The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Josh Ni­cholls

KARL Robin­son is tar­get­ing 100 league goals and pro­mo­tion af­ter watch­ing his MK Dons side keep up the pres­sure on Pre­ston in the race for au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

First-half strikes from Samir Carruthers and Dean Bowditch, as well as a mag­nif­i­cent in­di­vid­ual goal by sub­sti­tute Daniel Pow­ell was enough to give the Dons victory in an en­thralling en­counter at Spot­land, de­spite Peter Vin­centi and Ian Hen­der­son netting for the hosts.

The trav­el­ling fans sang “Pre­ston North End, we’re com­ing for you”, af­ter their goals and, like his fans, Robin­son is re­fus­ing to give up on sec­ond place.

“The sea­son is not over, our dream is still alive,” said Robin­son. “To get 88 points and score 96 goals is an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment and I’d love to get to 100 goals in the league – that would be a great way to sign off.

“Our fate isn’t in our hands yet, but it will be if we end up in the play-offs and we’ll roll the dice again.

“The play­ers showed they are ready and will­ing to com­pete at any level.We were sen­sa­tional.”

Spurs-bound star Dele Alli gave Dale an early warn­ing, rat­tling the post in the third minute with a vi­ciously struck half-vol­ley.

Twelve min­utes later the Dons were ahead when Bowditch played in Carruthers, who shifted the ball onto his right foot and slid it clin­i­cally un­der the dive of Jamie Jones from close-range.

Cal­lum Camps squan­dered a glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­nity to level for Dale ten min­utes later when he in­ex­pli­ca­bly fired wide af­ter tal­is­man Hen­der­son had cut the ball back.

The miss proved costly for Dale as just be­fore the half hour Bowditch dou­bled the vis­i­tors’ lead, side-foot­ing home af­ter be­ing teed up by Carruthers, who had robbed Jamie Allen of pos­ses­sion.

The hosts ral­lied af­ter half-time and were back in the match in the 66th minute when Hen­der­son pro­vided an inch-per­fect low cross to present Vin­centi with a tap in at the far post.

How­ever the Dale fight­back was snuffed out in the 76th minute by Pow­ell who em­barked on a won­der­ful solo run, waltz­ing away from sev­eral home chal­lenges, be­fore side-foot­ing through the legs of Jones.

How­ever Keith Hill’s men re­fused to lie down and Hen­der­son gave them an­other life­line with three min­utes left when he neatly con­trolled a long ball in­side the box and rolled the ball into the far cor­ner.

“I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed, that game summed our sea­son up,” he said.

“We’ve made too many in­di­vid­ual mis­takes.

“We set our plan out to not make mis­takes in our de­fen­sive third when in pos­ses­sion and we have done twice for two goals, so that re­ally irks me. That proves to me play­ers aren’t lis­ten­ing. “MK Dons are an out­stand­ing side but you can­not give them the goals that we gave them in the first half, they were just gifts.”

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

KAPOW: Pow­ell comes off the bench to tuck away an acute fin­ish

SU­PER SAMIR: Carruthers fires in for the Dons


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