Chesterfield notched up a third consecutive draw in their battle to beat the drop. But other results conspired to see Spireites end the day back at the foot of the table.
Drew Talbot scored early on as Spireites started at a blistering pace but the classy Dons hit back soon after the break through Jay O’Shea leading to a period where both sides desperately sought the winner.
John Sheridan made threechanges, giving new signing Franck Moussa a debut in midfield. The Leicester City man showed up well but picked up a bit of cramp having not played competitively since the Autumn and he was subbed.
Jack Lester and Danny Whitaker were recalled and the selection seemed spot-on as Jordan Bowery, whose play has blossomed in recent weeks, made a strong run before, in the third minute, the hosts scored.
Whitaker delivered a short corner, received back and delivered to the far post. Neal Trotman nodded back for Talbot to right-foot home from 15 yards to register his second goal of the season.
The confidence that gave to the team was palpable. Bowery nodded on a Tommy Lee clearance for Lester, who ran on goal and hit a shot firmly but keeper David Martin beat the ball away.
A Bowery shot clipped a defender’s leg to fly inches over for a corner that saw Josh Thompson’s header deflected wide and Whitaker shot wide as the hosts started the game looking anything but relegation fodder.
Play-off contenders Dons soon got their passing game into shape. Lee had to make the first of a series of fine stops diving at the feet of Charlie MacDonald.
At the break Dons introduced Danny Powell for Jabo Ibehre and that change proved to be vital. His powerful running lifted increased visitors’ danger level and he soon whipped in a shot that Lee blocked and he also had to work well to keep out the rebound from O’Shea.
MacDonald and Whitaker exchanged efforts before a Liam Ridehalgh throw led to Dons grabbing possession close to the halfway line. O’Shea held off Mark Allott, ran towards goal, side-stepped Trotman before hitting the target with a low drive from the box-edge giving the Dubliner a reason to really celebrate St Patricks’ Day.
O’Shea and Luke Chadwick went close and Lee nicked the ball off the toes of Powell before a raft of substitutions that saw both sides seek further rewards.
Martin’s save from Bowery was excellent, his block from Trotman more regulation whilst debutant Dons’ striker Robert Hall rattled the bar with a left-foot rocket.
O’Shea and Nicky Ajose were responsible for both side’s best late chances with the final effort coming from Spireites’ full-back James Hurst who saw Martin gather his through-the-crowd shot.
A first class game but Dons will be happier with the point than Chesterfield whose next two League One games are against Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United.
Chesterfield: Lee 8, Hurst 6, Trotman 6, Thompson 6, Ridehalgh 6, Talbot 7, Allott 6, Moussa 6 (Mendy 65, 6), Whitaker 6 (Ajose 73, 6), Bowery 8, Lester 7 (Westcarr 65, 6). Subs (not used): Fleming, Ford.
MK Dons: Martin 8, Doumbe 6, Williams 6, Flanagan 6, Lewington 7, Potter 6, Smith 6, Chadwick 6 (Hall 71, 7), Ibehre 5 (Powell 46, 7), O’Shea 8, MacDonald 7. Subs (not used): McLoughlin, Slane, Chicksen.
Bookings: Lester (Chesterfield), Hall (MKD)