Rovers suffered a narrow defeat at Stadium MK as Daniel Harvie’s 76th minute goal was the difference.
After a slow start, the game burst into life on the half-hour mark with MK Dons using their possession to full advantage with Harvie and then Will Grigg forcing several top saves from Louis Jones. While substitute Louis Thompson pulled another save from Jones early in the second half.
Rovers were better in the second 45, Brad Halliday’s effort at the near post was saved by Alex Fisher while Harry Darling seemed to appear no where to deny Jason Lokilo and the winger saw another effort saved . Harvie’s effort from the edge of the box wrong-footed the Rovers defence and gave the home side the lead. Harry Darling cleared Tom Anderson's header off the line in the final minute of injury time to ensure Rovers would leave with nothing.
It was a quiet start to the game and with the exception of an effort at goal from 50 yards by Harry Darling which looped high and so wide it was closer to a throw-in than a goal – there’s was little of note from either side.
Rovers worked a half-chance when a sublime cross-field pass by Taylor Richards found James Coppinger – but he couldn’t get the ball to Omar Bogle who was making his way into the box and Bogle harried the Dons defence trying to bully the ball back high up the pitch.
The home side were boasting the majority of possession but struggled to get the final pass right, while Rovers were finding plenty of space on the break but also struggled to play the killer final ball with another through-ball to Coppinger by James thwarted when the no.26 took a heavy touch and couldn’t work the cross, while Brad Halliday’s cross from the right was defended well by Andrew Surman.
On the half-hour mark, the hosts began to make their possession count and Louis Jones was forced into the first save of the afternoon when he got down well to his right to deny a Will Grigg header. The floodgates had opened from a Dons point of view and Jones was kept busy – first he did really well to tip Daniel Harvie’s effort onto the post and got up quickly to deny Grigg from the rebound.
Jones denied Grigg again before half-time – this time getting down to his right to save a shot hit on the spin from close range. Richards’ skied effort from distance brought the opening 45 minutes to a close.
The second half started as the first had ended with Jones making a save from substitute Louis Thompson with seconds showing on the clock, but it was followed quickly by Rovers’ best chance of the afternoon.
Richards won the ball back high up the pitch, worked it to Bogle who found the run of Lokilo. It took a superb block from Darling to deny him the first time, while the Belgian sent the rebound over the crossbar.
Halliday forced a save from Fisher at his near post after a truly magical ball from John Bostock found Bogle – the striker brought the ball down beautifully and worked it out to the right back on the overlap. At the other end, Jones saved from Grigg again. The man from Northern Ireland got in front of his marker to poke the ball on target.
Bostock had a half-chance when Rovers won a free kick on the edge of the box – he bent it around the wall but also around the post. Fejiri Okenabirhie had a shot blocked with his first touch after replacing Coppinger from the bench, and Anderson connected well with Lokilo’s corner kick delivery, but had it blocked en route.
The home side took the lead with 15 minutes remaining. Harvie got beyond Halliday and let fly from the edge of the box – it seemed to take a nick on the way through and found the back of the net.
After taking the lead, MK Dons were able to slow the pace of the game and see out the latter stages of the game, but it took a clearance off the line by Darling in the final minute of injury time to deny Anderson and condemn Rovers to defeat.