Robbo: Don’t let the three red cards fool you, Dons are not a dirty side

editorial image

KARL Robinson insists there is not a disciplinary problem among his MK Dons side, despite Alan Smith earning the club’s third red card in as many games in the 1-1 draw away at Bournemouth.

Lewis Grabban put the home side ahead after 16 minutes, before Smith saw red for a high challenge on Cherries midfielder Harry Arter. But Daniel Powell managed to net one of Dons’ only second half chances as the visitors escaped with a point.

But despite now having Stephen Gleeson, Antony Kay and Smith all suspended, Boss Robinson does not believe his side have a disciplinary problem.

“People are obviously going to look at us having three red cards in three games,” he said. “But Stephen Gleeson’s red card wasn’t, that one tonight wasn’t either, but Antony Kay’s was unacceptable.

“At first I thought it was a sending off, but I’ve seen the replay and it wasn’t. Smith’s gone to ground, he missed the ball by centimetres, and there’s no great malice in it. I think the referee got kidded because two minutes earlier he committed a foul that was probably worse.

“But I’ve seen four or five tackles against us last week that were nowhere near as bad as that and weren’t penalised.

“It’s not as bad as their offside goal, or when their man (Chris Addison) should have been sent off when Daniel Powell was one-on-one.

“If I’m wrong, I’ll come out openly and tell people. But we’ve got to move past the sendings off and we’ve got to learn that it’s going to be very difficult for us this season.

“But if we can put in performances like that with 11 men, we will be successful together.”

Dons defended brilliantly with 10 men, and with their backs to the wall for much of the second half, forced Bournemouth into lumping long balls towards the head of Steve Fletcher in a vain bid to force David Martin into a save.

And even with his make-shift defence, which saw Jon Otsemobor making his Dons debut, Robinson said you’d have to go a long way to see such a good performance.

He said; “That’s as good a performance with 10 men that you’re going to see. To go down to 10 and a goal down to a team that are spending five times more than us, with the quality they’ve got, and to not let them have a chance, is brilliant.

“We dealt with their style very well. We knew in Dean Bowditch and Powell that we had an outlet, we had Ryan Lowe, so we knew he could hold it up. Darren Potter and Luke Chadwick gave us strength in midfield. Jon Otsemobor wasn’t fully fit, but put in a magnificent performance at right back.

“It felt like the clock stopped at times too! They’re a good team. The fans were a bit unfair in the way they reacted to the way their team was playing, but I thought we looked like we were in control and we retained the ball well.

“We made it difficult for them tonight – they came up against a sturdy, strong MK Dons team.”