MK Dons pushed Hartlepool a step closer to relegation as Patrick Bamford and Dean Bowditch sealed a comfortable win.
On-loan teenager Bamford broke through the Pools defence to roll home his second goal in successive games.
He was on the receiving end just after the break when Simon Walton was shown a red card for a poor challenge.
Bowditch curled home the clincher from 18 yards and Hartlepool were denied a consolation when Peter Hartley's shot beat the keeper but hit the post.
The bottom-of-the-table home side have failed to score or win in seven matches and ended the day eight points adrift of Scunthorpe, who sat immediately above the relegation places following a 2-1 win over Leyton Orient, with only five games to play.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
MK Dons boss Karl Robinson told BBC Three Counties Radio:
"I thought it was probably one of our worst displays of the season, but it's a win. You don't get many easy games up here in the north east.
"Patrick Bamford is special, he is a talent. I think you've seen how they had to deal with him, it almost became assault at certain stages. The Premier League will definitely see the fruits of his talent one day.
"I don't think we've shown today how good we can be, but it's important from now on the players accept responsibility for their performances.
"If we can put a performance in against a very good Brentford side on Monday and get the victory, it will put us in the [play-offs] mix. That's the challenge that's been set for the players."
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Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee ends the match.90:00 +1:46
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dean Bowditch by Jonathan Franks. Direct free kick taken by Darren Potter.90:00 +0:55
Jack Baldwin challenges Brendon Galloway unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Shaun Williams.90:00 +0:55 Booking
Booking The referee shows Jack Baldwin a yellow card.89:41
The official flags Luke Chadwick offside. Scott Flinders takes the free kick.88:11
Shot from just outside the box by Darren Potter misses to the left of the target.87:33
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Ian McLoughlin.84:40
Unfair challenge on Neil Austin by Stephen Gleeson results in a free kick. Neil Austin restarts play with the free kick.83:37
Peter Hartley produces a drilled left-footed shot from just inside the penalty box and strikes the post.83:12
Corner taken by Jonathan Franks from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Shaun Williams.82:50
Shot by Daniel Powell. Comfortable save by Scott Flinders.82:29
Free kick awarded for a foul by Peter Hartley on Ryan Lowe. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Gleeson.80:48
The ball is swung over by Dean Bowditch, Ryan Lowe takes a shot. Scott Flinders makes a comfortable save. Charlie Wyke fouled by Mathias Doumbe, the ref awards a free kick. Jonathan Franks takes the free kick.79:37
Foul by Jack Baldwin on Shaun Williams, free kick awarded. Darren Potter restarts play with the free kick.77:30
Drilled right-footed shot by Daniel Powell. Save by Scott Flinders.75:37
A cross is delivered by Darren Holden, Shaun Williams manages to make a clearance. Charlie Wyke concedes a free kick for a foul on Shaun Williams. Ian McLoughlin restarts play with the free kick.73:40
Inswinging corner taken by Jonathan Franks, Andy Monkhouse produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.72:00
Indirect free kick taken by Scott Flinders.72:00 Substitution
Substitution Brendon Galloway on for Adam Chicksen.72:00
Ryan Lowe is ruled offside.
Andy Monkhouse produces a cross, Shaun Williams manages to make a clearance. Corner taken by Jonathan Franks from the right by-line, Jon Otsemobor makes a clearance.67:38
The assistant referee flags for offside against Ryan Lowe. Free kick taken by Peter Hartley.67:17
The assistant referee flags for offside against Ryan Lowe. Neil Austin takes the indirect free kick.66:32
Charlie Wyke produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.64:47
Sam Collins restarts play with the free kick.64:47 Booking
Booking The referee shows Adam Chicksen a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.63:09
Neil Austin fouled by Adam Chicksen, the ref awards a free kick.61:32
The assist for the goal came from Ryan Lowe.61:32 Goal scored
Goal! - Dean Bowditch - Hartlepool 0 - 2 MK Dons Dean Bowditch fires in a goal from just outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Hartlepool 0-2 Milton Keynes Dons.60:42
Stephen Gleeson takes a shot from 25 yards. Scott Flinders makes a comfortable save.59:53
Daniel Powell takes a shot from 12 yards. Comfortable save by Scott Flinders.59:05
Dean Bowditch challenges Neil Austin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Neil Austin.57:31 Substitution
Substitution Luke Chadwick replaces Patrick Bamford.57:31 Booking
Booking Patrick Bamford is booked.55:35
Shaun Williams restarts play with the free kick.55:35 Substitution
Substitution (Milton Keynes Dons) makes a substitution, with Daniel Powell coming on for Alan Smith.55:35
Unfair challenge on Jon Otsemobor by Andy Monkhouse results in a free kick.53:50
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Patrick Bamford by Peter Hartley. Stephen Gleeson takes the direct free kick. Dean Bowditch has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.50:57
Darren Potter restarts play with the free kick.50:57 Dismissal
Dismissal The referee shows Simon Walton a red card for violent conduct.50:32
Patrick Bamford fouled by Simon Walton, the ref awards a free kick.50:20
The ball is swung over by Jonathan Franks, clearance made by Mathias Doumbe.47:02
Andy Monkhouse has a drilled shot. Blocked by Shaun Williams. Jack Baldwin takes a shot from 25 yards. Save made by Ian McLoughlin.45:01
The referee gets the second half started.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Darren Holden joins the action as a substitute, replacing Evan Horwood.45:00 +2:19 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.45:00 +1:49
Luke James is flagged offside by the assistant referee.45:00 +1:24
A cross is delivered by Andy Monkhouse, clearance made by Adam Chicksen.43:43
Corner taken by Evan Horwood from the left by-line, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Sam Collins misses to the right of the target.40:48
Evan Horwood sends in a cross, clearance made by Adam Chicksen.40:00
The ball is swung over by Jonathan Franks, comfortable save by Ian McLoughlin.39:35
Evan Horwood delivers the ball.34:21
Free kick awarded for a foul by Patrick Bamford on Neil Austin. Evan Horwood takes the direct free kick.33:11
Andy Monkhouse sends in a cross, comfortable save by Ian McLoughlin.31:30
Shot by Charlie Wyke from outside the box goes over the net.29:24
Jonathan Franks has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area missing to the wide left of the goal.27:57
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Simon Walton by Darren Potter. Scott Flinders takes the free kick.25:48
Evan Horwood takes the inswinging corner, Alan Smith makes a clearance.22:48
Shaun Williams has an effort direct from the free kick.22:48 Substitution
Substitution Luke James on for Antony Sweeney.22:48
Jack Baldwin concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrick Bamford.20:47
Ryan Lowe concedes a free kick for a foul on Peter Hartley. Scott Flinders restarts play with the free kick.19:07
Andy Monkhouse is adjudged to have handled the ball. Ian McLoughlin takes the direct free kick.18:19
Direct free kick taken by Shaun Williams.18:19 Booking
Booking Andy Monkhouse receives a yellow card.18:12
Shaun Williams fouled by Andy Monkhouse, the ref awards a free kick.17:31
Long range shot from Shaun Williams misses to the left of the target.16:53
Direct free kick taken by Darren Potter.16:53 Booking
Booking Booking for Evan Horwood for dissent.16:26
Unfair challenge on Patrick Bamford by Evan Horwood results in a free kick.15:08
The official flags Antony Sweeney offside. Ian McLoughlin takes the indirect free kick.13:05
Free kick awarded for a foul by Antony Sweeney on Dean Bowditch. Shaun Williams restarts play with the free kick.12:20
Foul by Jon Otsemobor on Andy Monkhouse, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Scott Flinders.11:08
Charlie Wyke gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Shaun Williams. Free kick taken by Ian McLoughlin.10:09
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Franks by Stephen Gleeson. Free kick crossed by Simon Walton, Ian McLoughlin makes a comfortable save. Ryan Lowe takes a shot. Save by Scott Flinders.8:45
Alan Smith challenges Neil Austin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Scott Flinders takes the direct free kick.8:14
Antony Sweeney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Dean Bowditch. Darren Potter takes the free kick.6:06
The assist for the goal came from Stephen Gleeson.6:06 Goal scored
Goal! - Patrick Bamford - Hartlepool 0 - 1 MK Dons Patrick Bamford gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Hartlepool 0-1 Milton Keynes Dons.4:25
Shaun Williams concedes a free kick for a foul on Charlie Wyke. Simon Walton produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.3:14
The assistant referee signals for offside against Charlie Wyke. Stephen Gleeson takes the indirect free kick.2:28
Alan Smith produces a right-footed shot from long range which goes wide right of the target.0:58
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alan Smith by Evan Horwood. Alan Smith takes the direct free kick.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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