MK Dons beat the snow to host their Sky Bet League One clash with Bristol Rovers but they weren’t able to take advantage, falling to a 1-0 defeat at Stadium MK.
Ellis Harrison’s goal on 49 minutes proved the difference on a day when the Dons failed to take up the opportunity to close the gap on the teams above them. They remain 22nd in Sky Bet League One, six points adrift of safety.
Boss Micciche named an unchanged starting XI for the visit of Rovers although did welcome back Ed Upson to the matchday squad - the pair, who had been missing due to suspension and injury respectively, were among the substitutes.
The Dons started well and threatened inside the opening minute. Chuks Aneke moved into the area and crossed for Robbie Muirhead but a defender got there first to turn behind. From the resulting corner, a scramble led to a chance for Callum Brittain however he shot wide.
On six minutes, Muirhead delivered a teasing ball into the box which was well claimed by Sam Slocombe above Aneke and Ike Ugbo.
Rovers then fired their first warning side in the 10th minute through Ellis Harrison, who beat the offside trap but couldn’t bring a through pass under control inside the area. The attack did lead to a shooting opportunity for Liam Sercombe but Lewington got in the way of his strike.
The Dons responded with a 25-yard drive from Muirhead which flew just over the crossbar. The number 16 then went close again with a left-volley which bounced wide of the left upright.
Rovers grew into the contest and midway through the first half, winger Kyle Bennett saw a goal-bound low shot blocked by Wooton’s outstretched leg. A better chance fell to Sercombe moments later but he was denied by a strong save from Lee Nicholls, diving down to his left. Joe Partington then headed wide from a corner.
Late in the half, the Dons had a decent penalty shout turned down as referee Antony Coggins waved away appeals for a foul on Muirhead inside the area. Cisse was booked for his protests.
Nicholls then ensured the teams went into the break level with another brilliant diving save to keep out Sercombe’s attempt.
The visitors started the second half well and early on it took a block from Ward to deny Harrison. Four minutes later, there was nothing the Dons could do to prevent Harrison from breaking the deadlock as the Rovers number 9 found the far corner of the net with an audacious lobbed attempt from the left side of the area. 0-1.
Micciche’s men went close to an immediate equaliser but Wootton headed over from six-yards out after doing well to connect with Muirhead’s corner. From another set-piece delivery, George Williams produced a save out of Slocombe at his near post.
Aneke created an opening for Brittain on 60 minutes but his low ball across the six-yard box went untouched. Later, Tymon sent in a cross which was just above the head of Ugbo.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Slocombe produced an excellent diving stop to palm away Muirhead’s on-target drive. Micciche then introduced Kieran Agard off the bench, in the hope that one of his leading goalscorers would inspire a comeback.
Winger Aidan Nesbitt was also brought on but other than a cross from Aneke which went untouched through area, neither he nor is teammates could create a final chance to grab an equaliser.
Starting XI: Nicholls; Williams, Wootton, Ward, Lewington (c) Tymon (Agard 76); Muirhead, Brittain (Nesbitt 85), Cisse (Upson 57), Ugbo; Aneke.
Unused subs: Sietsma, Jackson, McGrandles, Sow.
Referee: A Coggins
Booked: Cisse, Britain, Aneke
Attendance: 8,240 (1,138 away)