MK Dons were held to a 0-0 draw by Burton Albion, confirming their relegation to Sky Bet League Two.
Despite 59% possession and 24 attempts on the final day, Mark Jackson’s men weren’t able to find the goal they needed to win the game and retain their third-tier status, resulting in a disappointing day at the end of a disappointing season.
Head Coach Jackson name an unchanged starting XI and substitutes bench for his side’s season finale with Burton Albion.
Dean Lewington captained the side and made MK Dons appearance number 765, taking sole possession of second place for most league appearances for one club in English football history.
The Dons started confidently and had the first shot of the game after three minutes – a low, 20-yard effort from Paris Maghoma which was blocked by a Burton defender. Maghoma was then involved in teeing up Conor Grant, who drilled just wide from the edge of the D.
Maghoma was in possession deep in the Burton half again on 10 minutes but his pass for Mo Eisa ran out for a goal kick. His pass to Jonathan Leko got through moments later, though, and the MK Dons number 12 forced a save out of Craig MacGillivray, who kept out the shot with his right foot.
Kaikai had an opportunity to test MacGillivray from Grant’s pass across the box midway through the first half but the wide-man got under his first-time strike, which flew over the crossbar.
Leko then went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock with a terrific solo goal but, after a great run through the middle of the park to work a shooting opportunity, he curled just wide of the right post.
Just before the half-hour, MacGillivray made an excellent diving save to prevent Kaikai’s in-swinging effort finding the top corner. He missed his claim from the resulting corner, however, and that almost led to an unfortunate own goal – the defender’s touch, though, looped over the vacated net.
The chances kept coming for the Dons and they saw Leko cut inside from the left on 31 minutes, only for his ferocious drive to hit the body of John Brayford. Brayford then had the hosts first attempt of the game – a driven effort straight down the throat of Jamie Cumming.
Cumming then saved from Mark Helm, as the Brewers threatened for the second time in quick succession. His opposite number, MacGillivray, was equal to Eisa’s 20-yard shot moments after. Leko then had a close-range effort blocked from Kaikai’s pull-back.
There was a half-chance for Eisa in the first minute of first-half stoppage time but he lost his footing when trying to cut inside and try his luck. He had a shooting chance in the first minute of the second, from Kaikai’s cross, but his low finish was straight at MacGillivray.
At the other end, Cumming got down well to prevent Mustapha Carayol’s cross from finding a teammate in the six-yard area. The Dons then worked their way into the area with Watson but he was unable to keep the ball in play after beating MacGillivray to a 50-50.
Maghoma flashed a ball across the face of goal on 51 minutes as the Dons came forward again in search of an opener. They then went close from a free-kick, which was cleared only as far O’Hora, who sent a first-time shot just over the bar from 15 yards.
Carayol cleared the crossbar, and the stand behind the goal, with his ambitious long-range shot on 57 minutes. Jackson then made his first change, replacing McEachran with Dawson Devoy in the middle of the park – McEachran, on a booking, following a first-half foul.
Maghoma wasn’t able to cap a brilliant solo run with a finish to match, as he failed to hit the target from inside the area on 61 minutes. A second change followed moments later – Nathan Holland on for Grant.
Holland was involved right away, winning possession, driving forward and teeing up Leko, who then created room for a shot inside the D but had his effort clip off his standing foot and loop wide of the target.
The Dons kept on the front foot, though while they were constantly sending balls into the area, they weren’t finding teammates. They did get a shot away with 15 minutes to play but Leko’s goal-bound try was blocked brilliantly by a defender.
Eisa then forced MacGillivray into a save after being set up by Maghoma in the penalty area. Eisa was soon partnered up top by Will Grigg, who was came on in place of Kaikai.
Grigg left one for Devoy to strike on 82 minutes but the Irishman’s effort crashed against the post. MacGillivray then again denied Eisa, as he tried to pick out the bottom right corner with an effort from 12 yards.
In the final minute of regulation time, Eisa stood over a free-kick, awarded for a foul on him just outside the area. He got it up and over the wall but wasn’t able to get the dip required to find the target.
Eisa had another shot, a minute later, which took a deflection off a Burton player and looped over the crossbar. They then saw Tucker head over from a Devoy corner – the ball landing on the roof of the net.
There was final corner for the Dons and from it, a goalmouth scramble saw a number of shots on goal blocked by the Brewers. The ball eventually squirmed its way to Maghoma, who fired wide. That, then, was that. Relegation confirmed.
MK Dons: Cumming, Watson, Lewington, Tucker, O’Hora, McEachran (Devoy 58), Eisa, Leko, Grant (Holland 62), Kaikai (Grigg 79), Maghoma.
Subs: Ravizzoli, Johnson, Dean, Jules.
Burton Albion: MacGillivray, Brayford, Oshilaja, Hughes, Powell, Taylor (Walker 52), Moon, Helm, Carayol (Winnall 80), Hamer (Kirk 63), Ashworth.
Subs: Amissah , Gilligan, Hewlett, Radcliffe.
Attendance: 5,021 (1,698 away)
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