THE DONS survived a late heart-stopping moment to hold onto a point after a breathless contest.
Home fans held their collective breath when Swindon skipper Paul Caddis appeared to be tripped by Jack Midson in full flight. Somehow ref Ian Williamson decided it was no foul and the Dons escaped with a draw their first half efforts merited.
Replays suggested the official got it wrong.
The Dons were up against a confident side unbeaten in nine, but they were determined to seize the day and took the lead after seven minutes – the first team to breach the visitors in six league games.
Thereafter, they demonstrated a firm belief throughout that they could also be the first team to beat Paolo di Canio's men in 10 games, but the visitors hit back strongly in the last 20 minutes and got their reward when Alan Connell equalised on 73 minutes.
There was good fortune about the Dons goal, it has to be said. Swindon, backed by plenty of their fans, failed to deal with a long throw from Chris Bush and the ball ran kindly to Sam Hatton on the edge of the box – the midfielder's deflected drive wrong-footing keeper Wesley Foderingham.
The goal ignited the occasion, with chances coming at both ends during a frenetic first half in which Seb Brown excelled himself, making several reflex saves to deny the west countrymen an equaliser.
Brown got down well to keep out two low shots from ex Brentford striker Connell and did even better to deny sub Lander Gabilondo just before the interval – making himself big to keep out a shot hit at him from no more than 12 yards.
But the Dons will feel they should have had a second before half time too. Midson headed a fine Ryan Jackson cross wide when he really should have done better and the striker also went close when he flicked a corner to the near post, inspiring an acrobatic save from Swindon's stopper.
Swindon's fine run had propelled them to sixth in League Two – a run in stark contrasts to the Dons, who were looking for a first win in six league games to get them back up among the pace setters.
But the sides were well matched in a recent Johnson's Paint Trophy tie, with only penalties separating them and again there was not much to choose between the teams in a tense second half.
Connell ought to have made it 1-1 10 minutes into the second half, but completely miscued after Gabilondo had charged down the left in a breakaway and released the Swindon frontman in oceans of space.
Connell's effort was going well wide, but clipped the outside of a post via the boot of Callum McNaughton.
But he was not to be denied and from a free-kick floated in by Alan McCormack on the right, Connell was in the right place to deflect a Jake Jervis drive into the net during a goalmouth melee – the ball apparently coming off his chest.
It was disappointing for the Dons, but it could have been much worse with that injury-time penalty incident.
Line-up: Brown; Jackson (Minshull 72), Johnson, McNaughton, Bush; Hatton, Wellard, Sammy Moore, Jolley (Mulley 43); Yussuff, Midson. Subs not used: Luke Moore, Turner, Porter.