It was disappointing comeback to terra firma for MK Dons on Tuesday night as they drew 0-0 with Northampton Town at Stadium MK.
While the 2-0 win on the road against AFC Wimbledon was a lively affair, it was totally the opposite five days later. There were few chances, little in the way of decent football and a general lacklustre feel about the game as Dons locked horns with the Cobblers, who also provided little in the way of drama and excitement.
Following their derby victory over AFC Wimbledon, MK Dons remained unchanged for their clash with Northampton Town on Tuesday night. Among the Cobblers team, Daniel Powell and Alex Revell were in the starting line-up, while Dean Bowditch was on the substitute's bench.
After the excitement and pantomime of the trip to Kingston on Friday, there was a sense of an anticlimax ahead of the clash with Northampton. While Dons perhaps raised their game for Friday night's clash, the certainly didn't show the same energy against their nearest rivals, who in turn looked the more likely to open the scoring.
It wasn't much of an opening half though. While Northampton's high pressing line threatened to be the more dangerous, it didn't bring about many chances for them. Daniel Powell was proving to be the biggest thorn in the side for the home side, twice firing off target while enjoying some space on the Cobblers left.
While they didn't have many chances to speak of, Gboly Ariyibi's fierce 25 yard effort, which fizzed just past Matt Ingram's post, with the keeper at full stretch, was Dons' only real effort eight minutes before the break.
His performances of late have raised questions as to his worth in the side, and the night was turning out like that again for Aaron Tshibola, but he forced a save from Ingram early in the second period with a fierce strike from range though it was again the visitors who had most of the early ball. Once again though, they failed to make much impact on Nicholls' goal.
Dean Bowditch, a half time change for the Cobblers, nearly scored a goal so typical of his time as Stadium MK, cutting in from the left onto his right foot and taking aim at the far post, but Nicholls was wise to it, though it required a top stop from the keeper.
At the other end, another substitute in the form of Aidan Nesbitt almost got the home side in front, but despite rounding Ingram, he couldn't quite turn the ball goalwards.
But like in the first half, the chances fizzled out along with the game itself. The visitors pumped ball after ball into the area, but never threatened Nicholls' goal.
Dons had a late chance to win it, somewhat unjustly, when Kieran Agard was sent through and he too rounded Ingram, but his cross was cut out with Robbie Muirhead unmarked at the far post.
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
MK Dons: Nicholls, Brittain, Wootton, Williams, Williams, Golbourne, Cisse, Gilbey, Ariyibi, Tshibola (Agard 72) , Sow (Muirhead 79), Seager (Nesbitt (55)
Subs not used: Siestma, Lewington, Upson, Ebanks-Landell
Northampton Town: Ingram, Moloney, Buchanan, Taylor, Revell (Richards 88), Powell, Pierre, Crooks (Bowditch 46), Poole, Hanley (Hoskins 72), Grimes
Subs not used: Cornell, Kasin, Barnett, Waters