REPORT: MK Dons 0-1 Bristol Rovers: Dons get frozen out again

Robbie Muirhead felt he deserved a penalty in the first half
Robbie Muirhead felt he deserved a penalty in the first half

It was a familiar story at Stadium MK as MK Dons lost by a single goal to Bristol Rovers on a freezing Saturday afternoon.

Dons fans were out early to shovel snow to ensure the game went ahead, but they may have wished they hadn't bothered as Dons' winless run was extended to nine games thanks to Ellis Harrison's chip four minutes into the second period.

The miserable run has seen Dons pick up just four points from a possible 30, and the performance against Rovers gave little in the way of confidence that manager Dan Micciche can keep his promise of keeping the club in League 1 this season.

Micciche named an unchanged side to take on Bristol Rovers. After impressing against Fleetwood and Rochdale, Callum Brittain remained in central midfield, while Ed Upson and Osman Sow returned to the squad, named among the substitutes.

Still seeking their first win under Micciche, Dons started much the brighter. In fact, they could have been ahead inside 30 seconds but Robbie Muirhead was just beaten to the ball for what would have been a simple tap in.

Having netted his first goal of the season last Saturday, Muirhead was the dangerman for the home side as twice he had speculative efforts but neither were on target.

Despite the home side having by far the better of the play in the opening 20 minutes, Rovers soon found their feet and began causing Dons problems. Kyle Bennett carved himself some space in the area to get a shot off, only to see it blocked by Scott Wootton just in front of Lee Nicholls' dive, before Liam Sercombe then forced the keeper into a save, diving to his right to tip the ball around the post.

While the zip and energy ebbed from the game, that man Muirhead again was at the centre of things when his quick feet got the better of Tom Lockyer but as he looked to burst into the box, the Scot was send sprawling to the ground though no penalty was awarded, much to the disbelief of most.

Rovers though could have gone in leading at the break but for another fingertip save from Nicholls, this time from Ellis Harrison's effort from the edge of the box.

They would eventually get the breakthrough though just four minutes after the restart. Muirhead was careless in possession and gave it away, allowing Harrison to break down the Rovers left and into the area before delicately chipping Nicholls, finding the far corner of the net.

As has been so often the case under Micciche, Dons' shoulders dropped when they conceded but they huffed and puffed in a bid to get back into it. As Rovers looked content to absorb the threats, Dons had limited joy down the flanks but all too often balls into the box were without a Dons player on the end of it.

Rovers keeper Sam Slocombe was a spectator for the most part, untested until Muirhead made his dive at full stretch to his right to keep out his strike with 15 minutes to go.

But the writing was on the wall as soon as Harrison found the net, with little cutting edge and no killer instinct - another defeat and another step closer to League 2.

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 8,240 (1,138)

MK Dons: Nicholls, Wootton, Ward, Lewington, Tymon (Agard 76), Williams, Cisse (Upson 57), Brittain (Nesbitt 85), Muirhead, Ugbo, Aneke

Subs not used: Siestma, Sow, McGrandles, Jackson

Bristol Rovers: Slocome, Brown, Lockyer, Sercombe, Harrison, Lines, Moore (Clarke 66), Partington, Craig, Bennett (Gaffney 66), Russe (Sweeney 75)

Subs not used: Smith, Nichols, Telford, Mensah

Booked: Cisse, Craig, Brittain, Aneke