Baily Cargill’s 88th-minute equaliser saw MK Dons salvage a point from a dominant performance at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Russell Martin’s men enjoyed 64% possession in their Sky Bet League One opener but looked to be heading for defeat courtesy of Madger Gomes’ strike.
However, Cargill rescued a share of the spoils for the Dons with two minutes to play, finishing off an excellent attacking move down the left.
Martin’s first XI of the league campaign included debutant Daniel Harvie, who came into the side as one of three changes from the midweek win over Northampton Town. Goalkeeper Lee Nicholls and striker Carlton Morris were the other two alterations.
Harvie was involved as MK Dons threatened goal for the first time on six minutes, teeing up Lasse Sorensen whose long-range drive was tipped over by Joe Bursik. At the other end, four minutes later, Ben Whiteman fired wide with a shot from distance.
MK Dons worked the ball forward again straight after, with David Kasumu forcing Bursik into a save. The Doncaster stopper produced another stop moments later to prevent Baily Cargill’s scorcher from rattling the net.
Nicholls was forced into his first save on 21 minutes, collecting a tame volley from Tyreece John-Jules at his near post. He then gathered a deflected attempt from Rayhaan Tulloch, who was looking bright when Donny countered down the left.
The Dons responded with both Harvie and Morris trying their luck, although both players failed to hit the target with their respective strikes. John-Jules then headed over for Doncaster, following a cross in from the left.
Cargill went close with a header of his own just past the half-hour mark, moments before Poole saw a goal-bound volley blocked by a Donny defender.
The best chance of the half, though, arrived in stoppage time when Nombe latched onto a through ball and rounded keeper Bursik. With the goal at his mercy, the striker went to convert but saw his effort blocked by a recovering Taylor Richards, who did enough to divert it wide.
Martin’s side returned for the second half with the same attacking intent as they displayed in the first half and they forced early pressure too, with Poole going close at the far post following Cargill’s cross.
It was Doncaster, though, who would break the deadlock with a goal against the run of play. A deep cross in from the right wasn’t dealt with and the return ball in was struck first time, by Gomes, into the bottom right-hand corner of Nicholls’ net. 1-0.
Morris had the opportunity to respond straight away after earning a free-kick right on the edge of Donny’s penalty area. He took the set-piece himself but sent his curling shot over the crossbar.
With 21 minutes left to play, Martin went to his bench, introducing Joe Mason and Callum Brittain in place of Sorensen and Nombe. Sorinola, who scored his first professional goal in midweek, soon followed to make his league debut.
A scrappy next quarter of an hour followed, with Donny intent on disrupting MK Dons’ flow and Martin’s men become increasingly frustrated with refereeing decisions and the tactics imposed by their hosts.
They were, though, able to put together a sumptuous one-touch move down the left to level the scores with three minutes to play. Cargill was the main man, playing one-twos with Kasumu and Morris before keeping his cool inside the area and slotting past Bursik for his first MK Dons goal. 1-1.
Cargill almost completed a dramatic turnaround in the first minute of stoppage but his diving header, from Brittain’s free-kick, flew over the crossbar with Bursik beaten. Morris also headed over from the edge of the six-yard box after a cross in from Brittain.
Neither side were able to grab a dramatic late winner, ensuring both sides kick-off the Sky Bet League One campaign with a point.
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Poole, Cargill, Kasumu, Morris, O’Hora, Sorensen (Brittain 69), Nombe (Mason 69), Harvie (Sorinola 75), Houghton.
Subs: Walker, Freeman, Jallow, Black.
Goal: Cargill (88)
Doncaster Rovers: Bursik, Halliday, James, Anderson, Wright, Gomes, Tulloch (Lokilo 75), Whiteman (c), Taylor (Williams 86), Richards, John-Jules (Okenabirhie 78)
Subs: Jones, Amos, John, Coppinger.
Goal: Gomes (53)
Booked: Richards, Whiteman
Referee: A Haines