ROBIN­SON FEEL­ING MUCH BET­TER NOW

Barker does the busi­ness for boss

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Harry Wilmin

KARL ROBIN­SON thanked his back­room staff for their work last week af­ter his MK Dons side se­cured a vi­tal win that main­tained their three-point gap above the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Dons skip­per Dean Lew­ing­ton scored his first goal of the sea­son min­utes af­ter the half-time break be­fore Ben Reeves came off the bench to smash home from the penalty spot at the death.

And Robin­son, who was forced to miss most of last week’s train­ing due to ill­ness, left the ma­jor­ity of the Dons’ pre-match prepa­ra­tions to his as­sis­tant Richie Barker be­fore his re­turn to the train­ing pitch at the end of the week.

“To­gether as a group we have put a team on the pitch that was wor­thy of the three points we de­served,” he said.

“Ev­ery­thing we have set up to do this week has been sen­sa­tional, and I re­ally want to thank ev­ery­one for their hard work – and that in­cludes all of the back­room team as well be­cause I was off for most of the week.

“Our play­ers cer­tainly gave 100 per cent and I can­not ask for any more from them or our fans. I am so proud of them.”

It took the home side al­most 30 min­utes to fash­ion their first mean­ing­ful chance, when Josh Mur­phy did well down the right wing to fly past a num­ber of de­fen­sive chal­lenges be­fore find­ing Dar­ren Pot­ter lurk­ing in space on the edge of the area, but he fired his first-time shot well over the bar.

Jimmy Floyd Has­sel­baink’s side had dom­i­nated the ma­jor­ity of the first half and wasted an­other chance to take the lead min­utes be­fore the break, as Ab­de­nasser Khay­ati’s curl­ing ef­fort flew just wide of the Dons goal.

Robin­son’s side came out from the break with in­tent and had the Rangers de­fence scram­bling on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions be­fore Lew­ing­ton even­tu­ally gave them the lead.

Alex Revell’s down­ward header from six yards was cleared off the goalline less than a minute af­ter the restart by Gabriele An­gella, be­fore winger Mur­phy slid an invit­ing pass across the area that evaded three Dons at­tack­ers.

Fi­nally Lew­ing­ton, who last found the net on the fi­nal day of last sea­son, smashed the hosts in front four min­utes af­ter the restart with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box.

The Dons al­most snatched a se­cond 15 min­utes from time af­ter se­cond-half sub­sti­tute Samir Car­ruthers beat two Rangers de­fend­ers be­fore fir­ing a cross-come-shot across the face of Alex Smithies’ goal which found Mur­phy at the back post, but Khay­ati was there to scoop the ball away for a cor­ner.

The Dons were awarded two late penal­ties af­ter both Mur­phy and sub­sti­tute Rob Hall were bun­dled over in­side the box, Mur­phy took the first and missed be­fore Ben Reeves slot­ted home at the se­cond at­tempt to se­cure the win. It proved timely as as the team im­me­di­ately below them in the ta­ble, Rother­ham, made it back- to-back wins with vic­tory over Sh­effield Wed­nes­day.

It was only QPR’s se­cond de­feat in 10 league games, but they slip to 12th and now look out of con­tention for a play-off place.

“If we are play­ing like that in the se­cond half then we do not de­serve to win any matches,” said Has­sel­baink. “We came out of the dress­ing room think­ing we had al­ready won the game but we hadn’t scored yet and the game was still level.

“They won the se­cond balls and put us un­der pres­sure and from the first minute in the se­cond half they put us un­der pres­sure. I’m not one to make ex­cuses be­cause to­day was just not right.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

SPOT ON: Ben Reeves sends QPR keeper Alex Smithies the wrong way

STAR MAN DEAN LEWIN

GTON MK­Dons

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