Derby win shows Dons' togetherness, says Neilson

Robbie Neilson heaped praise on his keeper Lee Nicholls after winning at AFC W'don.
Pic: Jane Russell
Robbie Neilson heaped praise on his keeper Lee Nicholls after winning at AFC W'don. Pic: Jane Russell

Robbie Neilson said winning away at AFC Wimbledon was massive for his side and can kick-start their League 1 campaign.

Ryan Seager and Gboly Ariyibi continued their rich goal-scoring form as they netted first half goals to give Dons a 2-0 advantage after 26 minutes, before a second half show-stopper from keeper Lee Nicholls ensured three points would be heading back to MK1.

"It's a huge game, with all the history and it's massive for us to come down here and win," said the manager. "We had great support. We didn't have a good game here but they came again, and the most important thing was seeing us all together at the end. It's night like this that bring everyone together and show we can do it.

"The difference between last year and this was night and day. Last year, we started well but crumbled. This year, we stood firm, were resilient and could have scored more goals. We nearly got it, but we knew they would throw everything at us in this half. The kitchen sink came out, but we knew we could catch them on the counter.

"It's really important we came here and silenced the crowd in the first 15 minutes, and in the second half too. The second half was really difficult as they were banging balls on to us, set plays at the end, but fair play to our centre halves. I had a pop at them after Peterborough but tonight they were magnificent.

"It was a fantastic first half performance. We played some really good football, went 2-0 up. But the second half was a different kind of game - we had to be resilient, we had to stand our ground.

"It's a great night for the club. Everyone going home to Milton Keynes now can be extremely happy, but we move on to Tuesday because ultimately it was only three points. But it's three points that gets us into the top half."

While the goals from Seager and Ariyibi were ultimately what won it for the visitors, Nicholls' trio of saves in the second half, including a penalty save from Lyle Taylor would be the highlights and what kept Dons in the game.

Neilson said: "He made three really good saves and kept it at 2-0, but that's the reason I put him in as number one. He has huge attributes and the potential to go really high in the game."

"He made a great penalty save. We owe a lot to Paul Heald who's out there taking penalties at them, and tonight shows them why and it's those little details that can get us up the field."