A stoppage time equaliser rescued a point for Rotherham as they came from 2-0 down to draw with 10-man MK Dons.
Matty Kennedy fired Dons into the lead after just nine minutes in a half that was marred by a head injury which saw George Baldock taken to hospital. Brendan Galloway was given his marching orders for a second booking just three minutes after the restart, but it didn’t stop Dons from doubling the lead when Izale McLeod chipped over keeper Adam Collin.
But as Rotherham threw the kitchen sink at Dons, their pressure eventually told when Michael O’Connor pulled one back with 11 minutes to go, before Alex Revell headed in the equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Karl Robinson welcomed back Dele Alli to the centre of midfield after missing Easter Monday’s 2-2 draw with Brentford. Daniel Powell missed out though, unable to shake off the injury he picked up in that game. Ryan Hall came in to replace him, while Giorgio Rasulo also dropped to the bench.
And it was a lively start at the New York Stadium, with both sides playing quick passes and lively attacking football. It meant both sides had decent opportunities in the opening five minutes too, with Lee Frecklington firing one just wide of David Martin’s post for the home side, while Dele Alli couldn’t pick out either Izale McLeod or Alan Smith when his tricky run got him to the byline.
It looked like there was an early goal in the game, and it came after just nine minutes in favour of the away side. Ryan Hall, who looked keen to impress in the opening exchanges, beat former Dons loanee James Tavernier to get into a crossing position. Pulling the ball across, McLeod was just too deep but the ball was perfect for Matty Kennedy to rifle past Adam Collin to give Dons the lead.
While it didn’t slow the tempo of the game any, it certainly turned the atmosphere up a notch as the home fans began to get more than a little vocal about what they saw as some refereeing bias from Graham Salisbury.
Dons though limited the home side out on the field despite having less of the ball. Michael O’Connor did come close for Rotherham though, rooting Martin to the spot with his half-volley from 25 yards. Fortunately for the visitors though, it was wide of the mark.
There were lengthy delays to proceedings when George Baldock went down with a head injury, requiring work to be carried out on him on the field before he could be stretchered off and taken to hospital. Tom Flanagan, who had only been recalled from his loan at Stevenage on Friday, replaced him after the 11 minute stoppage.
Dons continued to frustrate the home supporters with some patient, and at times physical football, which the locals took offence at. In front of goal though, they barely threatened Martin’s net, though they were the only ones putting in leg work in the attacking third.
Dons were dealt another blow to their defence when Brendan Galloway battled with Kieran Agard, and though the Rotherham man had an arm-full of MK Dons shirt, the pair tangled legs and Galloway, who had already been booked, was given his marching orders.
With the wind in their sails, the home side were all hands to the pump in a bid to get the equaliser. And it should have come but for some excellent goalkeeping from David Martin, twinned with some awful finishing in front of goal. Martin had to be quick off his line when Alex Revell’s initial shot was blocked by Spence, but the rebound fell the way of Nicky Adams. The keeper though was rapidly in Adams’ face, making himself big and getting a strong leg to the shot.
Barely 30 seconds later, Frecklington was given too much time and space on the edge of the penalty area, but incredibly blasted his shot over the crossbar, letting Dons off the hook.
And they were made to pay the price with 18 minutes to go when Dons doubled their advantage. With Rotherham throwing everything at the 10 men, their defence was caught high up the field. So when Alli intercepted on half way, he quickly broke forward before sliding in McLeod. Still with a lot to do, McLeod awaited Joe Skarz to commit himself before cutting back onto his left foot and lifting the ball over Collin, silencing the home support.
They found their voices with 11 minutes to go though, when O’Connor pounced on Tavernier’s deflected cross, sending Martin the wrong way from 12 yards to bring Rotherham back within one.
Dons did their level best to bring out as much frustration from the Millers as they killed time at set pieces and with substitutions, even walking with the ball in the attacking third, inviting the challenge from the Rotherham defence.
But their best wasn’t enough as the resistance finally broke in the fifth minute of stoppage time, when Alex Revell rose high to head in across the face of goal into the top corner, rescuing a point for the play-off contenders.
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 9,405 (347)
Rotherham: Collin, Tavernier, Arnason, Morgan, Skarz, Pringle, Frecklington (Hitchcock 78), O’Connor, Milsom (Adams 29 (Thomas 78)), Revell, Agard
Subs not used: Shearer, Brindley, Davis, Vuckic
MK Dons: Martin, Baldock (Flanagan 41), Spence, Lewington, Galloway, Gleeson, Alli, Hall (Loveridge 67), Kennedy, Smith (Randall 50), McLeod
Subs not used: Burns, Rasulo
Booked: Alli, Galloway, Martin, Kennedy
Sent off: Galloway