Omar Bugiel’s sixth-minute strike proved enough to consign Town to a 1-0 defeat this evening at home to AFC Wimbledon.
The early setback shook Town, who responded well but try as they might they couldn’t find a way past a tightly drilled Dons defence and end their hopes of a third win on the bounce.
There were two changes from the side that came away with all three points from the weekend trip to MK Dons. Both Levi Sutton and Abraham Odoh missed out through injury, being replaced by Dean Corneluis and Jeremy Sivi – the latter making his first start for the club.
The visitors were unchanged from the side that defeated Tranmere 4-1 in their last fixture.
It was a quick opening to the game with both sides looking to set the pace early. The visitors struck the first blow on six minutes though when Bugiel had too much time and space to drive at the Town defence but he delivered a smart finish beyond the reach of Mark Oxley to open the scoring.
Shaken by the early goal Town were then relieved to see an Ali Al Hamadi turn and shot directed straight at Oxley.
Town did find their composure though as the half progressed. The central duo of Cornelius and Josh Falkingham began to see more of the ball as Town regained a foothold. Sivi too started to pose a threat down the left-hand side.
Just after he half-hour point a marauding run from Kayne Ramsay took him past a handful of Dons defenders before playing in Matty Daly. Daly took a touch before firing off a strong shot but he couldn’t find the accuracy to beat Alex Bass.
Sivi then gave away possession cheaply which allowed Ali Al Hamadi to race past Anthony O’Connor and hit powerfully at goal but Oxley was equal to the task.
Just before the break Daly had another opportunity from distance, but again he was too close to Bass to make him work.
The visitors started the second-half brightly with Simon Weaver opting for an early change after 55 minutes that saw Josh March make a return to The Envirovent Stadium, replacing Sam Folarin.
A couple of minutes later James Daly replaced Sivi with the visitors also making a switch that saw Josh Neufville replace Aron Sasu.
Jake Reeves then had a speculative effort then was not too far wide of Oxley’s far post.
Not content to let the game drift in any way Simon Weaver then brought on Luke Armstrong, shifting things around into a 4-4-2 formation with the duo of Armstrong and March linking up for the first time.
Following the changes Town were attacking with plenty of intent but the well-organised Dons defence were making it difficult for the Town forwards to create space and moments of opportunity.
With just over ten minutes remaining Lima Gibson went into the book for a foul just on the edge of the Town box. The danger was cleared for a corner, from which substitute Harry Pell almost netted after he ghosted in at the near post to force Oxley into a smart save.
There was frustration in the dying moments as Town sensed their hopes were fading, with Rod McDonald also going into the book for dissent.