MK DONS put a long week behind them with a well-earned 1-0 win over Yeovil on Saturday – but not before another frustrating afternoon looked on the cards.
Last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Walsall gave manager Karl Robinson some food for thought, and he rescheduled the week to give his players some time away from each other to regroup and come back more determined than ever.
And determined they were as they turned up at training a day early, fully focussed on the busy schedule ahead, beginning with a Yeovil side that has played a strong start to the League 1 campaign.
Gary MacKenzie returned to the first team after time away with the Scotland squad, but his comeback lasted just 11 minutes after suffering a dead leg. Antony Kay ably replaced him, and looked unchallenged for the most as Yeovil offered little going forward.
Luke Chadwick forced a fine save from Marek Stech in the Yeovil net after a smart pass from Daniel Powell picked him out on the edge of the box, but in truth that was about as close as Dons came in the opening 45 minutes.
Fans could have been forgiven for thinking they had seen this one before – in the last two games, Dons had created almost 50 chances and scored none. And for all their possession against Yeovil, it looked like the scorecard would remain unmarked once more.
Chadwick hit the post from a tight angle and Darren Potter forced two more good saves from Stech, but nothing looked as though it was going to be a game-breaker.
That is until substitute Charlie MacDonald, who had replaced Ryan Lowe, raced onto Dean Lewington’s lofted pass over the top, taking two touches before curling om the winner with 16 minutes to go.
“It was a great ball through to him,” said Robinson. “And it was important that he took it calmly and didn’t snatch at it.
“He took his time with it, I heard people shouting ‘shoot!’ at him, but he got it back on his strong side and took it with great aplomb.”
And it probably should have been 2-0 in the final minute when Chadwick opted to pass to MacDonald with only the keeper to beat - though the linesman’s flag put paid to any celebrations.
MacDonald’s first in 19 games was enough to settle the tie, but the manager, remembering the last two weeks, wasn’t sure the goal was ever going to come.
He said: “I’m not being disrespectful to Yeovil, but we could have been so much more. Towards the end, I was starting to worry about whether it was one of those days and ever going to come.
“That’s as good a home performance that you’re going to see. It was comfortable, we had crosses and created chances, had possession.
“Although it didn’t feel like it at the time – we were wondering whether it was ever going to come at all.
“Against Walsall, we resorted to long balls, but today we were far more patient and we knew we had enough quality to get the goal.”
It’s still 100 per cent at home for Dons, with the result lifting them to eighth place in the table, four points behind early leaders Tranmere Rovers.
A win on Tuesday night against fellow front-runners Notts County at stadium:mk could prove to be a vital moment ahead of the busy few weeks ahead.