DONS 1 LEYTON ORIENT 0
Ryan Lowe bagged a precious goal as Dons claimed a second league win in a row by edging past Leyton Orient at stadiummk.
The striker was perfectly placed to smash home Dean Bowditch’s pinpoint centre in the first half and despite some second half scares Dons saw out what was largely a comfortable victory.
New loanee forward Ibra Sekajja was named among the subs just hours after his temporary move from Crystal Palace was confirmed, as Lowe was given another go up front.
There were two changes from Friday’s FA Cup draw at Cambridge City in all, as Angelo Balanta and Bowditch returned to the line-up in place of Adam Chicksen and Jay O’Shea.
Dons top scorer Luke Chadwick had an excellent chance to set the ball rolling in the very first minute but his shot was straight at Ryan Allsop after an excellent through ball from Jon Otsemobor.
Only a couple of minutes passed before Dons got in and behind the Orient defence again, but this time a poor first touch let down Bowditch on his return to the side after four games away, and the chance to shoot was gone.
Balanta was next to try his luck with an ambitious try from 30 yards, and although it seemed like a comfortable claim for Allsop an error saw the ball squeeze through his grasp.
Unfortunately for Dons, the keeper was able to recover as the shot eventually came to rest against a post to the bemusement of Karl Robinson who believes that his side are due a bit of luck in front of goal.
There was little doubt that Dons were in command, but the match was a tame affair which hadn’t come to the boil after half an hour.
Leyton Orient had offered nothing but Dons could not find a spark where it mattered to complement their passing game.
In front of a flat atmosphere there was suddenly a flashpoint when Orient’s David Mooney and Dons skipper Dean Lewington were involved in an off the ball tangle.
Lewington ended up on the ground but nothing was given despite Robinson’s noisy protest on the touchline.
As the half ticked away Stephen Gleeson saw a shot blocked in a forest of legs and Lowe had an effort batted wide by Allsop after a confident looking mazy run.
At the other end, David Martin was called into action to palm away Scott Wagstaff’s effort from just outside the six yard box as Orient had a meaningful effort on goal for the first time.
It was looking like another half without a goal for Dons until Lowe popped up with his poacher’s effort to the relief of the home faithful.
An excellent run and cross from Bowditch resulted in the ball being laid on a plate for the striker who could hardly miss from close range,
This was a precious strike for Lowe who had scored just once since his summer arrival from Sheffield Wednesday and it certainly made Robinson’s team talk a lot more comfortable.
There was an early scare in the second half though when Martin was forced into a close range stop from Mooney, and the same player then tried to sneak a shot in at the near post as Orient came out looking more determined.
Russell Slade’s game plan had clearly been torn up after Lowe’s goal and Orient wasted a couple of free kicks as they continued to threaten.
Dons weathered the storm as the game quietened again and most of the stadium thought they would double their lead when Chadwick arrived to stroke home from six yards.
He made clean contact but Allsop saved superbly with his body low down and somehow sent the ball over the crossbar.
Lowe then nearly found a second with a turn and shot,
Bowditch was replaced by Adam Chicksen, who had a loan spell at Orient last season, and Charlie MacDonald came on for Lowe.
The game seemed to be petering out as it entered the final ten minutes with little excitement to spur the supporters.
Mathias Doumbe replaced Antony Kay, forcing Sekajja to wait for his debut, and Gleeson and Dean Cox were both booked following a coming together.
Suddenly though, there was drama in stoppage time.
Orient sub Kevin Lisbie put the ball into the net from a corner but with the visiting bench celebrating, referee Robert Lewis said that it had been put in using a hand and he promptly booked Lisbie.
Dons breathed again and a frustrated Slade was then sent to the stands following an altercation with an assistant official.
The win means Robinson’s men are 8th in League One, a point off the play-off spots.
Dons: Martin, Otsemobor, Lewington, Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Bowditch (Chicksen 75), Lowe (MacDonald 80), Kay (Doumbe , Chadwick, Balanta. Unused subs: McLoughlin, MacDonald, A.Smith, Alli, Sekajja.
Leyton Orient: Allsop, Sawyer, Chorley, Griffith (Cox 73), Clarke, Odubajo, Cook, Rowlands (J.Smith 80), James, Wagstaff (Lisbie 65), Mooney. Unused subs: Jones, McSweeney, Baudry, Brunt.
Booked: Rowlands, Cox.
Ref: Robert Lewis
Att: 6,985 (299)