REPORT: Rochdale 0-0 MK Dons: Strugglers battle it out for a stalemate

Josh Tymon.'Pic: OMHRugby
Josh Tymon.'Pic: OMHRugby

MK Dons picked up their first point under Dan Micciche on Wednesday night as they drew 0-0 with fellow relegation strugglers Rochdale.

The home side hit the bar twice in the opening 12 minutes, first through a Scott Wootton miscued clearance and then through Andrew Cannon - probably the stand-out player on the night.

But after that, chances were a rare sight. Kieran Agard squandered a one-on-one in the first half and Ike Ugbo fired over from close range as Dons grew into it but failed to get the key goal.

The second half was a scrappy affair, and with neither able to force a save from either keeper, the outcome was inevitable.

Dons were most notably without Chuks Aneke, Osman Sow and Peter Pawlett from the side which travelled to Rochdale, meaning it was a threadbare bench named by Dan Micciche.

There were two changes to the side which lost to Charlton on Saturday, with Scott Wootton and Aidan Nesbitt returning to the side at the expense of Robbie Muirhead and Callum Brittain.

Such has been Dons' luck this season, they almost fell behind in comical fashion after just nine minutes when Scott Wootton attempted to clear Matt Done's cross, but saw it come off his shin and onto the bar before bouncing to safety.

Four minutes later, the home side had the woodwork rattling again, this time as Andrew Cannon thumped the crossmember after cutting inside Dean Lewington with ease.

Dale were left wondering what they had to do to take the lead when, on the half hour, Joseph Rafferty's cross somehow evaded everyone as it zipped through the six yard box - a third let off for Dons.

They should have been made to pay for it too but Josh Lillis was quick off his line to deny Kieran Agard when he latched on to Nesbitt's cute flick, while Ike Ugbo blasted over the top when he was afforded space in the box a couple of minutes later.

With both sides battling it out at the wrong end of the table, the play was beginning to tell with the second half exchanges. Chances were few and far between, and those that did come barely troubled either keeper.

Micciche's substitutes did little to change things, though the introduction of Callum Brittain in the centre of the park for the struggling Conor McGrandles gave Dons a brief momentum shift as he drove the team forwards.

It would quickly fizzle out though, and despite a brief period of pressure from the home side in stoppage time, a draw would ultimately be all she wrote.

Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 2,273 (80)

Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty (Wiseman 59), McNulty, McGahey, Humphrys (Davies 59), Camps, Done, Delaney, Connon, Kitching, Henderson
Subs not used: Rathbone, Inman, Moore, Knott, Hart

MK Dons: Nicholls, Ward, Wootton, Lewington, Tymon, Williams, McGrandles (Brittain 74), Cisse, Nesbitt (Muirhead 65), Ugbo, Agard
Subs not used: Siestma, Rasulo, Jackson, Thomas-Asante, Kasumu

Booked: Cannon, McGrandles, Ward