ROBINSON GOES EASY ON FLOPS
MK DONS manager Karl Robinson says he could forgive his players despite Chesterfield dumping them out of the FA Cup, insisting they had earned a reprieve in recent weeks.
Promotion-chasing MK Dons welcomed a Chesterfield side that currently sit nine positions below them in League One.
But the visitors belittled their league position as Armand Gnanduillet headed home the only goal on 53 minutes to send Chesterfield into the FA Cup third round.
It left Robinson fuming and philosophical in equal measure.
“It was shambolic, really poor,” the MK Dons boss said. “We just weren’t good enough, we had a lot of players not here but we’ve been beaten by the better team.
“Chesterfield had more energy all over the park, more quality in the final third, and we were lucky to lose by just the one.
“I don’t think any player on that pitch can come out with any credit.We looked dull, we didn’t win any second balls and our corners were diabolical.
“The players looked lethargic and by far second-best in every single department – it’s not acceptable.
“But we’ve been magnificent for the last two months, so an off day in the last 11 isn’t too bad. I can’t really hang my team out to dry when they’ve been magnificent over the past few months. I think I can let them off – I’d rather let them be poor in the cup and do what they’re doing in the league in the next four months.”
Charlie Raglan went close to nodding the visitors ahead inside the opening exchanges after Gnanduillet’s earlier effort had forced a corner.
Next up it was a chance for the hosts as Jordan Spence’s long ball forward sailed over the Spireites back four and into the path of free-scoring Benik Afobe inside 17 minutes, but goalkeeper Tommy Lee did well to block his fumbled effort.
Tendayi Darikwa’s lobbed effort failed to beat MK Dons goalkeeper David Martin just before half-time, but Gnanduillet struck eight minutes after the restart, steering a powerful downward header home.
Sam Morsy went close to making sure of the visitors’ place in the third round with a long-range effort near the death, but Martin collected well as the game entered stoppage time.
And Chesterfield boss Paul Cook was left beaming from ear to ear with the draw to look forward to.
Cook said: “I’m delighted, I’m delighted for everyone at the club.
“You see our travelling supporters and our chief executive, we’re all very close at our club and we have a really good connection.
“Getting in the third round of the FA Cup is huge for this club. I thought to a man all of the players were absolutely magnificent, every single one of them.
“Our performance merited that standing ovation we got at the end there.”
JOY OF THE CUP: Armand Gnanduillet is congratulated by Georg Margreitter after scoring Chesterfield’s winner
THUMP: Tommy Lee, Sam Clucas and Benik Afobe
STAR MAN GARY ROBER