Houghton relieved to see Dons out of the bottom three
After narrowly missing out against Portsmouth on Sunday, Jordan Houghton climbing out of the League One relegation zone is a relief.
Dons' confident 3-0 win against Bristol Rovers on New Year's Day saw them move up to 20th in the table, dumping Tranmere into the bottom three in their place.
Houghton, who chipped in with a second assist in as many games by setting up Kieran Agard for Dons' third late on at Stadium MK, said leaving the bottom three was a relief, especially after coming so close against Portsmouth.
"We didn't want to be in the relegation zone at any stage this season, so it's nice to be out of it, but we need to keep pushing," he said. "We can't think just because we're out of it we can relax. We're on a decent run of form, but we need a run of games. It was frustrating coming in against Portsmouth know although we'd won, that late goal meant we were still in the relegation zone.
"Today, it felt similar but we finished it off with a clean sheet, but there are still a lot of things we can improve. They had some half chances we'd like iron out, but things are on the up."
The win did not look in doubt as soon as Rhys Healey netted the opener on 15 minutes against Rovers. In control throughout, Sam Nombe and Agard made sure in the second half, and Houghton admitted though the visitors had brief spells in the second period when they put Dons under pressure, it was a fairly comfortable afternoon for Russell Martin's side at the start of 2020.
He said: "The main thing was the three points, with a clean sheet and 3-0 reads like it was pretty comfortable, and for parts it was.
"But to be fair, in the second half there was a little period of play when they came out and put us under pressure. We knew it would come - the first half was comfortable but they looked like a threat on the counter. We were set up for that though. We weathered the storm, defended well and the goals came at the right time to kill the game off.
"It's nice coming into the latter parts of a game 3-0 up and passing the ball around, it's a nice feeling."