Karl Robinson always had faith that his side would score the winner, even if he did have to wait until the third minute of stoppage time to get it.
Ben Reeves’ 10th goal of the season ensured all three points in a 2-1 win at home against Oldham on Saturday as Dons moved within seven points of the all-important League 1 play-off spots.
Dons were trailing at the break to a Adam Lockwood header, before a superb Samir Carruthers effort levelled things early in the second half. Genseric Kusunga was sent off for Oldham as Dons threw everything at the Latics, but Reeves was on hand to tap home the winner in the 93rd minute.
“Today, I think people felt we were going to score,” he said. “I felt it was coming and I felt we were going to score.
“We have turned our mentality as a group, and it has made us. It’s a good time, the summer is just around the corner, it’s getting lighter and it’s a good time to put a run of games together.
“As exciting as it is for the fans, it’s the same for the staff. I was jumping around like Brian Kidd when it went in. But I felt we deserved it.
“Oldham were good in the first half, or we were very poor. They caused us a lot of problems.
“But I thought we were very good in the second half. I had a bit of a go at Samir at half time. I told him he needed to score goals, and he shoved one right up me, didn’t he!”
Robinson admitted he needed to be calmed down by referee Chris Sarginson at the break after a free kick was awarded to the visitors by the linesman, leading to the opening goal.
He said: “I’ve never seen a refereeing decision like that - it was diabolical. I was told Reeves pulled him. I asked how he could do that from in front of someone. Then I was told he pushed him. Again, how can he do that in front of him?
“The referee was very good to calm me down at half time though.”
Robinson was forced into making a change to his usual midfield duo of Darren Potter and Stephen Gleeson when the former was ruled out for six weeks with an Achilles injury, discovered during a routine scan as part of a new two-year contract offer.
It was originally feared that Potter would be ruled out for the remainder of the season, but Robinson hopes to have him back in six weeks time.
“We had great news yesterday about it. People don’t realise what he brings to us. He is the one we look to in the dressing room. We looked lost without him in the first half. But we hope he can be back in six weeks, and we hope to have some more positive news about him in the week.
We were talking to him about a two year contract, and we put him in for a scan and he had a nick on his Achilles. He’s the catalyst, and we missed him but he was in the dressing room geeing us on. He’ll be a big miss.”
But Robinson heaped praise on Stephen Gleeson, filling in in the Potter role.
“Stephen Gleeson was my man of the match,” Robinson said. “To lose Darren Potter, which is a massive blow, and then to have to play alongside Reeves, Dele and Samir, it shows huge responsibility and discipline.
“He was frustrated at half time and took his anger out on the game.”
Another player missing was Dean Bowditch, who had surgery in the week to repair his groin.
Robinson said: “Bowditch had an operation when he was younger, and we were told by the surgeon that the stitches were too tight. So we’ve had it redone.
“You can’t always predict injuries but he’s on the mend and he could be back in four weeks.”
The win, Dons’ second in a row, has rekindled their play-off hopes once again as they move within seven points of sixth place.
But Robinson isn’t getting too carried away, and only wants to concentrate on the next game, on Tuesday night against Preston.
He said: “We changed our mentality. But the media and our fans and the chairman, if we win we’re going up, if we lose we’re going down! We need consistency.
“We should only be talking about the next game. It is a cliché now, but it used to be the way. No-one ever talks about the next game.
“We are only worried about the next game, and if we get enough points, we’ll cross that when we come to it.”