Disappointment for Dons as Doncaster equalise late on
MK Dons suffered more late disappointment when a Cameron John goal five minutes from time earned Doncaster Rovers a point in a 1-1 draw at the Keepmoat Stadium.
After a messy but enthralling first half, Alex Gilbey fired Dons in front with a brilliant strike six minutes after the restart, but a John managed to bundle home an equaliser late on, despite huge protests from the visitors, as they had to settle for a point.
The result means they remain in the drop zone, but match the teams around them who all picked up points.
Russell Martin made two enforced changes to the side which started against Coventry City in the week. With both Baily Cargill and George Williams suspended, Regan Poole and Callum Brittain come back onto the side. The biggest team news though came on the bench with Sam Nombe named among the substitutes for the first time in two months.
Having played decent football in spells in their last two games. Dons started brightly at the Keepmoat Stadium, but both sides were littered with mistakes in the first half. It made for a thoroughly entertaining affair, even if low on quality. Alex Gilbey came closest to opening the scoring with a fine strike which was tipped wide by Rovers keeper Seny Dieng, while Joe Mason and Regan Poole both wasted good chances, failing to find the target.
At the other end, while veteran James Coppinger fired one harmlessly over the bar, Ben Whiteman forced a save from Lee Nicholls, diving to his right to deny the Rovers man.
With the game balanced nicely on a knife-edge heading into the second period, it would be Dons who made the first mark on the game six minutes after the restart. Working the ball well on the right-hand side, both Brittain and Boateng could have taken shots but as it made its way to Gilbey, the midfielder opened up and bent the ball past Dieng's dive for his second of the season.
The game did change complexion after the goal though. Gone was the fast football from the visitors, instead playing patiently, frustrating both the home side and their fans as they took the pace out.
Russell Martin though added creativity in the final third when he introduced Ben Reeves, but the biggest cheer was left for the return of Sam Nombe, who was given 16 minutes after missing the last two months.
It was Reeves though who almost gifted Doncaster a route back into the game with 10 minutes to go, cheaply losing possession in midfield, but despite Max Watters curling the ball past Nicholls' dive, the home side were denied by the offside flag.
While the flag came to their rescue though, it did not come four minutes later when Cameron James prodded the ball home from a Doncaster corner, despite huge protests from the MK Dons players waved away from referee Scott Oldham as the search for their first league win since mid-September goes on.
Referee: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 7,193 (271)
Doncaster Rovers: Dieng, Halliday, James, Sheaf (Gomes 83), Sadlier, Whiteman, Bingham (Thomas 88), May (Watters 68), Coppinger, John, Daniels
Subs not used: Jones, Wright, Longbottom, Greaves
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Walsh, Poole, Brittain, Houghton, McGrandles, Gilbey, Boateng (Reeves 64), Mason (Kasumu 90), Agard (Nombe 74)
Subs not used: Moore, Sorinola, Bowery, Dickenson
Booked: Boateng, McGrandles