IN THE city of 130 roundabouts, City suffered their first wrong turn with Kevin McDonald at the wheel.

After the high levels of the previous four games, they went badly off course in an error-strewn evening against a Milton Keynes side celebrating a first win for two months.

It was a sobering match for the visitors, who were second best in all areas. It looked like the recent efforts had caught up with them.

Stadium MK, like Valley Parade an arena far too grand for League Two, had been a traditionally happy venue for the Bantams with five wins in their previous six trips.

But even a fine goal from Alex Gilliead, the one survivor from their last visit six years earlier, could not lift them to maintain that run – and they finished soundly beaten.

Two shots on target, no corners - they looked off it across the park.

McDonald had answered the big selection conundrum by picking himself to replace the suspended Richie Smallwood.

Adam Wilson was rewarded for Saturday’s goal with a start for Jamie Walker, who also sat it out after clocking up five bookings.

Smallwood and Walker left a big hole which they struggled to fill.

McDonald’s appearance was the first by a City player/manager in a league game since David Wetherall at Chesterfield in April 2007 – the day they got relegated to the bottom tier.

The Scot has talked about focusing on the coaching side of the dual role but it was a natural like-for-like change for the captain. Sam Stubbs wore the armband again in Smallwood’s absence.

With no Walker, Bobby Pointon started in the number 10 role supporting Andy Cook.

It was a first home game as MK Dons boss for Mike Williamson – a team-mate of McDonald’s at Wolves in the Championship for a season. Ironically, the last time they played together in November 2015 had been against Williamson’s new club.

And the new manager had something to cheer straight away as City fell behind after just four minutes to a move straight off the training ground.

Former Bantam Jack Payne helped himself to a quick assist as he cut back the first corner for Joe Tomlinson to fire low past Harry Lewis through a crowded box. The keeper won’t have been happy to be beaten like that.

Buoyed by that dream start, MK Dons threatened again as Alex Gilbey broke with Max Dean, whose shot was turned away by Lewis.

There was an even bigger escape when Tomlinson found himself room to have another pop that cannoned back off the inside of the post. It was clearly that close that the stadium goal music blared out while the game went on!

But a goal soon followed – at the other end as City equalised completely against the run of play.

Pointon won possession just over halfway, getting whacked in the process, then it was all about Gilliead, who advanced towards goal and let rip with a 25-yard blast that flew past Craig MacGillivray.

Undeterred by that unexpected blow, Tomlinson remained a big threat on the MK left and found space for another shot that deflected into the side-netting.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alex Gilliead and Andy Cook enjoy City's goal but the smiles disappearedAlex Gilliead and Andy Cook enjoy City's goal but the smiles disappeared (Image: Thomas Gadd)

City were trying to come more into it and Brad Halliday whistled one past the far post from distance.

But there was more trouble ahead when Gilliead fouled Dean 25 yards out. Up stepped Payne to hammer the free-kick beyond Lewis and into the top corner – scoring against the Bantams for the third consecutive time.

Dean and Gilbey had further attempts as the confidence surged through the white shirts. City, by comparison, looked a shadow of the last few games and were shaky every time MK Dons attacked.

It was the poorest half they had served up since the change at the top, particularly at the back.

Lewis made up for his uncomfortable time with a fantastic reflex block to deny Dean after the break, finger-tipping his shot against the bar.

And the Dons – and Dean - were soon cursing the woodwork again when he prodded another effort past Lewis but the far post once more came to City’s rescue.

Dean, though, was not to be denied and got his goal on the hour as the impressive Tomlinson raced past Halliday and the young striker threw himself at the cross to turn it home.

Daniel Oyegoke, who got a few boos after his loan stint in the relegated Dons side last season, and Rayhaan Tulloch were thrown on for Adam Wilson and Pointon for the final quarter.

But City got away with another one when Payne turned away from Gilliead, who couldn’t risk touching him for fear of a certain red card as he burst clear. Fortunately, the shot was straight at the sprawling Lewis and deflected clear.

Andy Cook had hardly got into the game and he made way along with McDonald himself in the closing stages. But it was too late for replacements Tyler Smith and Clarke Oduor to help engineer an unlikely comeback.

The action was still at the other end where Lewis made another good block to keep out Gilbey’s header and Ethan Robson curled narrowly wide.

But MK Dons were not done and Gilbey stroked home the goal he richly deserved. It had been a painful bump in the road.