Report: Bury 0-0 MK Dons
Stuart O’Keefe had the best chance of the night but failed to convert from 12 yards, while Ben Tilney and Dean Bowditch saw efforts well saved as the men from MK1 dominated the opportunities.
Tilney made his league debut in place of the suspended Joe Walsh, while Bowditch returned in place of another player suspended – Darren Potter. George Williams captained the side on the night in the absence of Potter and Dean Lewington, who was still out alongside Ben Reeves, Nicky Maynard and Scott Wootton.
Kieran Agard was almost presented an opportunity in the opening minutes but Jacob Mellis’ back-pass to keeper Joe Murphy just had enough on it.
In truth, the Shakers had initially settled the better of the two teams but the Dons soon came into the game and only a superb interception from Antony Kay denied Harvey Barnes’ cross finding Chuks Aneke.
Clever movement and hold-up play from Agard then created a chance for Aneke, who curled over from 25 yards, before Ed Upson couldn’t quite pick out Bowditch with an almost inch-perfect through-ball.
Robbie Neilson’s side were looking the more likely as the game ticked past the midway point of the first half - Barnes was offering a constant threat down the right and his delivery was headed away at the crucial time in front of Agard.
A rare foray forward from the Shakers saw a Mellis shot deflect wide off Paul Downing, which was followed up shortly afterwards by a header over the top by Cameron Burgess.
At the other end, George Baldock had a shot blocked before sending a low drive wide from 20 yards after a burst forward from right-back.
With the half-time whistle approaching, the impressive Barnes set up Bowditch who, after making room for himself, forced a smart save from Murphy.
Tilney went close with a free-kick in the final minute of the first half, which had been dominated by the Dons from around the 10th minute but they were yet to find a breakthrough.
Bury were the first to threaten in the second half when substitute George Miller forced a save from David Martin after latching on to a through-ball.
That gave the hosts a lift and they went forward again on 54 minutes with Tom Pope heading the ball over the bar at the back post after a cross had deflected into his path.
Eleven-goal man Agard is always dangerous and, at the other end, he almost capitalised on another poor back-pass before Upson attempted a cheeky free-kick as the Dons looked to try and get a stranglehold of the game once again.
Shortly afterwards, a quick counter-attack involving Stuart O’Keefe and Barnes set up Aneke, who was crowded out as he got a shot off inside the Bury box.
Upson teed up O’Keefe after a second bursting run in as many minutes from the midfielder but the latter saw his shot saved, just as Aneke did a minute later from a similar distance of 20 yards.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, the game began to open up and Aneke drove forward before laying it off to Agard, who was crowded out on the edge of the box.
That was the latter’s final act as he was replaced by Maecky Ngombo and he was immediately involved as he and Barnes combined to present a chance for O’Keefe, who really should have done better from 12 yards.
Barnes had come back to life and he brought Tilney into play with a clever back-heel but the league debutant couldn’t fire past Murphy, who stood up well to deny the left-back.
That proved to be the last real chance of the evening – one which the Dons will perhaps feel they should have taken all three points.
Starting XI: Martin; Baldock, Downing, Williams (c), Tilney; Upson; Barnes, O’Keefe, Aneke (Powell 83), Bowditch; Agard (Ngombo 75).
Unused subs: Nicholls, Brittain, Rasulo, Thomas-Asante, Muirhead.
Booking: O’Keefe, Upson, Martin.
Attendance: 2,005 (113 Dons fans).