Football: Rochdale 0 - 0 MK Dons
Date published: 21 February 2018
Photo: Jackie Meredith
Rochdale v MK Dons
Rochdale moved off the bottom of League One with a goalless draw at home to fellow strugglers MK Dons.
Despite a dominant opening fifteen minutes in which Dale twice struck the crossbar, they just could not maintain the level which saw them take Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur to a replay.
The second half was a rather dull affair in which neither goalkeeper was genuinely tested.
After the magnificent game at the weekend, this evenings clash against third bottom MK Dons was always likely to be a damp squib in comparison to the FA Cup game, not least with the attendance being around a quarter of that three days ago - just 2,273 attended this relegation scrap and those that attended will have been thinking a Dale win was on the cards after the opening exchanges.
Dale certainly took the game to their opponents, who were yet to earn a point under new manager Dan Micciche after five previous attempts.
Played at a high tempo, Rochdale tried to force the issue and when Done sent a dangerous cross in from the left visiting defender Elliott Ward sliced his clearance off his own crossbar as Dale went close.
Four minutes later and the best chance of the game fell to Andy Cannon. The midfielder latched onto a Callum Camps through ball and after dropping his shoulder to make space, thumped a dipping shot back off the face of the bar.
Joe Rafferty sent a dangerous low ball across the face of goal on the half hour mark and Stephen Humphry’s and Matt Done came agonisingly close to connecting as they slid in.
It took until the 34th minute for MK Dons to register a shot on target, Kieren Agard shooting tamely at Lillis in the Dale goal.
The second half never really got going with both sides lacking that little bit of quality in the final third.
Keith Hill made a double change after an hour, with Scott Wiseman replacing Joe Rafferty and Sunday’s FA Cup hero Stephen Davies replaced Fulham loanee Stephen Humphrys, but neither could spark Dale into life.
Ian Henderson flashed a header just wide and at the other end Wiseman bravely blocked a goal-bound shot after a dangerous corner from the left.
In the end, a draw was probably just about a fair result and though neither side will have wanted a draw at the start of the game a point could be a crucial come May.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty (Wiseman 59), McGahey, McNulty, Delaney, Done, Camps, Cannon, Kitching, Henderson ©, Humphrys (Davies 59)
Subs: (not used) Moore, Rathbone, Inman, Knott, Hart
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Wootton, Ward, Lewington ©, Tymon, Cisse, McGrandles (Brittain 65), Nesbit (Muirhead 65), Agard, Ugbo
Subs: (not used) Sietsma, Rasulo, Jackson, Thomas-Assante, Kasumu
Referee: Mr R Joyce
Assistants:Mr A Pashley and Mr C Taylor