Dons still mentally weak as they undo their own good work

Russell Martin
Russell Martin

Russell Martin believes Dons' dreadful run is affecting their mentality as they blew a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Rotherham on Saturday.

Despite playing the best half of football in months, which saw them race into 2-0 lead thanks to Alex Gilbey and Joe Mason goals, Dons capitulated in the second period, conceding twice in four minutes to Dan Barlaser and Freddie Ladapo, and then a penalty two minutes later, which Ladapo fired against the bar. With a point on the cards, Ladapo headed home his second and Rotherham's third with five minutes to go, before Baily Cargill was sent off for fighting with members of the Millers' bench.

"People will say it's a mentality thing, and it probably is from the run we've been on," said Martin afterwards. "It would affect anyone. We've been that long without a win that it's bound to.

"There was an anxiety again. We didn't control the game well enough in the second half, and we didn't show any of it in the first because we dominated it. We kept it in their half, and recycled well. We didn't do it in the second half, it was like a basketball match and it suited them. They're direct, which is not a negative, they looked to counter on us and it hurt us. This is a result of not winning for a while."

Dons' first-half performance though was at least something for Martin to hang his hat on, but the manager admitted it was hard to take the positives after throwing away the lead.

He continued: "If we keep playing like that, we'll win more games than not, but we need a result to kick-start us, and I thought it was going to be today. Within 15 minutes of the second half though, you could sense it. There are positives to take, but it's hard to look at them at the moment.

"We were outstanding in the first half. Everyone could feel it and see it. We could have had a few more goals, but we didn't change anything at half time.

"We played out really well in the first half, but it was the next bit where it broke down. We didn't keep the ball well enough, we lost belief and lost control of the game. We had that in the first half, except for the last five minutes. Second half we didn't have nearly enough control and we invited them to do what they did."