Dons’ booked their spot in the play-offs in the most unspectacular of fashions after a dreadful 0-0 draw with Port Vale at Vale Park.
On a pot-marked pitch, neither side were able to play the ball along the ground with any effectiveness. And with neither able to create anything resembling a chance, it made for an all round frustrating afternoon.
Dons’ only solice from the game is the confirmation of at least a top six spot after the day’s play, and perhaps was the sharing of points at Deepdale, where Preston and Bristol City played out a 1-1 draw, meaning the five point gap remains between Karl Robinson’s side and automatic promotion.
Despite having won four on the spin, the Dons boss made three changes to the side which beat Scunthorpe 2-0 in midweek, though one was enforced. Captain Dean Lewington picked up a knee injury while training on Friday, ruling him out. He was replaced by Joe Walsh. Further up the field, Dean Bowditch and Daniel Powell returned to the starting line-up as Lewis Baker and Rob Hall dropped to the bench. With five loan players already in the squad, Devante Cole missed out and only six substitutes were named.
The opening 20 minutes passed without any incident. On a bobbling surface, neither side were able to make effective use of the ball as they struggled to control it.
And that problem reared it’s ugly head in the 28th minute when, rolled the ball by David Martin, Darren Potter miscontrolled the ball and fouled Ben Williamson who pinched it off his toe. It appeared as though the stand-in skipper was the last man, but only received a yellow card. Michael O’Connor’s resultant free kick was straight at Martin.
It was just about the highlight of an awful first half, which Dons grew into as they neared half time, but failed to create anything noteworthy.
The second half continued in a similarly frustrating vein. Neither side really were able to create anything as both keepers kept their powder dry.
Robinson rolled the dice on the hour mark by making a double change, replacing Dele Alli and Daniel Powell with Lewis Baker and Rob Hall - two of the stars in the 2-0 win against Scunthorpe.
But they didn’t really bring anything new to the table. In fact it was Vale substitute Mohamed Coulibaly who came closest to making an impact, whipping his 67th minute strike just over the bar.
As time ticked down, both sides began to throw caution to the wind, but still chances came at a premium and despite getting into dangerous looking positions, nothing came to pass.
Vale had a chance to snatch an unlikely goal with the final play of the game, but Mark Marshall couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet, and Lee Hodson was able to clear off the line.
Dons travel to Fleetwood on Tuesday night to get the promotion hunt restarted.
Referee: Nigel Miller
Attendance: 4379 (383)
Port Vale: Neal, Dickinson, Duffy, Dodds (Coulibaly 61), Williamson (Pope 79), O’Connor, Collins, Brown, Marshall, Veseli, Campion
Subs not used: Johnson, Yates, Robertson, Birchall, O’Sullivan, Coulibaly
MK Dons: Martin, Hodson, McFadzean, Kay, Walsh, Potter, Alli (Baker 61), Bowditch, Carruthers, Powell (Hall 61), Grigg
Subs not used: Burns, Spence, Green, Hitchcock
Booked: Collins, Potter, Carruthers, Walsh