Match ends, MK Dons 2, Cardiff City 1.
Josh Murphy's injury-time goal gave lowly MK Dons a vital win against Cardiff City.
Aron Gunnarsson and Scott Malone wasted good chances as the visitors dominated a goalless first half.
Nicky Maynard struck against his former club to put MK Dons ahead five minutes after the break.
Substitute Craig Noone equalised for Cardiff with 10 minutes left but Murphy's strike in the dying moments snatched victory for the hosts.
Victory lifts MK Dons up to 20th in the Championship table, one point ahead of Bristol City in 22nd place.
Despite losing, Cardiff climb one place up to eighth on goal difference thanks to Birmingham's 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.
Russell Slade's side had started brightly at MK Dons, with Bluebirds winger Sammy Ameobi giving the home defenders a torrid time.
The 23-year-old, on loan from Newcastle, curled one shot wide, while Gunnarsson and Malone had close-range efforts saved by David Martin.
The Bluebirds were made to pay for their poor finishing when, against the run of play, Maynard gave MK Dons the lead with a neat finish.
Cardiff missed further chances through Gunnarsson and Kenwyne Jones, before winger Noone came on to equalise with a fine curling effort.
But it was MK Dons who had the final say, as Murphy fired in to keep his side out of the relegation zone and inflict Cardiff's second successive defeat.
MK Dons manager Karl Robinson: "Teams need to know that we'll always go to the end and if you want to take us on for 100 minutes then we're going to match you.
"You're going to have to hit us with a really good one to knock us out here.
"No matter how hard you hit us we'll always be here to be stood up and be counted right to the end."
Cardiff manager Russell Slade: "The game should have been killed off in the first half and we really didn't punish them enough - so that's a real frustration for me as a manager.
"We got back into the game and looked in control once more after we scored but we just couldn't hold on to the ball.
"It's just a long ball and we've attempted to head it out and it could have gone through to our keeper so obviously there is a major communication issue we need to sort out, but all these things will be talked about ahead of the busy period ahead of us."
- 5McFadzeanBooked at 66mins
- 6KayBooked at 24mins
- 38HallSubstituted forBakerat 69'minutes
- 10ReevesSubstituted forBowditchat 90+4'minutes
- 28MaynardBooked at 83minsSubstituted forGallagherat 89'minutes
- 2PeltierBooked at 72mins
- 5Ecuele Manga
- 38AmeobiSubstituted forNooneat 69'minutesBooked at 78mins
- 3da Silva
- Iain Williamson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, MK Dons 2, Cardiff City 1.
Foul by Sam Gallagher (MK Dons).
Bruno Ecuele Manga (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Josh Murphy (MK Dons) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Substitution, MK Dons. Dean Bowditch replaces Ben Reeves.
Attempt missed. Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Kenwyne Jones.
Goal! MK Dons 2, Cardiff City 1. Josh Murphy (MK Dons) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner.
Substitution, MK Dons. Sam Gallagher replaces Nicky Maynard.
Offside, Cardiff City. Anthony Pilkington tries a through ball, but Aron Gunnarsson is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Samir Carruthers.
Attempt blocked. Tony Watt (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lee Peltier.
Attempt blocked. Carl Baker (MK Dons) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Nicky Maynard (MK Dons) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Reeves.
Attempt missed. Josh Murphy (MK Dons) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the right. Assisted by Antony Kay.
Attempt blocked. Kyle McFadzean (MK Dons) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dean Lewington with a headed pass.
Corner, MK Dons. Conceded by Lee Peltier.
Tony Watt (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Darren Potter (MK Dons).