Brentford’s three-match winning streak was brought to an end as they were beaten 2-0 by Milton Keynes Dons.
Brentford started well, moving the ball with purpose in MK territory and creating space in dangerous areas.
The qualities of the home team were evident; they were able to pass in tight areas and looked to play through midfield.
But Brentford pressed them back and forced them in to longer balls than they would like.
The Bees dominated possession and territory for most of the match but failed to convert their chances.
MK took two of the few they created and took the points at a freezing stadium:mk
Jonathan Douglas could have put The Bees in front early on when he met a Clayton Donaldson cross but MK goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin palmed away the header and then stopped Marcello Trotta forcing in in.
Jake Bidwell fired a free kick in to a defensive wall before Harry Forrester and Trotta had shots blocked.
Simon Moore had saved a low Chris Lines shot but had a moment to forget 15 minutes in.
The ball was thrown in to Dean Bowditch, who turned a fired in a hopeful shot from 25 yards that dipped and swerved and went through Moore to give MK the lead.
Lines had a shot blocked soon after but the pattern of the game was hardly altered.
Brentford were playing almost exclusively in MK territory and the home side were defending frantically at times.
The game was extremely competitive and very physical.
Referee Stephen Martin was happy to let strong challenges from both sides go unpunished but, with Brentford having more of the ball, MK were getting away with more.
MK goalkeeper McLoughlin kept out a low Forrester shot before Trotta miss-directed a header from close range and Tony Craig’s follow-up was blocked.
McLoughlin made a fine fingertip save from a drilled Forrester shot and the denied Forshaw.
Trotta missed a great chance to equalise when he exchanged passes with Douglas and fired wide from 12 yards in the inside left channel.
MK had spent much of the first half playing on the break but were effective when they were able to get players behind Brentford’s midfield.
Ryan Lowe had a shot blocked and then diverted a Stephen Gleeson shot wide before Patrick Bamford headed over at the far post.
The Dons could have taken an extremely unjust 2-0 lead in to half time when Lines led a break and fed Bamford, the striker cut inside and hit a shot that cannoned wide off the outside of the post.
The Bees went in behind at the break and introduced Bradley Wright-Phillips for Trotta.
The striker should have made an immediate impact but headed a Bidwell cross over from close range 30 seconds in to the second half.
The second 45 continued in the same fashion as the first, Brentford on the front foot and on top in terms of possession and territory.
Wright-Phillips missed the target with an acrobatic overhead effort and Donaldson headed wide under pressure at the far post.
Toumani Diagouraga shot over for Brentford as the game entered the final quarter and started to become stretched.
The Bees brought on Antonio German and Sam Saunders as they sought the goal their play merited.
Mathias Kouo-Doumbé made a vital tackle to deny German after a clever dummy from Wright-Phillips while at the other end Moore made a superb stop at the feet of Bamford after the ball was worked inside by Daniel Powell.
Wright-Phillips had a shot blocked and McLoughlin made a superb brave punch to prevent Douglas heading in a Saunders cross.
Brentford continued to push forward and chances continued to come and go.
Harlee Dean headed over when well-placed and Diagouraga missed the target from a tight angle.
And MK made The Bees pay with five minutes remaining.
After a period of possession, the ball was worked to the left and then cut back by Luke Chadwick for Stephen Gleeson to smash home from 18 yards.
Brentford tried to find a way back in to the game and Dean shot wide after a run forward.
But their hopes had been extinguished by MK’s resolute defending and clinical finishing.
Milton Keynes Dons: McLoughlin; Otsemobor, Kouo-Doumbé, Williams, Chicksen; Potter, Gleeson; Bamford (sub Smith 79 mins), Lines, Bowditch (sub Chadwick 62 mins); Lowe (sub Powell 59 mins)
Subs (not used): Galloway, Baldock, Alli
Brentford: Moore; Logan, Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Donaldson (sub German 67 mins), Forshaw, Forrester (sub Saunders 71 mins); Trotta (sub Wright-Phillips h/t)
Subs (not used): Gounet, Hodson, Reeves, Adeyemi
Attendance: 10,455 (2,030 Bees fans)
By Chris Wickham