It has been a long time since MK Dons' last win, but Russell Martin is relieved to finally get the monkey off his back.
Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Coventry City, booking their spot in the next round of the Leasing.com Trophy, ended a 10-game stretch without a victory, and ensured Martin avoided the ignominious record, held by Dan Micciche, of losing his first five games in charge of MK Dons.
Kieran Agard and Joe Mason fired Dons ahead at Stadium MK, though the similarly unwanted streak of red cards continued when Brennan Dickenson was sent off with five minutes to go, meaning Dons have finished a game with 11 players just once in their last six outings.
But after such a long wait since their last win, Martin was relieved to have finally got one in the wins column.
"It feels good," he said. 2I'm delighted for the players more than for myself because they've deserved it after the work they've put in. We've been on the unfortunate end of some results in recent weeks, so I'm really pleased for them, and us as a staff as well. We saw a lot of things transferring from the training ground to the pitch so I'm delighted with tonight's result.
"We're all relieved. We dug in tonight. After that first half, we could have come out for the second half thinking what we were doing wasn't working, but we showed real courage to keep going. We've all deserved it but we have to build on it. It's something to build on.
"We needed something to kick-start us and make sure other people have confidence in what we're doing. Hopefully tonight gives us that."
In almost a carbon copy of the fixture six weeks ago, there was precious little to write home about in the first half. Coventry, who made 11 changes to the side which drew with Ipswich in the FA Cup on Sunday, came closest to opening the scoring, but for a remarkable Lee Nicholls save to deny Amadou Bakayoko.
Agard though gave Dons the lead on 62 minutes before Mason wrapped things up 10 minutes later.
Martin continued: "The second half pleased me most, in the first half we weren't poor, we just didn't get going. We had a few passages of play but we gave them too many chances. We made a few tweaks at half time which worked well, but we had control of the second half. We need to get used to teams coming here and trying to stop us playing, and in the second half we did that.
"We keep improving, we've improved loads already, and we'll go with that approach again on Saturday. There is a lot we need to touch on, loads of positives."