DONS’ 2011 League One play-off disappointment will always be remembered for THAT penalty decision, said Karl Robinson in the immediate aftermath of his side’s exit to Peterborough.
The nightmare scenario in Dons’ semi-final second leg with Posh always threatened to be that Robinson’s men would lose by a single goal, meaning that Grant McCann’s spot-kick that shouldn’t have been, was ultimately decisive.
McCann slotted home to make it 3-2 at stadium:mk on Sunday after Stephen Gleeson had been shown the red card for a foul on Mark Little. The foul was outside the penalty area, and although Gleeson’s red card and suspension was later rescinded by the FA, the goal still stood and Posh had a crucial lifeline, which manager Darren Ferguson admitted kept his side’s chances of progressing to the final alive.
That gave Posh the extra boost they needed and after winning the return leg at London Road 2-0 on the night and so 4-3 on aggregate, all the talk is once again about referee Jon Moss’ decision and the goal that should never have been.
To his credit, Robinson refused to blame Dons’ exit completely on that terrible mistake, but he couldn’t hide away from the fact that it changed the course of the tie, with Dons 3-1 ahead and a man to the good before Posh’s stroke of luck. And Robinson didn’t mince his words with regards to Mr Moss when he spoke after the game at London Road.
He said: “We weren’t good enough tonight, but we lost because of an appalling referring decision and I hope he doesn’t referee at this level again for a long time.
“But there were another 179 minutes where we didn’t contribute enough to win it. They deserved the victory on the night, but don’t forget how good we were on Sunday and everyone remembers the last game. I’m devastated by it but there isn’t anything we can do now.
“It was the single most important moment of the tie. I hope the FA and everybody looks at it again because it’s the defining moment of this game.
“Two set-pieces, and two scrappy goals - they haven’t scored a decent goal against us all season yet.
“The lads deserve a drink. It’s been a long hard season. Yes there have been times when we’ve not been the best but you can’t knock the passion for the shirt. I kissed the badge tonight because I care for this club and everyone involved with it. I’m proud of everyone at the club but I don’t want to feel this pain again.”