MATTY Platt sported a pair of shiners that would have had the Crazy Gang nodding with approval.

City’s centre half looked like he had gone half a dozen rounds with Tyson Fury as he rattled off a few post-match positives to the club media.

But those weren’t war wounds from the visit to Wimbledon’s spiritual address, if not exactly the same home, at Plough Lane.

Mark Hughes had willingly reminisced about the bruising duels in this particular corner of south London during his playing career.

He recalled the odd bloodied nose or two from the most uncompromising of hosts.

There were no such physical medals from this goalless encounter at the ground built on a former greyhound stadium 200 yards from Wimbledon’s original roots.

Though Jamie Walker was probably fortunate to escape a thick ear from the manager in the dressing room after the red card that threatened to derail City’s intentions.

But Platt certainly looked the part with his “panda eyes” - even if they were caused by the previous game against Rochdale.

To add injury to the insult of that home loss, he got a whack in the chops in the first half - and then Matty Foulds launched a clearance straight into his face in the second.

So, Platt arrived rough and ready in full combat mode for Wimbledon and then showed no concern for his own safety once more to spearhead City’s battle for a ninth clean sheet.

Platt was in the wars again and twice needed treatment but kept bouncing back for more.

It was an attitude that drew praise from Hughes and Glyn Hodges, who got a warm ovation on his return to the club he graced for more than a decade as a player and manager.

His old mucker Wally Downes, Wimbledon’s special guest for the day, will also have appreciated the way Platt - and those around him - stood strong under the pressure that built after Walker was sent packing.

That was the type of character that served Downes and the gang so well during Wimbledon’s halcyon days.

“I thought Matty was excellent and all the back four in fairness,” said Hughes. “The midfield had to keep their shape and make sure they got their numbers back.

“We have to be happy enough with one point, albeit it could have been more.”

The tinge of disappointment in his post-match tone was understandable.

A point in trying circumstances should be acknowledged. Like Mansfield, where Platt lost his senses to leave City short-handed for most of the second half, it showed a sleeves-rolled-up spirit that had been questioned after their shortcomings the previous midweek.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Burnley striker Dara Costelloe came in straight away to startBurnley striker Dara Costelloe came in straight away to start (Image: Thomas Gadd)

But there was also an overwhelming feeling that it could, and should, have been more - if they had kept everyone on the pitch.

Wimbledon are certainly no pushovers on current form. This result stretched their improving run to one defeat in 13 games.

But on an afternoon full of energy and endeavour but lacking in moments of genuine quality, City know this was the sort of game that promotion contenders should be pinching.

They rarely looked like scoring themselves - the best chance coming right at the death.

Richie Smallwood, a busy figure in midfield, popped up in the box with a fizzing effort that looked like it might sneak inside the far corner.

The City skipper has come in for his fair share of flak from fans during the stickier moments.

But he would have been the hero with a winning goal right under their noses - only for the previously-unemployed Nik Tzanev to pull off a superb save to turn the ball round the post.

The 1,157-strong travelling army, once again a marvellous show of backing, were instead left to laud the sturdy response at the other end after Walker’s premature exit.

The news before the game that Jake Young was now a Barrow player for the rest of the season had increased the spotlight on Dara Costelloe.

The Burnley prospect, whose arrival 24 hours earlier had cleared the way for Young’s expected move out, was surprisingly thrown stray into the fray by Hughes.

It was a big ask for a player who had not seen first-team action for two months. He showed a couple of moments of promise but generally found it tough to make an immediate impression.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Vadaine Oliver was not given much service to work offVadaine Oliver was not given much service to work off (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Costelloe has come from Turf Moor highly recommended and Hughes is confident City will soon see why. But he will need to get up to speed.

Not that Vadaine Oliver fared much better alongside him.

He was restricted to one real sniff of a chance when Walker’s cross flashed invitingly across goal with the big man unable to apply the decisive touch as he dashed to the far post.

Walker’s first start since opening day was the other change - with Harry Chapman sitting out his first league game since signing in the summer.

But the Scot’s tendency to be too keen in the tackle showed itself with an aggressive lunge on Hus Biler that saw him straight into Ben Toner’s book.

Hughes maybe should have seen the danger signs and hooked Walker at half-time. Instead, he opted to give him a stiff talking-to not to do it again.

Walker, playing the right-side of the diamond with Abo Eisa as the “number 10”, then started the second half brightly - only to lose his senses with another loose challenge on George Marsh that left Toner with no option but reach once more for his top pocket.

There was no managerial arguments with the referee’s decision on this occasion. City’s match aims now centred, by necessity, on surviving unscathed.

Sometimes the methods employed were unconventional, to say the least.

London Broncos, who ground-share with Wimbledon, would have been proud of the textbook rugby tackle from Romoney Crichlow to send Ali Al-Hamadi crashing as the striker eyed a debut goal as he burst clear.

Harry Lewis got down sharply at his post to deny Marsh and then superbly finger-tipped away Ethan Chislett’s free-kick - remembering how the South African set-piece ace had fooled him at Valley Parade earlier in the season.

Thierry Nevers caught the eye after coming off the bench in the closing stages as City’s depleted numbers still attempted to ask a few questions of their own.

But the feelings at the final whistle were mixed - a point gained in the situation but also two dropped in the bigger picture.