KARL Robinson was shaking with anger at the break as he watched his side fall two goals down to Portsmouth before a stunning second half fight back saw Dons nab a point at stadium:mk.
Izale McLeod made up for Brian Howard’s penalty miss to put Pompey ahead inside four minutes, and Gabor Gyepes doubled the lead after 20 minutes heading home Howard’s cross.
Adam Webster turned into his own net just before the break, but Dons should have been out of the game.
Robinson’s team talk turned things around though, as Dons dominated proceedings in the second period, netting an equaliser through Darren Potter and having chances to win it outright.
“The start was horrific,” said Robinson afterwards. “We spoke about not having such attacking centre halves and full backs because we knew they’d try and get in between. And that’s the disappointing thing, because the penalty and the goal came from them doing just that.
“I was shaking, because I was so angry. It was because I care. It effects me emotionally because I care and the players know that. Mick (Harford) had a go at them, and I just went in there and spoke tactically. I told them at half time to show how much the badge and their team mates mean to them.
“It’s all you ask for. We’re not always going to get it right, but you’ve just got to play for the badge. And I thought they did that. They’re all physically exhausted.
“Maybe we should have scored a few more. We had the clear cut chances, but didn’t take them once again. But we’ll keep working on it and I won’t stop until we get it right.”
Alan Smith was introduced on the half hour at the expense of Jon Otsemobor as Dons switched to play three at the back with two up front, and it changed the dynamic of the game in a positive way for the home side, as it sparked their dramatic fight back.
Robinson said: “I couldn’t bring Lewington off because Jon isn’t accustomed to playing at centre back, I didn’t want to bring the wingers off because they were a goal threat, and he was the one who I had to take us off.
“It wasn’t because he was playing badly, he actually got us out of a hole when covering for Shaun Williams. I just had to make the decision, and it worked today.
“We had a decision to make for the benefit of the football club, and I decided to put Alan Smith on. But I didn’t change the game – he did. He lead us to tremendous fight back.”
But while Smith’s performance on the pitch inspired Dons to get back into the game, Robinson felt his player was on the wrong end of some refereeing decisions, and believes his reputation precedes him.
“He is dealt with harshly and strongly and he doesn’t get anything,” said Robinson. “He has been fouled, punched, spat at and kicked at. It’s assault, some of the things that happen just to get a reaction from him. You shouldn’t get a reaction and I don’t condone it.
“Referees have got to stop the fouling him to get a reaction – it’s bordering on cheating.
“I got told by an official today ‘He’s from the Premier League and he’s trying to prove a point’ – how can you accept that? That’s what’s wrong. Everyone goes out on that pitch and should be treated the same by the referee, regardless of who they are.”