DONS ARE DEALT DOSE OF REALITY
KARL ROBINSON vowed to treat achievement and disappointment in the same fashion as MK Dons were dealt an early-season reality check by Preston.
His side have enjoyed a high media profile after their 4-1 opening-day thumping of Rotherham but were brought down to earth by Paul Gallagher’s 28th-minute winner and a resilient Preston display.
“Expectations? What expectations? They certainly don’t come from me,” said Robinson, whose side failed to take advantage of Jordan Hugill’s red card late on for a clash with Kyle McFadzean.
“My wife says I’m a miserable so and so, so I was never going to get too excited by a win at Rotherham.
“A lot of people say we are going to finish 24th in the league and that will drive us forward every single day of the season.
“We didn’t do enough to win – but we certainly didn’t deserve to lose.We were much better in the first half and our patience in keeping in the game was outstanding at times.
“I don’t think our goalkeeper had another effort to save.Their goalkeeper hasn’t had too many shots but I thought the way he commanded his area was outstanding when we threw balls into the box.”
MK Dons dominated possession in the first half although the better opportunities came from Preston’s slick counter-attacks.
The home side were close to a fifthminute lead when striker Sam Gallagher twisted on the edge of the six-yard box only to send his angled shot just wide.
Preston goalkeeper Jordan Pickford kept his side on level terms in the 19th minute when Carl Baker hurled himself at a Dean Lewington cross and saw his header clawed to safety. Baker was on target again within a minute after a twisting run although Pickford’s save at his near post was more routine.
Daniel Johnson flashed a left-foot shot just wide in reply after a first-time ball from Gallagher.
A similarly slick break then saw Preston take the lead. Joe Garner’s foraging run down the right led to a clever pass inside the box for Gallagher who expertly gave himself time to wrong-foot David Martin with a sidefooted finish.
Johnson was again within a couple of feet of scoring with an almost identical left-footed shot after Will Keane switched play in the 33rd minute before Tom Clarke’s celebrations were cut short due to a push as Dons defended a Gallagher corner.
Far from sitting on their lead, Preston dominated large periods of the second period.
Garner sent a powerful header just over the bar and Keane dragged a shot disappointingly wide after an instant ball forward from Gallagher.
MK Dons were kept at arm’s length but were given new hope by Jordan Hugill’s moment of madness on 82 minutes – the defender sent off for a stamp on defender Kyle McFadzean moments after coming on as a substitute.
Despite piling on the pressure during six minutes of added time, however, they failed to test the dominant Pickford.
“We were well organised and counter attacked well – I thought we could have had a couple more goals in the first half, but the sending off made it more difficult for us at the end,” said Simon Grayson.
“It’s a blatant red card. Hugill didn’t need to do it and he’s distraught with himself as he let the rest of the players down. I’m a bit calmer than I would have been because we’ve won the game but we pride ourselves on working hard as a team.”
CLINICAL: Paul Gallagher scores and inset celebrates his goal