Chicksen: We know Dons should be doing better

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It was two points dropped rather than one gained for Dons as their disappointing league form continued on Saturday, drawing 1-1 with Carlisle United.

Dons looked to have three points in the bag for the vast majority of the game at Brunton Park, passing neatly and frustrating the home fans enough for them to boo their side off at the break, as the visitors gave them the run-around for 45 minutes.

Adam Chicksen’s first league goal was all that separated the sides, though Carlisle barely threatened – their only half-chance saw striker Rory Loy clatter in to David Martin, forcing the keeper off after 35 minutes.

But a late surge from the home side saw Mark Beck equalise, making the 260-mile return journey a somewhat more sombre affair for the Dons players, staff and fans.

“I thought we were sensational in the first 45 minutes,” said Dons boss Karl Robinson afterwards. “Even though they had a lot of the ball in the second half, I thought we rode the storm very well.

“We hit the bar, Lowe had a chance and Mathias Doumbe had a header but it just didn’t go in.

“We didn’t play our football the way we wanted to in the second half and it played into their hands.

“At the end, someone jumps all over Chris Lines and one of their players was more aware and puts it in.”

Two of Robinson’s three substitutions on Saturday were enforced, with Martin and Gary MacKenzie both having to leave the Brunton Park pitch injured.

Robinson said: “It’s the story of the season. David Martin will be a big miss to us, and to lose Gary MacKenzie at the end was a big loss to us too.

“We have to keep looking forward and keep positive. I have to patch the team together, but I can only work with the players I have available.

“We’re still a long way from putting our best team on the pitch. We didn’t have a fit winger to play – Powell wasn’t really fit enough but we threw him on to make a difference in the last 20 minutes.

“It’s difficult when you can’t make subs that can make a difference.”

Replacing Jon Otsemobor at right back for the game, Chicksen staked his claim for a more regular starting position by netting in the first half. Collecting the ball wide, he cut inside his man to the edge of the box, before firing low past Mark Gillespie.

He said: “I’ve been working on it all week, and working hard to get shots off cutting inside from both flanks.

“As soon as I got the ball, I knew I wanted to cut back, and I was just waiting for my opportunity.

“I waited for the ball to settle, I knew I needed to keep my head over the ball and I just hit it! It’s disappointing that we couldn’t grind out the win.”

Chicksen is quickly becoming something of a utility man for Dons. His versatility with both feet means he can play on either flank, be it as a winger or, like on Saturday, as a full-back.

And there’s no one position that he prefers to be playing in, just so long as he’s getting a chance to play.

He said: “I just love playing at the moment, and I’m in a good place. Wherever I play on the pitch, I want to perform and show off my abilities.”

The result at Brunton Park sees Dons fall into the bottom half of League 1, still desperately seeking a second win of 2013 to help get their season up and running again.

With 15 games remaining, Dons are 13 points from the play-off spots, but Chicksen says the team aren’t willing to give up on their promotion dream just yet.

He said: “We have got to believe. If we don’t, we’re cheating ourselves. Looking at the way we played here, it’ll give us confidence. I’m sure the lads will go home thinking we can pull it back.

“League position is key. We all know that and we all know where we should be but we have to take every game as it comes now and start to push up – we have to do it.”