Injury-hit Wigan Athletic suffered a dispiriting 2-0 defeat at Milton Keynes Dons tonight.
Latics who are still in administration and awaiting a takeover by a Spanish consortium were without four key players and lost striker Will Keane to injury after only eight minutes.
The hosts had a relatively easy victory against the disjointed visitors and should have been ahead before half time but Scott Fraser wasted a couple of great chances.
Early in the second half MK Dons were awarded a penalty when Tom James made a rash challenge in the box and Fraser stepped up to convert the spot kick.
It was not long before the hosts added a second on 52 minutes when Stephen Walker fired home as the visitors defence failed to clear their lines on several occasions.
Latics makeshift team produced some promising moves in the latter stages but they were unable to reduce the deficit and MK Dons ran out comfortable winners.
Latics drop down to 19th in the League One table while MK Dons climb to 17th spot.
John Sheridan faced severe selection problems as the already depleted squad lost Kal Naismith, Lee Evans, Darnell Johnson and Viv Solomon-Otabor from the team which had drawn with Plymouth.
Dan Gardner, Chris Merrie, Adam Long and Will Keane came into a 3-5-2 formation.
The hosts posed the first threat when experienced striker Cameron Jerome headed wide of the target from Dean Lewington’s cross.
Latics then suffered another injury when Keane pulled up with a groin problem and was replaced by Olly Crankshaw.
It was a poor opening as neither team came into the game with much confidence following recent poor results.
But gradually the hosts appeared to realise that they were up against a weakened team who were struggling for any cohesion.
MK Dons enjoyed plenty of possession and should’ve been in front on 22 minutes when the Latics defence was sliced wide open but Fraser’s shot was well saved at the near post by Jamie Jones.
Six minutes later Fraser had another great chance and once again Jones came to the rescue turning the ball around the post when the striker looked odds on to score.
Walker then fired over the crossbar from the edge of the box as the visitors retreated further into their defence. Wing-backs Gavin Massey and Tom Pearce just couldn’t get forward as the pressure mounted.
Latics were lucky to be level at half time but catastrophe struck on 47 minutes when James rashly challenged Matthew Sorinola in the box and referee Charles Breakspear awarded a penalty which Fraser converted.
It was not long before the hosts doubled their lead as Latics’ defenders failed to clear their lines on several occasions and when the ball came to Walker in the area he made no mistake with a low drive.
It now appeared to be a case of damage limitation for Latics but Curtis Tilt went close with a header from Matty Palmer’s corner on 55 minutes as the visitors rallied a little.
Massey and Tilt appeared to be withdrawn due to injuries as Latics problems worsened and were replaced by Thelo Aasgaard and Alex Perry.
Substitute Joe Mason curled a shot narrowly wide on 69 minutes as the hosts nearly added to their lead.
Latics youthful substitutes started to pass the ball better as the hosts sat on their lead and they created a couple of chances themselves.
Crankshaw’s cross from the right was spilled by keeper Andrew Fisher but Joe Garner couldn’t quite capitalise on the mistake.
Latics had a good opportunity to test the MK Dons keeper on 89 minutes from a free kick on the edge of the box, but James blazed his shot so wide it went for a throw-in, which just about summed up Latics’ dreadful evening.