Port Vale were unable to stretch their unbeaten run to five games in Sky Bet League Two on Tuesday night as goals from Chuks Aneke and Kieran Agard handed MK Dons all three points. Manny Oyeleke and Cristian Montano were also forced off through injury during what proved to be a disappointing evening.
It took the Valiants just two minutes to fashion their first chance of the evening following a neat one-two between Mitchell Clark and Tom Pope. The defender hit a low strike towards the bottom corner, but Lee Nicholls was on hand to make a sprawling save.
Vale’s bright start continued, and two more opportunities came and went just a minute later, with Ben Whitfield firing wide and Oyeleke stinging the palms of the visiting goalkeeper in what was a frantic opening period.
The next real chance of the evening fell to the away side on 11 minutes, but the Vale rearguard stood firm to repel the danger. Agard slid a perfectly weighted lay-off into the path of Ryan Watson who got a shot away, only to see it cannon off of Leon Legge who blocked well.
Whilst Agard did look lively in the final third for Paul Tisdale’s men, but it was Pope who went inches away up the other end with 14 minutes played. Clark’s cross found the striker in space, but his stooping header drifted just wide of the far post with Nicholls scrambling.
Despite controlling proceedings, Vale fell behind on 23 minutes as Aneke finished off a sweeping move. Baily Cargill provided the assist with a low cross, and the striker made no mistakes with his effort as he found the bottom corner from close range.
Following their goal, MK Dons began playing some tidy football and they were rewarded with a strike that doubled their advantage on 31 minutes. After going down under a challenge initially, Agard managed to get back to his feet and plant a finish beyond Scott Brown from 18 yards.
Neil Aspin made two changes at half-time as Lewis Hardcastle and Montano replaced Ricky Miller and Ben Whitfield respectively, but the Valiants found it difficult trying to break down the MK Dons back line despite the switch in personnel.
With almost an hour on the clock, the away side almost widened their advantage in controversial circumstances, but Agard’s eventual shot was well blocked by Nathan Smith. Montano’s comeback was then cut short five minutes later, meaning Vale had to play the out the rest of the game with a one-man disadvantage.
The visitors were eager to make the extra space count and they had another sighting of goal on 76 minutes, but Rhys Healey’s low driven effort took a deflection off of Luke Joyce before going behind for a corner. Williams then powered a volley against the crossbar with four minutes to go, and that proved to be the final chance for either side.
Port Vale: Scott Brown, Leon Legge, Manny Oyeleke (Luke Joyce 18’), Tom Pope ©, Ricky Miller (Lewis Hardcastle 45’), Luke Hannant, Connell Rawlinson, Nathan Smith, Tom Conlon, Mitchell Clark, Ben Whitfield (Cristian Montano 45’).
Unused Substitutes: Sam Hornby, Idris Kanu, Louis Dodds, Theo Vassell.
MK Dons: Lee Nicholls, George Williams, Dean Lewington ©, Joe Walsh, Ryan Watson, Alex Gilbey, Chuks Aneke (Rhys Healey 69’), Kieran Agard, Jordan Moore-Taylor, Jordan Houghton, Baily Cargill.
Unused Substitutes: Stuart Moore, Ousseynou Cisse, Mitch Hancox, Robbie Simpson, Brandon Thomas-Asante, Callum Brittain.
Attendance: 3,399 (124 away).