Dons are just a point away from the Championship relegation zone after a goal-less draw away at Charlton and Rotherham beat Middlesbrough.
In a game void of clear-cut chances, Dons edged proceedings in the first 45 minutes but failed to capitalise on a poor Addicks performance. The second half saw roles reversed, though Charlton too failed to make hay, and ended the game with 10 men after the sending off of substitute Yaya Sanogo in stoppage time.
But a Lee Frecklington strike two minutes from time in the game between Rotherham and Middlesbrough means the gap to the relegation zone was closed to just a point with 10 games remaining.
Despite putting in a man of the match performance against QPR, he dropped to the substitutes bench as Karl Robinson continued to rotate his front line. Nicky Maynard led the line, while the other change saw Jake Forster-Caskey unable to shake off the foot injury he picked up on Saturday, with Samir Carruthers slotting in to replace him.
With both sides battling it out at the bottom of the table, it was an understandably tentative opening half hour. Dons just about shaded possession, and looked the more dangerous side going forward, but chances were few and far between. Maynard, leading the line, had an early sight of goal, but squandered his chance with a tame shot which was easy for Nick Pope to fall on at his near post.
Josh Murphy was having an enigmatic game, with moments of decent play mixed with the indifferent. One of his finer moments came when he ran across the face of goal and bent a shot goalwards, but he just didn’t have enough on it to trouble Pope.
Charlton looked every bit a side at the wrong end of the table at times, and struggled to create. But they were almost gifted an opener when Antony Kay looked to leave a ball to keeper David Martin, but the loose ball was pounced on by Johann Gudmundsson. Martin was quick to react though and was able to clear.
Having looked distinctly second best in the first half, Charlton came out for the second half full of fire and suddenly had Dons on the back foot. Jorge Teixeira headed straight at Martin, but the keeper was at full stretch to ensure Jordan Cousins’ strike was bending wide, though it wasn’t too far past the post.
But substitutes from both sides appeared to initially stunt the game’s flow, but they all began to make an impact as both sides began to throw caution to the wind towards the end. Yaya Sanogo was inches away from converting Zakarya Bergdich’s cross for Charlton, while Ben Reeves had two shots off target at the other.
But while the atmosphere in The Valley was reaching fever pitch, the action on it was far from spectacular. Samir Carruthers had a glorious chance in stoppage time when played through by Darren Potter, but incredibly lifted it over the top.
There was a flash point in the final minute too when Sanogo was sent off for an off the ball incident involving Antony Kay which earned him a straight red card, as Dons managed to hold out under pressure to take a point.
But Rotherham’s late winner against Middlesbrough means the gap is down to just a single point between Dons and the drop zone.
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 13,146 (532)
Charlton: Pope; Motta, Fanni, Teixeira, Fox; Gudmundsson, Cousins, Poyet (Bergdich 71), Suk-Young; Harriott (Sanogo 58), Makienok (Lookman 83)
Subs not used: Mitov, Johnson, Holmes-Dennis, Ghoochannejhad
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Kay, McFadzean, Baldock, Carruthers, Potter, Bowditch (Reeves 61), Murphy, Williams (Hall 54), Maynard (Revell 69)
Subs not used: Cropper, Spence, Powell, Emmanuel-Thomas
Booked: Bowditch, McFadzean, Carruthers
Sent off: Sanogo