KARL Robinson could hardly contain his delight as Dons booked their FA Cup fourth round place with a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.
Despite the rumours linking him to the Blackpool hotseat before kick-off, Robinson appeared in the Dons dugout to guide his team to their first ever fourth round appearance. And to add a little more spice to the affair, Dons will travel to Loftus Road for a rematch with Queens Park Rangers.
Goals from Shaun Williams and Dean Bowditch saw Dons comfortably through at stadium:mk, and Robinson said he was proud of the way all his players performed on the night.
“I’m made up, and the fans deserved that,” he said. “I probably shouldn’t have been here because I’ve got the flu. But I’m so pleased, you know how much this FA Cup means to me and we’re looking forward to the next round now.
“I got sent a new pair of boots this week because mine went missing. But Shaun (Williams) took them and scored in them – at least I can say my boots scored in the FA Cup proper! Thanks Shaun, I’ll keep them forever!
“In this round alone, Williams has played at centre half, centre midfield, and at number 10. He’s a wonderful player.
“But I’m proud of all the players tonight. What a wonderful performance from Gary MacKenzie after being out for three months. Jon Otsemobor was a colossus, and since he’s been out, we’ve conceded an awful lot of goals. And you saw him make two or three good clearances too.
“Alan Smith is a top class professional. He’s definitely getting fitter, he’s enjoying it, and he’s someone who plays the game properly. There’s no messing around with Alan Smith on the pitch, trust me!”
Williams’ penalty after 27 minutes opened the scoring, but Dons arguably should have had a second penalty five minutes later when Daniel Powell was clearly clipped by Joe Mattock in the area when clean through on goal. But having been booked on Saturday against Bury for diving, Powell stayed on his feet, shooting tamely while off balance. An incensed Dons bench rushed over to the fourth official to plead for a second spot-kick, but the man in the middle, referee Lee Collins, waved play on.
And Robinson warned that he could tell all of his players to go to ground if they feel clips in future.
“I’ll make a stand on this because I think it’s disgusting,” he said. “Footballers get hammered every week for diving. Officials and media criticise them for going to ground.
“But when they don’t go to ground, they don’t get the justice. So what am I to say to him next time? Stay on your feet, shoot off balance? Or go to ground, win the penalty, get the lad sent off and put us in the ascendency? Is that cheating?
“I’m sick of everyone trying to take this moral high-ground. Go to ground if you get clipped. That’s what I’m going to tell him from now on.
“Ironically, he got booked for diving against Bury. What’s the kid meant to do? He’s probably the most honest player in the squad, and he’s getting penalised for it.
“If the referee thinks he’s made a mistake, I can accept it. But if he thinks he’s made the right decision, then he has an awful lot of learning to do because that’s a bad decision.”
But a repeat of last year’s third round tie against QPR has Robinson’s mouth watering. Having been cruelly robbed of their fourth round spot by the Hoops last year, the boss is keen to take revenge and can’t wait to face Harry Redknapp’s side.
He said: “I can’t wait. Loftus Road is a proper football ground, and playing in London is great because of the atmosphere. The fans there are very vocal too – trust me, whatever they say, you can hear!
“We’ve got the opportunity to play a Premier League side, against one of the best managers of the last 15 years.”