Neilson makes a perfect start to life at Stadium MK

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson

Robbie Neilson was delighted to have started life at Stadium MK with a win.

Not only was it Dons' first league win at home since March 5, it was also Neilson's first game in charge at home, and it came against none other than AFC Wimbledon.

READ MORE: MK Dons 1-0 AFC Wimbledon: Bowditch is spot on in Dons victory
While it doesn't make much difference in the landscape of the league table - Dons climbed one place to 18th before the rest of League 1 kicked off - the victory was an ideal start for the new manager.

"I was delighted with the players, they were exceptional," he said. "Since Stevie and I have come in, they've given everything and they're desperate to do well. We've changed things here and there

"We shouldn't be where we are in the league, with the players we have we should be higher. It's a similar game to the one in Scotland - a lot of blood and thunder, with flashes of quality in there.

"We've worked on becoming more defensively sound and organising ourselves a bit better. There's still a long way to go, we need to be more organised and vocal. Today was a great marker for them, because we're going to expect that every week now."

After the match, AFC boss Neil Ardley said he felt the penalty, which Dean Bowditch slotted away in the 62nd minute, was fortunate to be given as Dean Lewington and Paul Robinson tangled in the area. Neilson heaped praise on his skipper for his performance, playing out of position at centre back, but admitted he'd not seen the penalty incident back.

He said: "Dean Lewington was exceptional. He was moved there at the last minute because of Joe Walsh's injury. But there was a good balance us, we didn't open up too much.

"I knew Dean could play in there because of the attributes he has, we considered playing him in a three, which would suit him down to a T. He's experienced, he's aggressive, he's organised and he's a leader, he's ready made to play as a centre back.

"I haven't looked back at it again, but I'm not going to say 'are you sure about that?' to the referee! Maybe Neil will be disappointed in it, two players have come together - how they came together I don't know."

And winning his first match, Dons' first league in nine months at Stadium MK, Neilson hopes the win over AFC can act as a springboard for the rest of the season.

He added: "That's football - you go through peaks and troughs, ups and downs. To put it to bed in such a big game and the manner we did it... If you're 3-0 up with half an hour to go, you can be on easy street.

"But against a very good side, with all the history that goes with it, we had to fight for each other, defend for each other, put bodies on the line.

"Hopefully this is the springboard."