Report: Dons 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
Karl Robinson’s men created the better of the chances and went closest through Tom Flanagan, who hit the post, but they couldn’t find a way past a stubborn home defence.
Kyle McFadzean (concussion) and Dean Bowditch were replaced by Tom Flanagan and Samir Carruthers in the starting line-up for the clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to the Dons and, in particular, Daniel Powell who saw his close-range effort blocked by Cedric Evina after being picked out by Dele Alli in the second minute.
Karl Robinson’s men continued to make the early running and Jed Steer was twice called into action before the opening 10 minutes were out – firstly to gather Will Grigg’s flicked header and then to deny Darren Potter from 12 yards after a slick Dons move.
Antony Kay glanced on Ben Reeves’ in-swinging corner shortly afterwards but none of his team-mates could apply the finish touch at the back post.
The hosts’ first opportunity came in the 20th minute when Kyle Bennett’s left-wing corner flashed dangerously across the Dons’ box, before Curtis Main headed tamely wide of the target from a free-kick just past the midway point of the half.
Despite Doncaster coming more into the game, the better chances were still being created by the men from MK1 - Reeves curling a 20-yard effort inches over the top on 27 minutes after some good work by Powell.
The Dons were denied what looked to be a certain penalty 10 minutes later when Grigg was hauled down by Paul Butler, but referee Darren Handley adjudged that the challenge took place outside the box and awarded a free-kick instead. From the resulting set-piece, Reeves forced Steer into a smart stop from a tight angle.
Harry Forrester almost gave Rovers the lead in injury-time but, after a purposeful run, he curled his effort just past the right-hand the post from 20 yards, meaning the sides went in level at the break.
Powell was the first to threaten for the Dons in the second half, sending a half-volley not too far over the top from the edge of the box after pouncing on a loose ball.
A lull in proceedings followed with both sides finding it difficult to create chances, but the post came to Doncaster’s rescue on 67 minutes when Flanagan saw his thunderous effort from a tight angle cannon back off the right-hand upright.
Grigg was replaced by 12-goal striker Benik Afobe as Robinson looked to bring a fresh spark to his side a minute later, but it was his goalkeeper David Martin who kept the men from MK1 on level terms with two saves in quick succession to deny Forrester and substitute Theo Robinson.
Carl Baker was introduced in place of Carruthers on 71 minutes, but it was his fellow midfielder Alli who was back quickly to stop a Rovers counter-attack in its tracks.
At the other end, Alli put Afobe through on goal 11 minutes later but, after holding off the challenge of two Rovers defenders, his chipped effort didn’t quite have enough to find the back of the net.
Pushing forward from right-back, Jordan Spence forced Steer into a smart save from 25 yards as the clock ticked into injury-time, before Baker guided a header agonisingly past the left-hand post from Dean Lewington’s pinpoint delivery. So close to a dramatic winner for the Dons but still a positive point on the road.
Starting XI: Martin; Spence, Kay, Flanagan, Lewington (c); Potter, Alli; Powell, Reeves (Randall 90+3), Carruthers (Baker 71); Grigg (Afobe 68).
Subs: McLoughlin, Hickford, Randall, Bowditch, Hitchcock.
Bookings: Alli, Potter, Flanagan.
Attendance: 5,976 (396 Dons fans)