MK Dons deservedly earn a share of the spoils at play-off contenders Bristol Rovers.9,031 (291 Dons fans).Attendance:
Baldock, Agard. Bookings:
Nicholls, Tilney, Downing, Tshimanga. Unused subs:
Martin; Baldock, Hendry, Walsh, Lewington (c); Upson, Carruthers; Agard, Reeves (GB Williams 90+4), Colclough (GC Williams 77); Bowditch (Powell 90+2). Starting XI:
Martin got in on the act as the Dons continued to defend bravely, expertly keeping out Jermaine Easter’s deflected header which was heading for the bottom corner until Martin intervened.
At the other end, Walsh was in the right place at right time to deny Stuart Sinclair getting a free header on goal, just like Jack Hendry did minutes later.
The introduction of GC Williams sparked a good spell of pressure from the Dons, who forced Rovers to clear a couple of dangerous crosses while Reeves also saw a shot blocked.
A lull in proceedings followed before Martin ensured the Dons remained on level terms, comfortably saving Taylor’s close-range effort after a quick break.
Rovers threatened on the counter attack which ended with Taylor seeing a shot blocked while, at the other end, Reeves fired narrowly wide from 20 yards.
An off-target acrobatic effort from Colclough followed as the men from MK1 began to up the tempo, looking to counteract the home side’s triple substitution, which included the introduction of Matty Taylor.
The second half started in slower fashion however the Dons still carried an offensive threat – Colclough driving into the arms of Roos after breaking down the left.
Agard saw a header blocked as the Dons ended the first half on top – one which could have easily seen the men from MK1 go ahead.
Richie Barker’s side came even closer to an opener a minute later but Walsh was brilliantly denied after Colclough’s initial effort had been saved and he had returned it into the danger area.
The same can’t be said for Baldock, who forced Roos into another good save just before the break after, once again, cutting in dangerously from the right touchline.
A magnificent tackle from Dean Lewington presented Ryan Colclough with a shooting opportunity but he fired off target.
On the whole, the Dons were keeping their opponents at bay while also playing some football but they escaped 10 minutes before the break when Ollie Clarke glanced a header not too far wide.
David Martin had to be alert to save Harrison’s effort on 25 minutes, prior to the game going through a quieter spell with nothing in the way of goalscoring chances.
Ben Reeves tested Roos and sent a similar long-range effort wide either side of an Ellis Harrison header as Rovers enjoyed a rare foray forward.
Shortly afterwards, George Baldock forced Roos into a superb save after cutting in from the right before Dean Bowditch headed on to the roof of the net, as the Dons looked by far the more likely in the opening 15 minutes.
Rovers responded with a reasonable spell of possession, but the men from MK1 were well on top in terms of chances and former Bristol City man Kieran Agard guided a header just past the far post.
Fantastic pressing from the Dons and indecision in the Rovers defence almost led to an early opportunity for the visitors but the ball deflected kindly into the arms of Kelle Roos.
Joe Walsh returned to the starting XI in the only change from last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Walsall.
The men from MK1 more than matched Rovers at the Memorial Stadium, with former Bristol City man Kieran Agard and George Baldock going closest for the visitors.