REPORT: Crewe 0-0 MK Dons: Ten man Dons take a point at Crewe
MK Dons continue their unbeaten record under Paul Tisdale after a thrilling goal-less draw with Crewe at Gresty Road on Saturday.
Kieran Agard headed onto the bar in the opening half before Ryan Watson forced a top stop from keeper Dave Richards in the second but it would be the visitors holding on late in the day, when Mathieu Baudry was sent off with a minute to go, just seven minutes into his debut.
With other clubs around them also losing their 100 per cent records, Dons remain level with the pace setters Exeter City, Lincoln and Stevenage on seven points.
After making four changes to the side in midweek for the Carabao Cup win over Charlton, Paul Tisdale reverted to the side which beat Bury a week prior to their trip to Crewe with one exception - Ouss Cisse kept his place after two impressive displays, taking over from Dylan Asonganyi, who dropped to the bench. There were first mentions too for Stuart Moore, Lawson
D'Ath and Mathieu Baudry, on the bench for the first time since signing in the summer.
Crewe were 6-0 winners in their league opener against Morecambe at Gresty Road, and they started the brighter as Dons' defence looked a little caught out, defending in number as the home side sought an early lead.
The game barely settled in the opening half hour. As Dons settled and established themselves in the game, they looked to have the run of the midfield play going forwards, but let slip Crewe's runners at the other end, and it meant the back three of Jordan Moore-Taylor, George Williams and Joe Walsh had to be on constant watch as the home side filled the box.
For the back-and-forth nature of the game, neither goalkeeper was really given much to do in the opening half. Lee Nicholls, who earlier in the week said he had made just one diving save so far this season, had one to make in the opening minute of the game, while Dave Richards at the other had Kieran Agard's surprising effort from 30 yards to watch sail over his bar.
Dons' most potent attacks seemed to come out of the blue, and could well have taken the lead when Cisse chased down a lost cause and got to it first, whipping a cross towards Agard who appeared quite surprised to get his head to it, nodding it into the ground before seeing it clip off the bar.
The pattern continued into the second period, with both sides fancying their chances. Dons began to look more of a threat going forwards, much aided by Crewe's biggest threats of Callum Ainley and Jordan Bowery making way as manager David Artell tried to change things up.
Dave Richards made his first real save midway through the half when Ryan Watson's touch and volley was arrowing for the bottom corner but for the keeper's intervention.
With one goal looking like it would be enough to separate the sides, Nicholls was called into action when substitute Chris Porter evaded the excellent Moore-Taylor but could not shake off Williams, eventually getting a shot away for Nicholls to block out.
Debutant Mathieu Baudry was introduced with eight minutes to go, alongside another new face in Lawson D'Ath, but the defender would last just seven minutes on the field after a shocking two-footed challenge on Harry Pickering left referee Robert Lewis with no choice but to show the red card.
Referee: Robert Lewis
Attendance: 3,505 (455)
Crewe Alexandra: Richard, Ng, Pickering, Jones, Bowery (Porter 65), Ainley (Kirk 58), Nolan, Nicholls (Miller 85), Wintle, Green, Hunt
Subs not used: Garratt, Walker, Raynes, Lowery
MK Dons: Nicholls, Walsh, Williams, Moore-Taylor, Lewington, Brittain (Baudry 82), Houghton, Watson, Gilbey (D'Ath 82), Cisse (Asonganyi 67), Agard
Subs: Moore, Hancox, Simpson, Cargill
Booked: Cisse, Kirk
Sent off: Baudry