MK Dons picked up a point as they drew 1-1 with Grimsby Town at Stadium MK.

Rekeil Pyke put Grimsby Town into the lead, before Jack Payne grabbed an equaliser for the hosts.

Neither side was able to find a way through in a game where Grimsby had looked likelier to win, although the Dons came close to snatching the win late on.

The result means that MK Dons are now unbeaten in five matches, as they climb up two positions to 11th and remain three points off the play-offs, though they missed out on an opportunity to climb even closer to the top 7.

Off the back of victory away at Salford City last weekend, MK Dons hosted Grimsby chasing a fourth win in five games and a third consecutive victory at Stadium MK as they sought to close-in on the play-off zone.

Mike Williamson’s side would be taking on a team that had news to report, with former Crewe boss David Artell appointed Grimsby boss the night before and taking charge of his first game as Mariners manager.

Despite the late appointment and a run that had seen Grimsby fail to win away from home so far this season, it was Grimsby who settled into the game quicker.

A lot of the first half would be played in the MK Dons half, although the best opportunities the away side initially created saw a hit by Toby Mullarkey blocked by Dean Lewington and a prod at goal by Arthur Gnahoua from a half-cleared corner go over.

Grimsby then stunned the Dons by scoring first. The home side lost possession, and the visitors worked the ball up for Danny Rose, who broke free before squaring for Pyke to beat Craig MacGillivray.

MK Dons argued that Rose had been offside when initially found by the ball forward, but their protestations were ignored and the goal stood.

Rose had a header at a short corner denied by MacGillivray, before MK Dons had their first opportunity of significance when Joe Tomlinson saw one just dip past the post.

MK Dons were struggling to get chances created, however, and they nearly fell 2-0 down when Rose got to the ball ahead of Warren O’Hora despite slipping, advanced, and saw an effort deflected just wide.

MacGillivray then made two saves to deny away sub Alex Hunt, on for the injured Anthony Glennon, to ensure the Dons only trailed by one at the interval.

Grimsby probed once more within a minute of the restart, as Harry Clifton saw a low strike held by MacGillivray.

The Dons’ Dan Harvie would see a low strike narrowly miss the target, as the home side began to offer more but still finding it difficult to create big tests for Grimsby keeper Harvey Cartwright.

Gnahoua headed wide from a Grimsby cross, before the Dons’ best play ended with Max Dean miscuing a shot off target after he’d been picked out by Tomlinson.

The home side were seeing lots of the ball but were still struggling to make chances and nearly fell 2-0 down when space opened up for Gnahoua, who saw an effort strike the post and bounce free.

But with the away side’s lead still at one, it kept the door open for MK Dons to level and they would duly take that opportunity with an equaliser just after the hour. Grimsby initially cleared a short corner, before a slip allowed Alex Gilbey to advance down the Dons’ left and cross for Payne to slam home.

The Dons reacted to that boost by offering more. Tomlinson’s cross was narrowly steered off target by Dean, before substitute Jonathan Leko saw a strike deflected narrowly wide off a Grimsby defender.

Payne then had a long-shot blocked before Cameron Norman’s own hit from range just cleared the top of the bar.

Grimsby then began to get back on the front foot, with substitute Callum Ainley rifling one shot into the side-netting before miscuing another when well-placed.

Leko then blocked Mullarkey after his own poor clearance went straight to the Grimsby man as the game moved into stoppage time.

MK Dons then came so close to stealing all the points in the final minute of added time, as a passing move released Tomlinson. His cross found Mo Eisa in a prime position, but he could only divert his shot wide, ensuring the points were split.

MK Dons: MacGillivray – Norman, O’Hora, Lewington (M. Eisa 71) – Tomlinson, Williams, Payne, Harvie – Gilbey, Grant (Leko 62) – Dean (Harrison 71)

Subs not used: Kelly, Smith, Devoy, Dennis

Goal: Payne (67)

Booked: Williams

Grimsby: Cartwright – Mullarkey, Rodgers, Maher, Glennon (Hunt 35) – Clifton, Conteh – Gnahoua (Ainley 68), Pyke (A. Eisa 55), Khan (Wilson 68) – Rose

Subs not used: Eastwood, Green, Waterfall, Hunt

Booked: Conteh, Ainley, Wilson