ROBINSON FEELING MUCH BETTER NOW
Barker does the business for boss
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.”
SPOT ON: Ben Reeves sends QPR keeper Alex Smithies the wrong way
STAR MAN DEAN LEWIN