A DISAPPOINTED Karl Robinson saw Dons’ 2-2 draw away against Sheffield Wednesday as two League One points dropped rather than one well earned on Saturday.
Robinson watched his side race into a 2-0 lead inside the opening half hour with goals from Peter Leven and Daniel Powell.
But Gary MacKenzie’s needless tug on Clinton Morrison on the halfway line five minutes before half-time earned him a second booking and put his side under serious pressure as the Owls threw everything forward in at attempt to draw level in the second period.
And their pressure paid when first Neil Mellor and then Morrison scored to draw the hosts level, before Leven was given his marching orders with 10 minutes to go after a cynical challenge on Mellor as he broke on goal.
But despite the enormous challenge his side faced, Robinson was disappointed to leave Sheffield with only one point.
“For me, I see it as two points dropped,” he said. “I felt that at certain stages in the game, things could have gone our way a bit more. The way we opened up, retained the ball and expressed ourselves was good to watch.
“If I was a Sheffield Wednesday fan, I’d come away thinking ‘fair play to MK Dons.’ We played great football with 11 men, then 10, then nine, and showed a great togetherness and work ethic.”
Dons were on the end of some questionable decisions at Hillsborough, but Robinson couldn’t argue with the red cards shown to both Leven and MacKenzie, but questioned why Owls stopper Arron Jameson was allowed to stay on the pitch.
He said: “I thought their goalkeeper should have gone in the penalty decision - that rule must have changed.”
Speaking about the MacKenzie red, Robinson said: “The first foul was a booking, and then for the second one I felt he was being fouled, but the referee didn’t give it, and then he pulled back Morrison.”
And his half time message was simple: “Say a prayer! And when we went down to nine, say another one,” said the Dons boss.
“But when you come here, the fans make it difficult for you. We had to roll our sleeves up at the end of the game, and we felt we did.”
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Dons could have won the game late on when Dean Lewington’s volley came back off the crossbar.
“He said it was a great strike,” said Robinson. “But I said it was a bad miss. After all that went on, you’d take a point, but initially when you look at the game on an even keel, and the way we set up, I felt we should have won the game, but other obstacles were put in front of us.”
Loan signing Keanu Marsh-Brown made his first start for Dons since signing on loan from Fulham, and he immediately made an impact, being bought down to win a penalty, and then setting up Powell to double Dons’ lead.
“For a kid of that age (18), he has tremendous ability,” said Robinson. “We also have David Amoo who I feel sorry for, because every time I’ve gone to put him on, we’ve had a man sent off!”
“But from that, he also set up the second goal. But he just ran out of legs towards the end so we had to bring him off and he gave everything. “
After four away games on the spin, Dons are now unbeaten in five on the road - a dramatic turnaround from the early season fortunes - and Robinson is looking forward to getting back to stadium:mk for Dons’ game against Brentford on Saturday.
And with Dons back in the hunt for the play-offs - level on points with Oldham and Charlton just above them - Robinson thinks that after Saturday’s game, his side are ready for bigger and better things as the season nears its final third.
“That’s our job - to win matches and not get beaten,” said Robinson. “When you go away it’s difficult. And coming to grounds like Hillsborough - I loved it. I love coming to stadiums steeped in history and the fans are going to be loud.
“They are one of the best teams in this division and I thought we showed we are too. But we’re a work in progress of youth and energy and long may it continue.”