Penalty save felt like scoring a goal for Lee Nicholls

Lee Nicholls is hugged by manager Robbie Neilson
Lee Nicholls is hugged by manager Robbie Neilson

Keeping out Lyle Taylor's spot kick in the 2-0 win against AFC Wimbledon was the goalkeeping equivalent of scoring a goal, according to Lee Nicholls.

The Dons stopper was the stand-out performer at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, denying Taylor early in the second half before flying to his right to keep out his penalty just past the hour mark, and then denying Cody McDonald in the last minute to keep a clean sheet.

Lee Nicholls denies Lyle Taylor from the penalty spot

Lee Nicholls denies Lyle Taylor from the penalty spot

Denying Taylor from the penalty spot though was celebrated by the travelling fans as vigorously as both of the goals scored, and while Nicholls hasn't ever scored a goal, he said saving from 12 yards must be a similar feeling.

He said: "It's always nice saving penalties - I've never scored a goal but I can only imagine it's a similar feeling. We'd done our homework, it paid off and it was a nice feeling.

"To be honest, it's my job, it's what I'm there to do. I've got to keep working hard, keep being in the right place and give myself the best opportunity.

"But credit to the defence today, I wasn't too busy in the first half - I think I only touched the ball with my hands twice. And then in the second, we dug in well, we saw out the game."

Fans will look at the game on Friday as huge in their season - not only the first win over AFC in their own back yard, but also a huge victory over their rivals to see them climb into the top half of the season.

But Nicholls said, despite the hype around the result, he and his team-mates treated it just like any other game and hope it will catapault them into the promotion race.

"It's just another game," he said. "We came into it treating it like any other. We all knew the history and the side-effects, but we prepared like for any other. The win feels good, but we have to build on it now.

"We've set a marker, we've done our job - I'd rather do this every week, get it out the way and let the rest of the league play. But it's done now, and we move on to Northampton on Tuesday.

"It's all about momentum, playing games like this and winning them. If we are going to get promoted, we have to win these sorts of games. I think the squad is really coming together, we're digging in together and things are starting to look up."