KARL Robinson didn’t want to get too carried away with Dons’ 1-0 win at League 1 leaders Tranmere Rovers on Friday night, but he was over the moon with the performance of his team.
Dons could have been in double figures by the time Stephen Gleeson finally found a way past keeper Owain Fon Williams at Prenton Park.
Gleeson and his team-mates were too good for Tranmere on the night, but the league leaders held on until 87 minutes when the midfielder managed to poke the ball home from close range – much to delight, and relief, of Robinson.
“I thought we looked tremendously fit and strong, especially in midfield – them two (Darren Potter and Stephen Gleeson) are a class act,” said the Dons boss.
“Stephen’s been in a bit of a mood for the last two days – he’s been moaning about everything, his shooting and everything else, but he can stay in a mood for the next six months if he puts in a performance like that.
“Stephen doesn’t like being singled out for praise, he wants to be one of many, but I’m proud of the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch. Potter alongside him is as good as you’re going to get, and Luke Chadwick – for someone to have done what he has in his career and still put in the effort and performances like that, I can’t ask for any more.
“That is us every single week. We’ve not had the results our performances have deserved. There has been a swagger about us all season, obviously criticism in the media and outside influences has had a bit of a knock on certain people’s confidence, but as a manager and a group of staff we kept believing in them and telling them what was wrong and what was right.
“We asked for a strong work ethic with the thought that if you work hard you will get the return, and for three or four weeks they have certainly done that.
“Dave in goal and the back four were excellent, we limited their chances and they’re the top goalscorers in the League. We had 13 shots in the first half and 60 per cent possession at one time, we were by far the more dominant team against a Tranmere side that I respect immensely.
“When they made their change it meant we had more time at the back and the worry for me was that for 20 minutes Shauny and Antony Kay tried to force the play a little bit and hit too many long balls.
“That meant they stopped us from getting in the final third and we shouldn’t have rushed it as much as we did and once we got around that we were more patient with the ball going back to Dave and we were able to play out from the back.
“We knew that in Powelly and Bowds we had the pace to get in behind them and we had someone in Alan Smith who we could hit and play off. So we changed the way of the game for 25 minutes in the second half as well.”