A first half goal from Ryan Lowe ensured Leyton Orient sunk to their fourth consecutive defeat as they lost 1-0 at Milton Keynes Dons.
Russell Slade's team were second best for large parts of the game and when they occasionally did enjoy spells of possession, they lacked the creativity in midfield or the potency up front to ever really threaten.
Orient tried to control the tempo early on, keeping possession along the back four, but without ever really affecting play in MK's half.
Soon it was MK who were dictating proceedings and they twice found themselves in behind the Orient defence early on but first Luke Chadwick, and then Dean Bowditch, were denied by the onrushing Ryan Allsop.
MK continued to dominate and the home crowd thought they had the breakthrough when Angelo Balanta's ambitious drive from 40 yards momentarily slipped through Allsop's hands but the keeper recovered to gather the ball before it reached the net.
Orient struggled to establish a foothold in the match and David Mooney perhaps showed his frustration when he appeared to kick out at Dean Lewington, but much to the crowd's disappointment referee Rob Lewis didn't produce a card.
Another scuffle on the half hour mark saw the ball spill out to Ryan Lowe who, driving forward, shaped to play in Chadwick to his right but instead dragged the ball left before unleashing a shot which Allsop parried over.
Lowe and Chadwick looked a potent partnership throughout and minutes before half time MK deservedly broke the deadlock.
Bowditch found space down the right and calmly slid the ball across to the backpost for Lowe to blast home from close range and make it 1-0 before the break.
Slade's side looked keen to show greater attacking intent at the start of the second period and they nearly equalised within minutes of the restart but Mooney's shot was hit straight at the keeper.
Mooney had two more opportunities in quick succession, with Lee Cook the provider on both occasions, but on both occasions Mooney found the keeper rather than the net.
With Orient gradually growing in confidence, MK had a golden opportunity to put the visitors out of sight in the 66th minute when Balanta pulled the ball back to Chadwick who shot hard and low but Allsop pulled off a superb reaction save to keep the O's in the contest.
In the 65th minute Slade replaced Scott Wagstaff with Kevin Lisbie, who was returning from injury, and less than ten minutes later threw on Dean Cox for Anthony Griffith as the O's went for broke.
But if Slade was hoping for a late rally from his players, it came only deep into injury time.
Lee Cook's corner was headed into the net by substitute Lisbie but the visitors' celebrations were cut short when the referee ruled a foul had taken place in the box.
Moments later Slade let his frustration boil over and was duly sent to the stands but that was as dramatic as it got and MK held on for a well-deserved victory.
The result leaves the O's 20th in League One, just two points above the relegation zone and they will be looking to bounce back as quickly as possible when they host Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.
MK Dons: Martin, Ostemobor, Lewington, Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Bowditch (Chicksen, 75), Lowe (MacDonald, 80), Kay (Kouo-Doumbe, 83), Chadwick, Balanta
Subs: McLoughlin, Kouo-Doumbe, MacDonald, Smith, Chicksen, Ali, Sekajja
Leyton Orient: Allsop, Sawyer, Chorley, Griffith (Cox, 73), Clarke, Odubajo, Cook, Rowlands (Smith, 81), James, Wagstaff (Lisbie, 65), Mooney
Subs: Jones, McSweeney, Baudry, Cox, Lisbie, Smith, Brunt
Referee: Rob Lewis