REPORT: Cardiff 0-0 MK Dons: Point apiece in wet Wales

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MK Dons battled to a gruelling 0-0 draw against Cardiff City on Saturday to remain outside the Championship drop zone.

Torrential rain around the Welsh capital threatened to call the game off, but a pitch inspection from referee Kevin Johnson saw that the game go ahead, pending further rain.

Neither side really looked like scoring though, despite the Bluebirds hitting the upright late in the first half. Former City striker Nicky Maynard squandered Dons’ best chance in the second half, blasting over from close range as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils and to stay a point above the drop zone in 20th.

But with the weather holding until 3pm, it meant George Baldock made his MK Dons return, having been recalled from his loan spell with Oxford United, replacing Jordan Spence at right back. Deadline day signing Alex Revell ineligible to play against his former club, while fellow newcomer Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was on the bench.

The soaking conditions made it difficult for either team to play the ball along the ground, with the recently relaid Cardiff City pitch sponging the water up. It meant both sides opened up trying to exploit the pace of their front men by sending balls over the top. Both keepers though, despite the ever-increasing downpour, kept their powders dry.

When either did get the ball down, there was some nice football being played. Dons looked comfortable on the ball without really creating much, though they did threaten down the right-hand side through Baldock and Rob Hall. Cardiff too were playing some nice stuff, trying to use the physical dominance of Sammy Ameobi down their right to make gains. But with both defences well on top of the strikers, there was little in the way of goal-mouth action.

Cardiff though did have the best chance of the opening half five minutes before the interval when the Dons defence was caught napping at a corner, allowing Tom Lawrence to get a header off, but the visitors were saved by the upright.

And Dons had David Martin to thank for going in goal-less when he made a brilliant save to deny Stuart O’Keefe from point blank range in the last minute of the half as Cardiff ended the stronger.

And they started the second half stronger too, with three great chances going begging in the opening 10 minutes, with O’Keefe again forcing a fine stop from Martin, while Scott Malone and Tom Lawrence both shot off target.

Former Cardiff man Nicky Maynard was having a lonely time of it up front for Dons, but when he did find himself some space, wasted his chance. Finally afforded the chance to run with the ball, he made it past three City defenders, but when faced with keeper David Marshall on the corner of the six yard box, blasted his shot high and wide.

It would be his last involvement though, as Robinson called for reinforcements, introducing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Josh Murphy, with Jonny Williams also making way. His first involvement was to run half the length of the pitch, shrugging off the Cardiff back line only to over hit his pass to Hall.

Cardiff though continued to hold the upper hand, but were only able to carve themselves half chances. Kyle McFadzean made a big block when Antony Pilkington worked himself some space in the area, but it was about as close as the home side looked like coming to scoring.

Dons almost nicked it late on though, when Emmanuel-Thomas bounced off two defenders to tee up Jake Forster-Caskey, but Marshall got across his line well to keep it out.

There was still time for Cardiff to force the issue in stoppage time though, but for some brave defending from George Baldock and Dean Bowditch to deny the home side.

The result sees Dons remain outside the relegation zone in 20th.

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 13,833

Cardiff City: Marshall, Fabio, Malone, Connolly, Manga, Ameobi (Zohore 77), O’Keefe, Ralls, Whittingham, Lawrence, Pilkington (Macheda 87)

Subs not used: Moore, Peltier, Gunnarsson, Dikgacoi, Immers

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Walsh, McFadzean, Baldock, Potter, Forster-Caskey, Carruthers, Hall (Bowditch 87), Williams (Murphy 68), Maynard (Emmanuel-Thomas 68)

Subs not used: Cropper, Spence, Rasulo, Powell