VILLAIN TO HERO WADE STANDS OUT
Elliott winner cements top spot
BRISTOL City match winner Wade Elliott’s rapid change of fortunes was not missed by opposing manager Karl Robinson who admitted the Robins captain had made the difference.
The veteran midfielder’s determination saw him win a 50-50 tackle with Dons centre-back Antony Kay on the edge of the box before shooting low past David Martin on 74 minutes.
The strike came just moments after Elliott’s weak back-pass had allowed Benik Afobe to force his way past goalkeeper Frank Fielding and slot into an empty net for MK Dons.
The visitors had fought back from two goals down to equalise and looked the more likely winners before 35-year-old Elliott proved otherwise.
Robinson said:“You can see why he is their captain.
“I though he showed great spirit to recover from his mistake and grab the winner.
“I felt we were the better side and that is no disrespect to Bristol City because they have assembled a very strong squad.
“They got away with slowing up the game and didn’t have a player booked for it until injury time.
“But they will see that as showing how to win a match.
“I am so proud of my team. I love going to work every day because it is an absolute pleasure to deal with this group of players I have here.”
Kieran Agard gave City a fourthminute lead when left with a simple tap in by Mark Little, who beat Dean Lewington to a Joe Bryan cross from the left and lifted the ball over keeper Martin.
The striker doubled the advantage from the penalty spot on 35 minutes after going down under a challenge from behind by Kyle McFadzean, a decision that infuriated the Dons players and their manager.
But there was no rolling over from the visitors and Dean Bowditch halved the deficit on 51 minutes, shooting home after Fielding had made a fine double save from Ben Reeves and Afobe. City boss Steve Cotterill admitted: “Wade Elliott went from zero to hero in the space of a minute.
“He is the sort of lad who would have beaten himself up over their second goal so I couldn’t be more delighted that he scored the winner.
“I felt we might have been further in front at the break, but in the second half our ball retention was poor and that effected us.
“If you surrender the ball to a team like MK Dons they can hurt you.
“I’m sure most of the country saw what they did to Manchester United this season and a lot of those players were out there.
“We needed to work hard for our win and I couldn’t ask more from the players in that respect.
“A lot of graft on the training ground and a great deal of effort from lots of people went into that victory.”
Bowditch cleared an Aden Flint header off the line, while Martin made fine late saves from Aaron Wilbraham and Joe Bryan.
At the other end Fielding was kept busy and had to be sharp coming off his line.
Youngster Dele Alli was also an increasing influence in midfield for the Dons.
Agard ran his socks off for the hosts as well as scoring his two goals and had an effective partner in former Dons player Wilbraham.
The result sees MK Dons drop down to fourth in the table, while their opponents cemented top spot, with their lead at five points.
And while happy with the entertainment on show, Cotterill insists there is still a long way to go yet in the season.
“It’s great to be top of the table considering where we were for much of last season.
“But no one will be getting carried away. We have a long season in front of us.
“I thought both sets of fans were tremendous and now I have time to reflect it must have been a hugely entertaining game.”
GOING BY: Benik Afobe beats Bristol City goalkeeper Frank Fielding to score
STAR MAN KIERAN AGARD Bristol