SHEFFIELD UNITED 0 MK DONS 0
A battling Dons performance earned a point at high flying Sheffield United this afternoon.
Karl Robinson’s men played out a 0-0 draw at Bramall Lane but they will point to a penalty claim that didn’t go their way which could have earned a highly valuable three points.
In the second half, Patrick Bamford saw his route to goal abruptly ended but there was a caution for simulation and no spot kick.
Both teams enjoyed spells of pressure in the opening 20 minutes and both keepers survived after making a mess of what should have been routine claims.
First, Dons stopper Ian McLoughlin let the ball burst free when trying to collect Barry Robson’s tame effort, but he was able to recover as no Blades players were in a good position to pounce.
At the other end George Long dropped a simple cross but Dons appeared to have given up on the move when a tap-in would have been waiting.
Robson’s sweetly struck half-volley was blocked in a packed Dons penalty box as it made its way to goal, as neither team found supremacy in the middle of the park.
There was an injury blow for Dons when Dan Powell pulled up after attempting a cross, meaning he had to be replaced with Mathias Doumbe.
Dons were perhaps fortunate not to lose another player early when Adam Chicksen was scythed down by Harry Maguire’s rash challenge, an offence which saw the United man’s name enter the book.
The best chance of the half arrived in the closing stages and it fell to the home side.
Dean Lewington allowed Dave Kitson to pick his pocket at left back but when the cross came in Robson flicked a close range header over the bar.
Antony Kay sent a back header over for Dons at the start of the second half as the visitors made promising forays into United territory.
On 58 minutes Dons made their first change, replacing Alan Smith with Chelsea loanee Bamford who made his first appearance for the club since signing on deadline day in January after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Stephen Gleeson was then introduced for Ryan Lowe as the game remained delicately poised at 0-0.
United should have taken the lead but sub Jonathan Forte was foiled by McLoughlin when through one on one, the keeper doing superbly to tip his effort wide.
Mathias Doumbe headed narrowly past the post for the visitors after Shaun Williams’ curling free kick as the game became more open.
There was then the spot kick appeal after a superb run by Bamford which saw him swerve around a number of United players before darting into the box.
He had no chance to get his shot away though as he went to ground after appearing to be pulled back by Michael Doyle, although the ref didn’t see it that way and instead booked the striker for diving.
This was without doubt the game’s most contentious moment but with home games to come Dons may look at a point at the team who are second in the league as a decent return.
The visitors dug in well to soak up United’s attacks on a boggy pitch, and although they didn’t create too many chances at the other end this was still a deserved share of the spoils.
An injury to McLoughlin, who hobbled through the last moments of the match, may cause some concern though with regular number one David Martin also still missing.
Sheffield United: Long, Maguire, Hill, Flynn, Doyle, McDonald, Kitson, Collins, Robson (Poleon 82), Murphy (Forte 62), McMahon. Unused subs: Westlake, Higginbotham, Ironside, McFadzean, Coyne.
Dons: McLoughlin, Lewington, Williams, Potter, Bowditch, Smith (Bamford 58), Chicksen, Lowe (Gleeson 68), Powell (Doumbe 33), Lines, Kay. Unused subs: Otsemobor, McLeod, Flanagan, Baldock.
Att: 17,936 (395)