MK Dons battled back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Portsmouth at Stadium MK and extend their unbeaten run to five games.
Mark Jackson’s men fell behind to a Connor Ogilvie goal on the quarter-hour mark but then saw their visitors reduced to 10 men following a straight red card shown to Joe Morrell.
The Dons made their man advantage count in the second half, levelling the scores through Mo Eisa with 25 minutes left to play and earning themselves another crucial point.
With six games remaining, they sit 19th in the Sky Bet League One table, three points clear of the bottom four.
Jackson named the same unchanged starting XI and substitutes bench from last weekend’s trip to Adams Park, which meant Anthony Stewart made his Stadium MK bow in defence.
Alongside him was Dean Lewington, who took his career league appearance tally to 788, moving him alongside David James for seventh all-time in English football history.
The Dons were awarded an early chance on goal four minutes in when Mo Eisa was bundled over, five yards from the edge of the D. Eisa took the free-kick himself but was denied by Matt Macey’s diving save.
From the resulting corner, there were two opportunities for Jack Tucker top open the scoring. His initial effort, a header, was blocked by a Portsmouth defender and then he failed to connect with a right-footed swing at the ball from 10 yards out.
Portsmouth then threatened for the first time through Owen Dale, but his attempt was blocked by Lewington. Minutes later, from a Michael Jacobs corner, Jamie Cumming was called into action to keep out Sean Raggett’s header.
It was the away side who took the lead on the quarter-hour mark, following a quickly taken free-kick. Raggett sent a deep ball into the area and found OGILVIE at the back post and did well to send his volley past Cumming from a tight angle. 0-1.
Pompey broke forward again with 22 minutes played but Jacobs’ cross in from the left was too close to Cumming and he adjusted his position well to collect near his goalline.
The Dons slowly started to grow back into the match and just past the half-hour they worked a good attacking move, resulting in a chance for Harvie, who saw his right-footed try deflect over the bar.
Stewart got his head to the corner that followed but wasn’t able to direct it on target. Luckily, it fell back to McEachran and his second delivery made it through to Grant – he, though, took an air-shot from just inside the area and the attack fizzled out.
Jackson’s men went back on the attack and Paris Maghoma did well to drive down the right and send a low ball across the six-yard box. Unfortunately for him, and the Dons, neither Eisa nor Grant were able to connect.
McEachran tried again to create something from a set-piece on minutes but his free-kick delivery was flicked away from danger by Raggett. Pompey were able to deal with the resulting corner but were left with 10 men as a result – Morrell shown a straight red card by referee Carl Brook following an off-the-ball incident with Harvie.
The Dons, willed on by the home crowd, pushed forward, looking to make their man advantage count before half-time. The closest they came, though, was a Leko chance which flew high and wide of the target from 20 yards out.
They made a fast start to the second half, working their way into the Portsmouth box after only 90 seconds but Grant wasn’t able to tee up Harvie, following Leko’s good work down the right.
Tucker almost pulled the Dons level in stunning fashion a minute later but his goal-bound long-range drive was tipped around the post by Macey. There then appeared to be an opening for Leko but he wasn’t able to bring Maghoma’s through pass under control.
Eisa got a deft touch to McEachran’s free-kick on 54 minutes but a Portsmouth defender was behind him and able to prevent the effort reaching goal. Eisa was then joined in attack by Will Grigg, who came on to replace Stewart soon after.
The MK Dons number 10 was the target of McEachran’s pass in the 56th minute but was unable to create a shooting chance, owing to some good defending from Clark Robertson.
Jackson made a second change just past the hour, replacing Grant with Nathan Holland over on the left-hand side. His side were level soon after.
The equaliser came from a corner, played short and then into Maghoma on the edge of the area. The midfielder went for goal and saw his effort blocked but EISA was alert to chase down the loose ball and, despite a difficult angle, the striker managed to fire his low, left-footed shot past Macey and into the net. 1-1.
Pompey rallied after conceding but the Dons wrestled back control and went close to taking the lead through Harvie with a little under a quarter of an hour left to play – the Scot got onto Leko’s low cross but saw his effort headed away by Robertson.
There was an opening for Eisa with seven minutes left on the clock but his shot was blocked. Portsmouth countered but Tucker denied Dale a chance on goal with a terrific tackle midway inside his own half.
Soon after, Maghoma tried his luck from a Holland corner cleared out to him on the edge of the box. His effort, though, sailed over the crossbar.
Five minutes of added time were awarded by the fourth official and in the third of those, Portsmouth went within an inch of restoring their lead but substitute Joe Pigott saw his strike clip the crossbar on its way over from 18 yards.
The Dons were also forced to deal with a late long throw sent into the area by Pack, which they did – earning them another point in their bid to retain their Sky Bet League One status.
MK Dons: Cumming, Watson, Lewington, Tucker, McEachran, Eisa, Leko, Grant (Holland 62), Stewart (Grigg, 56), Harvie (Jules 90+5), Maghoma.
Subs: Ravizzoli, B Johnson, Lawrence, Devoy
Goal: Eisa (65)
Portsmouth: Macey, Ogilvie, Pack, Bishop, Dale Pigott (90+2), Morrell, Rafferty, Raggett, Jacobs (Robertson 46), Lowery (Tunnicliffe 78), Bernard.
Subs: Oluwayemi, Hackett, Scarlett, Thompson.
Goal: Ogilvie (14)
Booked: Ogilvie, Pack, Raggett, Bishop
Sent off: Morrell
Referee: C Brook
Attendance: 11,395 (4,171 away)