged his team who have now fallen further off the promotion pace in League One.
Elphick had to be taken off injured after the incident which sparked a flashpoint involving most of the outfield players.
Izale McLeod was dropped to the bench following the defeat to Yeovil on Tuesday night, allowing Lowe to push back into the lone striker’s role.
This meant on loan Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Chris Lines was handed his first start for the club since his switch from Hillsborough.
There was a good chance for Bournemouth within the opening two minutes but Brett Pitman smashed over when the ball dropped kindly in the box.
That was a let-off, but Eddie Howe’s men were then handed an absolute gift to take the lead.
Dons strung together a strong passing move but were unable to make it count and were eventually pushed back up towards their own goal.
Jon Otsemobor tried to lay it back to keeper David Martin but his pass was woefully short of pace which allowed Lewis Grabban to nip in and slot home.
The hosts looked stunned and Grabban nearly doubled his money with a curling effort which dropped just wide of Martin’s far post.
On 20 minutes Lowe found himself free in the Bournemouth box after he was teed up by Ryan Harley but his finish was sliced dreadfully off target.
Karl Robinson’s side enjoyed most of the ball during the remainder of the half but Bournemouth were superbly organised at the back and Dons were unable to pass the ball into dangerous areas.
The Cherries soaked up attacks and looked to break, with their stopper Shwan Jalal not being called upon until the 42nd minute when he batted away Lowe’s angled strike.
That was the last meaningful action for the striker though who received his marching orders shortly before the end of the half to leave Dons with a mountain to climb.
It got worse though as with the mood still simmering after the dismissal, Bournemouth grabbed their second of the afternoon.
Grabban forced a save from Martin but he could not hold onto it, and nobody picked up an advancing Mark Pugh who smashed the rebound into the empty net.
McLeod was introduced for Adam Chicksen at the start of the second half and he instantly looked a threat for Dons, curling one effort just off target.
At the other end, Pitman should have wrapped up the points for Bournemouth but he wasted a free header by aiming straight at Martin.
Pitman put another close range effort off target shortly afterwards and Grabban poked a six yard shot straight at Martin who saved well when the net should have bulged.
Bournemouth made the extra man count with some neat football which tired Robinson’s side, but the hosts still tried to get forward when they could and were unlucky not to score after one swift counter attack.
Shaun Williams bent a delicious strike around a beaten Jalal but it bounced off the post and rolled across the six-yard-box.
McLeod arrived to roll the loose ball home but inexplicably shot wide when presented with an open goal from two yards, although the flag was up to spare his blushes.
The striker had another good chance when he ghosted in and behind but this time he scuffed a finish wide of the near post, and it was left for Bournemouth’s Harry Arter to teach Dons a lesson in finishing.
With time ticking away the midfielder dispatched a rocket past Martin following a quick free-kick to complete a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the home side.
It would have been even worse had Pitman not struck the bar late on, and Dons are now five points adrift of the play-off spots.
Dons: Martin, Otsemobor, Lewington, Doumbe (Smith 63), Williams, Potter, Bowditch, Chicksen (McLeod 46), Lowe, Harley, Lines (Ismail 79). Unused subs: Flanagan, Baldock, Alli, Ismail.
Sent off: Lowe.
Bournemouth: Jalal, Elphick (Ritchie 43), Pugh, McQuoid (Hughes 79), Cook, Seaborne, Arter, O’Kane, Grabban (Tubbs 86), Francis, Pitman. Unused subs: Allsop, Partington, Hughes, Fletcher, Fogden.
Goals: Grabban, Pugh, Arter.
Ref: Scott Mathieson.