Martin unhappy with Dons' Boxing Day point at Southend

Russell Martin admitted his side were lucky to get a point against toiling Southend on Boxing Day.

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 5:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th December 2019, 5:57 pm
Russell Martin and Luke Williams. Pic: MK Dons

Despite twice leading, through Joe Mason's first half effort and then Rhys Healey's first goal since early September, both cancelled out by a Jason Demetriou penalty and then a Rob Kiernan header, Dons were distinctly second best at Roots Hall and could have come away with nothing but for some terrible finishing from the hosts.

Speaking afterwards, manager Martin said it was the worst performance he had seen under his tenure.

"It's a point better off than we were, but I'm not really happy with how we got it," he said. "In the first half, we got the goal, but gave them a penalty – a rubbish way to concede. They've had nothing until that point.

"We got ahead again with a training ground move we've worked on, but then we give them another one. It was difficult in the second half, we were far too open and looked like conceding far more than we have done recently.

"We needed to dig in and do the basics and defend our box, but we gave them another terrible goal. I've said that to the players, and they cannot be happy about it either. That should hurt them, it hurts me. Teams haven't got to work hard against us to score.

"We dug in for 10 minutes at the end, and we got a point we may not have a few weeks ago perhaps. But we're a point better off and it's better for us than Southend. We didn't reach the standard we should, the players are disappointed and so am I."

Dons were poor in possession all afternoon, with the likes of Dean Lewington and Ben Reeves, in particular, looking out of sorts, and the manager felt his side are still carrying a lot of anxiety in their play.

He said: "I don't know how we clear that last bit of anxiety we've got. I've been so pleased recently, but things like that is fundamental, it's basic. We have to defend properly, but the goals are not pretty. We'll look and analyse, but as a group we need to be honest and we need to improve.

"We battled for a point, but in terms of performance, it's nowhere near good enough."