MK Dons were forced to settle for a point against Blackpool, as they made it seven points from a possible nine from their three-game home stretch.
It was a match there for the taking for Dan Micciche’s side, who went close on several occasions through Peter Pawlett, Chuks Aneke and Robbie Muirhead.
In the end, they left with a point – a result which sees them move back to within a point of safety in Sky Bet League One.
Micciche was forced into making three changes to his side with Osman Sow sidelined due to a knock, Callum Brittain away on international duty and Robbie Muirhead only able to make the bench after returning from Andorra in the early hours of the morning, having been there with Scotland Under-21s.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Ousseynou Cisse and Kieran Agard were the trio who came in while there was a place among the substitutes for Nigel Reo-Coker, who signed a short-term deal with the Dons on Thursday.
It took until the 10th minute for the game’s first shot to arrive. It was Kyle Vassell with the effort – a low left-footed daisy-cutter that Lee Nicholls gathered comfortably. That chance was followed up quickly by a long-distance drive from Jay Spearing which sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
Peter Pawlett headed wide with the Dons’ first opportunity – the midfielder did well to meet the cross from Dean Lewington but couldn’t direct his header on target. Kieran Agard then came close to latching onto Ebanks-Landell’s through pass however he was denied by some good defending from Curtis Tilt.
Agard was involved again on 23 minutes to create a chance for Chuks Aneke. After racing into the area, he found the Dons’ number 10, who turned his man and produced a save out of Joe Lumley with a right-footed shot.
Micciche’s men were growing into the contest and they were denied an opener on the half-hour mark by a strong Lumley save – the Blackpool stopper did well to get his right arm to Pawlett’s driven attempt and keep it from finding the net.
The Tangerines fired back soon after with their first real attack for over 20 minutes. Colin Daniel delivered a teasing low ball into the area but Elliott Ward did brilliantly to slide in, intercept the cross and hook clear from danger.
Winger Viv Solomon-Otabor then flashed an effort wide before the Dons threatened from an Upson corner in the closing stages of the first half – Cisse met the delivery but Ward, with his back to goal, couldn’t convert inside the six-yard box.
It remained goalless through to half-time although Blackpool went close to changing that right at the start of the second period however Solomon-Otabor couldn’t keep his effort down at the far post after connecting with a deep cross.
The Dons then had a penalty appeal ignored by referee despite it appearing as though George Williams had been tripped while aiming to pounce on a loose ball inside the area. Play continued and Pawlett almost took advantage but saw his shot saved by Lumley.
Just past the hour, looking to create something from nothing, Aneke sent an ambitious lob from 25-yards just a couple of yards wide of the left upright. Micciche then introduced Muirhead off the bench in place of Ebanks-Landell, who played well on his return to the starting XI.
Solomon-Otabor had a decent opportunity to create a chance for his side in the 70th minute but he couldn’t pick out a teammate after moving into the area unopposed. At the other end, Lumley was forced into action to palm away a stinging drive from Muirhead.
Ugbo then entered the contest, replacing Kieran Agard.
Lumley was called upon again with 15 minutes to play, forced to tip Wootton’s looping header over the crossbar. From the resulting corner, Aneke fired into the side netting from a tight angle.
Aneke was presented with another opening two minutes later but slipped after turning in the area and therefore his shot lacked the power needed to trouble the Blackpool goalkeeper.
Cisse was forced off with an injury on 81 minutes, which allowed Brandon Thomas-Asante to enter the contest. He and fellow substitute Muirhead soon combined to create a chance for Ugbo, whose first-time shot was kept out by Lumley.
Five minutes of stoppage time were awarded at the end of the tightly-contested contest, just moments after Blackpool substitute Sean Longstaff rattled the crossbar.
In the third of those five additional minutes, the Dons were awarded a free-kick inside the D for a foul on Aneke. The striker took the set-piece himself but curled his effort over Lumley’s goal.
There was one more chance for the Dons in the dying seconds as Aneke teed up Lewington for a strike on the edge of the box. The skipper found the net with his drive but it didn’t count, with the whistle having already been blown for full-time.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Wootton, Ward, Ebanks-Landell (Muirhead 66); Williams, Pawlett, Upson, Cisse (Thomas-Asante 81), Lewington (c); Aneke, Agard (Ugbo 73).
Unused subs: Sietsma, Jackson, Reo-Coker, McGrandles.
Referee: G Horwood
Attendance: 8,094 (490 away)