Neither MK Dons nor AFC Wimbledon could find a winner in their League One meeting at stadium:mk, as the game ended goalless.
In a tight game, both sides struggled with their creative fluency and neither enjoyed many chances. While AFC Wimbledon may reflect on a late miss from Andy Barcham when one-on-one, in truth, it was hard to make a case either side deserved three points in a cagey match between two of League One’s bottom 7.
The result is enough to keep the Dons above their rivals and in 19th place in the League One table, but they sit just one point above the relegation zone after the Dons’ next opponents Northampton Town won away at Bradford City.
After progression in the FA Cup last time out, Robbie Neilson’s side turned attentions back to the league for a big game against AFC Wimbledon. The Dons’ rivals began the match in the relegation zone just two places and two points below MK in the League One table.
The visitors suffered an early setback as goalkeeper George Long missed out despite being initially selected due to illness. His replacement was Joe McDonnell, who made a quick start as he prevented Conor McGrandles. The home side’s midfielder had been teed up by some good wing work from Chuks Aneke.
Barcham then had the first big chance for AFC Wimbledon, and came close with his attempt. After cutting in from the left-flank, the winger saw a shot rebound off of both Lee Nicholls and the post before being cleared off the line by Ethan Ebanks-Landell.
In the early stages of the first half, the game was fairly scrappy, with AFC Wimbledon having the better chances but unable to get them on target. Lyle Taylor had the best of them, with one flashed effort across the face of goal crawling wide before the striker blazed wildly off target when well placed on a counter.
Closer still was Cody McDonald, as the striker hit a firm strike into the side-netting after racing forward on a counter. The visitors had a few moments when they had men forward but couldn’t make the most of their attacks, with the worst example seeing George Francomb chip the goal when well placed.
Moments earlier, MK Dons saw Chuks Aneke come close but take too long on his shot and have it blocked by a covering defender. A stronger chance then fell for Robbie Muirhead, as the Scot received a lay-off and hit a firm drive on target, which McDonnell tipped wide.
AFC Wimbledon then had to scramble the ball off the line at the consequent corner, as the hosts began to get into the game. But the game then became a tighter affair for the rest of the half, with neither side able to get a great chance. The best one fell for the visitors, as Nadjim Abdou lashed narrowly over at a half-cleared corner.
Abdou would then have the first big chance of the second, but his curling effort from a corner failed to hit the target. MK Dons then saw Kieran Agard have a shot blocked, before AFC Wimbledon’s Taylor had a curling drive held by Nicholls.
Scott Wootton saw a header saved, but with both defences packed tightly, it was proving a challenge for either side to break through. The hosts had a penalty shout turned down when Agard and Deji Oshilaja tangled as the two tried to reach a knockdown.
A very good stop from Lee Nicholls then kept the scores goalless, with the home goalkeeper tipping wide Darius Charles’ header at a free-kick.
Alex Gilbey then had a shot deflected wide but although both sides had possession and forward bursts, neither side was proving particularly productive in creating chances.
It was the visitors who looked likelier to find a way through, with sub Harry Forrester having an effort deflected over before MK Dons just scrambled the ball away at a corner. But the best chance for a winner fell to Barcham, who was played through then shot straight at Nicholls.
It all added up to a scoreless conclusion, leading to the first ever draw between the two sides.
MK Dons: Nicholls – Brittain, Wootton, Ebanks-Landell, Williams – Cisse – McGrandles (Pawlett 65), Gilbey – Aneke – Agard (Thomas-Asante 80), Muirhead (Nombe 65)
Subs not used: Sietsma, Upson, Seager, Kasumu
AFC Wimbledon: McDonnell – Fuller, Charles, Soares, Oshilaja – Francomb (Meades 72), Trotter, Abdou, Barcham – Taylor, McDonald (Forrester 76)
Subs not used: Nightingale, Kaja, Kennedy, Hartigan