MK Dons were forced to settle for a point despite dominating proceedings at Vale Park.
3,877 (229 Dons fans). Attendance:
Williams, Baldock. Bookings:
Nicholls, Brittain, Downing, Tilney. Unused subs:
Martin; Baldock, Williams, Walsh, Lewington (c); Reeves, Upson (Potter 71), O’Keefe, Barnes; Muirhead (Maynard 82), Agard (Ngombo 54). Starting XI:
For all the chances the men from MK1 had created, perhaps the best came in injury-time but Williams snatched at his shot as the ball fell to him 10 yards out.
The Dons responded with an effort from O’Keefe, who met Lewington’s header across the box from Potter’s free-kick with just over three minutes of normal time remaining.
From the resulting set-piece, Muirhead flashed an effort narrowly wide after he’d made room for himself, but the Dons had David Martin to thank minutes later as he superbly denied Rigino Cicilia, who then poked wide after the ball been kept alive.
A stunning pass from substitute Darren Potter was the catalyst for the next opportunity but, after bringing down the through-ball, fellow sub Maecky Ngombo was denied inside the area.
The chance that came his way just before the hour mark was easier but his close-range effort was brilliantly blocked after good initial play from Reeves and Barnes.
A stunning turn from Muirhead created a shooting opportunity for himself and the Dons’ No.16 almost took advantage but his 25-yard drive ended up inches past the left-hand post.
There were then chances in quick succession at either end - Muirhead sent an effort wide of the target from distance before Chris Eagles fired past the left-hand post.
Like during the first 45, the Dons started the second half on top and a magnificent touch from Muirhead set Barnes away down the right before he crossed for Agard, who shot straight at Mehmet from 12 yards.
Upson was again at the heart of things five minutes before the break when he delivered a superb pass for Agard, who picked out Reeves but his poked effort was gathered by Mehmet.
The impressive Ed Upson was the creator of the Dons’ next chance as he broke from midfield and fed Agard, whose effort beat Mehmet but not defender Nathan Smith.
Thirteen-goal man Agard then saw a shot deflect over the top after being picked out by Stuart O’Keefe before Robbie Muirhead was almost found at the back post by Barnes.
Shortly afterwards, Agard forced Mehmet into a smart save from a tight angle prior to Barnes beating two men and curling over the top from the edge of the area – the Dons were getting closer but no breakthrough as yet.
Good play down the right from George Baldock created a crossing opportunity but he couldn’t pick out a team-mate, this coming before Ben Reeves hooked an effort over the top midway through the half following a quick break.
Vale’s first opportunity came on 11 minutes when JJ Hooper saw a shot blocked on the edge of the box while, at the other end, Mehmet saved comfortably from Barnes.
Dons’ strong start continued and Kieran Agard was denied by Deniz Mehmet after good work by Ed Upson, however, it wouldn’t have counted if he had found the net as the offside flag was up.
The former went even closer on five minutes when, after Vale failed to clear a corner, Barnes fired a low shot against the outside of the post from 20 yards.
The men from MK1 were the first to threaten inside three minutes when Harvey Barnes latched on to Dean Lewington’s ball down the line and won a corner. From the resulting set-piece, the captain saw a close-range effort well blocked.
Robbie Neilson named an unchanged side for the trip to Staffordshire while Nicky Maynard returned to the substitutes’ bench after recovering from injury.
The men from MK1 created numerous chances throughout the afternoon with Kieran Agard, Harvey Barnes, Robbie Muirhead and George Williams all going close but they were unable to find a breakthrough.