Gary says well Don after rant at Blues troops
IT TURNED out to be a consummate away-day performance from Birmingham at MK Dons but it occurred only after Gary Rowett was forced to lose his temper with his players at half-time.
The first half of this match passed almost without incident but from the moment Stephen Gleeson scored an excellent goal against his old club, the Blues controlled proceedings.
They remain unbeaten going into the international break and they were clinical in their finishing to back up what was a miserly display by their defence.
Their goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was barely tested by what was admittedly a hesitant Dons attack, who are struggling to cope with losing the goals of Will Grigg and Dele Alli during the summer.
Rowett said: “I thought it was a good away-day performance in the second half because I was actually really disappointed with our performance in the first half of the game.
“Our standards have been set so high since I’ve been here and this season and in the first half I just felt that there was a lack of intensity in what we did.
“I just wanted a reaction at halftime and it was probably the angriest that I’ve been .
“I even threatened to make a couple of changes early in the game if we didn’t liven up.
“In the end I made one and I think that change made the difference and we changed the formation - Jacques Maghoma came on the left.
“I thought by doing that we changed the game and we really dominated the second half in terms of our chances and in terms of our attacking play and it was a good win.”
The kick-off was delayed for almost ten minutes after referee Gavin Ward picked up an injury in his warm-up with assistant Robert Atkin taking charge in his place.
The match began sluggishly with the only real effort of note in the first 20 minutes coming when Birmingham’s David Cotterill curled a shot wide from the corner of the box.
MK Dons’ first opening came after 25 minutes when Rob Hall sent an effort from the edge of the area not far wide with former Manchester United keeper Kuszczak rooted to the spot.
The best chance of a flat first half came just before the break when Samir Carruthers went through after being played in by Hall.
However, the former Aston Villa man could only shoot into the side netting.
Birmingham finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when Clayton Donaldson cut the ball back for Gleeson, whose first-time effort drifted over David Martin and into the far corner.
It was the second league game in a row in which he had struck after the Irishman had gone over a year without scoring.
And the Blues were to wrap up the game when Donaldson threaded the ball through for Maghoma, who calmly rolled his shot into the bottom corner.
MK Dons boss Karl Robinson was furious with the referee’s decision to not send off Birmingham winger Demarai Gray after he shoved over Kyle McFadzean. He said:“What he did was violent conduct - people will say ‘oh, he’s a centre half who should stay on his feet’ but Kyle was caught off-balance.
“I get players sent off for that - I think the kid’s a tremendous talent but the referee has got to brave in his decision.
“I thought the referee allowed people to have a go at him and it affected him. “We huffed and puffed in the second half and didn’t really get going.
“We got into better positions than we have done all season but we don’t want to shoot and that cost us.
“I said to them that I can’t take responsibility for their shooting or our mentality after the first goal.
“But what I can take responsibility for is my poor substitutions, I have to hold my hands up.
“Our finishing was poor and with the first chance they get Stephen, who’s a wonderful technician, puts it in the perfect position and then we lost our heads.”
STAR MAN JONAT