HIS side may have been knocked out of the FA Cup by Barnsley on Saturday, but manager Karl Robinson said he was proud of Dons’ adventure this season.
Having progressed further than ever before this year, making the fifth round for the first time, Robinson thinks the run will go down in history.
Chris Dagnell put Barnsley ahead at stadium:mk after just two minutes, and Marlon Harewood doubled the lead 10 minutes later as Dons started slowly and gifted the advantage to the Tykes.
But a second half fight back saw Dean Bowditch get Dons back in it at 2-1. But his injury, followed by Dagnall’s stoppage time killer ended any chances of Dons earning a last gasp replay at Oakwell.
“We can be so proud of our FA Cup run this season,” said Robinson after the game. “It will go down in history. The FA Cup has put an awful lot of ghosts to bed, and I want to thank the fans and the players for one of the most memorable years in the club’s history. We went out on a limp first half, but second half we showed the passion.
“Now we have to concentrate on the league, we have to give it a right good go now.
“We started very poorly and it’s not like us as home. But we changed the formation after 25 minutes and went to a diamond in midfield and two up front. Sometimes the system wasn’t working they were getting the better of us in the midfield, which isn’t always the case.
“But the boys really gave it a good go. You can’t ask for much more. And the fans were brilliant – they galvanised us in the second half.
“I think we were the best team in the second half, and they were the best in the first.
“Losing Dean Bowditch when we did was a killer for us. I’m sick of it, it’s all season long. We’re just starting to get people back – Gary MacKenzie, Luke Chadwick and Daniel Powell – and then Bowditch was magnificent and his groin goes. Come on, we need some help somewhere!
“This was a proper FA Cup tie. We went 2-0 down, which you can’t give to a Championship team, it was poor of us. But we weren’t as bad as the result shows, because the last goal was a real sucker punch to us at the end.”
But while Dons’ second half performance on the whole can be praised, there was one dark cloud remaining - that of Alan Smith’s late red card.
Smith may have led with an arm as he jumped to challenge with Rory Delap but referee Michael Jones instantly drew for his card, dismissing the Dons forward before he had even got back to his feet.
It’s Dons’ third straight red card in the last four outings, leaving Robinson furious again with a dubious decision against one of his players.
He said: “The Smith challenge is a joke. The referee told me it was for contact in the back of the head. I’ve seen it back, and his contact was below the arm.
“Rory Delap didn’t even think it was a free kick.
“It’s not a sending off, and the referee couldn’t wait to send him off. You could see how quickly the card came out. It was the quickest he’s moved all afternoon. “I’ll appeal that, I might as well go to another dubious panel.”