With extreme uncertainty surrounding the European Super League occurring during this very fixture, Russell Martin’s MK Dons were in no doubt as to what league they would be playing in next season. Unfortunately for Joey Barton’s Gass, they look almost certain for an undesirable switch of league themselves following another defeat.
Barton’s Bristol had the first big chance of the game and naturally, it came from a set-piece. After some pinball, the ball broke to Brandon Hanlan and the Rovers number nine in the ninth minute could only fire straight into Andrew Fisher’s gloves from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Dons had struggled to play their normal game in the opening quarter-hour but used the gorgeous away pitch to their advantage in the 16th minute to put together a sumptuous move which culminated in Matt O’Riley slipping in Will Grigg. The Solihull-born striker hit, what seemed like, a tame shot off-balance but Anssi Jaakkola could only parry for Scott Fraser to end his long open-play goal drought with a tap-in.
The half did not feature any major action following the opener until the 43rd minute in which Matthew Sorinola almost recreated his heroic goal at Plough Lane. The young man cut inside onto his right just as he did against AFC Wimbledon but this time, his effort cannoned off the crossbar.
Half-time: Bristol Rovers 0-1 MK Dons
MK Dons were quite uninspiring in the first quarter-hour of the second half much like the first but on the hour, Martin’s men grabbed a rare set-piece goal. After another bout of penalty area pinball, the ball fell kindly to Grigg, who ended his own goal drought with a simple stab into the net.
That MK Dons second killed the game off: unsurprising given that The Dons have nothing to play for and the Rovers heads dropped massively, staring relegation in the face. MK came close to adding a third in freak fashion in the 76th minute when Hanlan nearly glanced into his own net with Jaakkola doing well to save.
With the game fading into obscurity, Bristol Rovers earned a penalty after the allotted five minutes but the resultant spot-kick summed up Bristol Rovers’ plight this season. Fisher saved from Luke Leahy and held on to the ball and the clean sheet as a result.
Full-time: Bristol Rovers 0-2 MK Dons
Man of the match: David Kasumu