Reds 3 (Hourihane 82, 86, Cole 89.)
MK Dons 5 (Afobe 32, Carruthers 45, Alli 51, Grigg 71, Reeves 79)
Despite a promising first half performance that saw the Reds make several chances and hit the visitor’s post, Danny Wilson’s men found themselves 2-0 down at the interval.
After good spells on and off the ball in the second half, the Reds were unable to fully take hold of the game and Karl Robinson’s MK Dons took full advantage.
Second half goals from Dele Alli, Will Grigg and Ben Reeves completed the scoring for the visitors before Hourihane released another thunderbolt to get Barnsley on the team sheet.
Adding an amount of respectability to the score line, Hourihane first got a second in the last ten minutes before Devante Cole netted with a minute to go as the Reds finished the game with their foot pressed firmly on the accelerator.
Making three changes from the last league game, Kane Hemmings gets his first start for the Reds partnering Leroy Lita in attack.
From a Joe Dudgeon long throw, Barnsley almost took the lead with only three minutes played. Meeting the head of Hourihane, the ball was flicked goal bound only to be saved by David Martin in the Dons’ goal.
From the resulting corner, Hemmings threatened the goal only to see his flicked effort miss the target as the Reds barraged the MK Dons box in the opening five minutes.
A quickly taken free kick from the Reds in the 15th minute saw Conor Hourihane find himself through on goal only to see his side footed effort rebound back off the post.
After a period of resolute defending mid –way through the half, the Reds looked to get back on top with 25 minutes played as Brad Abbott tried his luck unsuccessfully from 25 yards.
With half an hour played, Luke Berry found Lita on the edge of the Dons box as the striker ducked and dived to find room before releasing an effort that went just wide of the left hand post.
Against the run of play, Dons midfielder Mark Randall unleashed a dipping effort that Davies was only able to parry as Benik Afobe followed up the rebound, firing the visitors in front in the 32nd minute from 6 six yards.
On the stroke of half time, MK Dons increased their lead as after some good work from Dele Alli down the right hand side the ball was pulled back and Samir Carruthers fired the ball into the top corner, doubling his side’s lead.
Making one substitution at half time, Reds boss Danny Wilson introduced Paul Digby at the expense of Brad Abbott.
After Barnsley failed to properly deal with a defensive clearance, MK Dons scored again only six minutes into the second half.
Some good play from Daniel Powell and Benik Afobe set up Dele Alli as he was able to chip the ball into the Barnsley goal after something of a scramble in the Reds’ box.
Looking to find a way back into the game, Danny Wilson then introduced in-form Devante Cole to the action.
Almost making an instant impact, Cole headed a Barnsley counter attack that came to a point with the Manchester City youngster setting up Jennings in the box only to see his shot blocked.
Soon after, the Reds created another chance as Hourihane whipped in a teasing free kick that unluckily for the Reds couldn’t find the head of Reece Brown.
Continuing to improve, Cole then found himself one on one with David Martin but was let down by his touch running at great speed towards the Dons goal.
Still searching for a goal to get back into the game Danny Wilson used up his last substitution with more than twenty minutes to play, replacing Lita with Sam Winnall.
MK Dons found their fourth goal in the 71st minute after some loose defending presented substitute Will Gregg with an opportunity that he had no problems with converting after only being on the pitch for a matter of minutes.
Soon after, things continued to get worse for Barnsley as MK Dons struck their fifth as another substitute Ben Reeves side footed home from short distance in the 79th minute.
One piece of encouragement late in the second half was that Conor Hourihane was up to his old tricks, scoring another insatiable 25 yard goal. Although only a consolation at this point for the Reds, it was surely the best goal of the game.
Not long after that Hourihane scored again as the Reds tried to restore some pride to the fixture, a curling effort from the edge of the box beating Dons’ keeper Martin.
Then with one minute left Devante Cole capped off a whirlwind last ten minutes scoring again as the Reds found the form they had been searching for all afternoon.
Reds: Davies, Brown, Dudgeon, Berry, Nyatanga, Cranie, Hourihane, Abbott (45), Jennings, Hemmings (56), Lita (68).
Subs: Dibble, Winnall (68), Digby (45), M’Voto, Noble-Lazarus, Bree, Cole (56).
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Kay, Bowditch, Spence, Alli (76), Randall, Powell, Baldock, Carruthers, Afobe (69).
Subs: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Reeves (76), Grigg (69), Hitchcock, Rasulo, Tilney.