Jonny Williams refused to blame Brighton’s gamesmanship late in the day as they held on to beat 10-man MK Dons 2-1 at stadium:mk.
The Seagulls, through a combination of players, delayed Carl Baker’s stoppage time penalty by nearly three minutes, with the Dons man sending it wide as they dropped into the relegation zone.
“We could all see what was going on, and it has paid off,” said Williams. “It’s not nice to see though. I had the ball when they won their penalty and I gave it to them straight away.
“It’s a shame, but we wouldn’t change our way for the world. It’s the way we play. It’s a shame they had to do that. I can’t predict whether we would have scored, but it’s disappointing.
“There is only so much the referee can do. He can’t physically stop them taking the ball. He’s booked them and done his job, it’s just down to the players who have decided to do it.
“It’s tough to take, and it’s not nice to see.”
Williams was arguably Dons’ stand-out performer in the centre of midfield, replacing the suspended Samir Carruthers. Although the teams started 31 points apart, Dons looked more than a match for Brighton for long periods.
Substitute Tomer Hemed’s impact, replacing Sam Baldock on 52 minutes, was almost immediate as he won and converted a penalty within three minutes of his arrival, before heading Brighton 2-0 up on the hour mark.
Antony Kay pulled one back for Dons before Kyle McFadzean was sent off - a decision Williams questions.
He added: “We’ve got no arguments with their penalty, I was right next to it. The one tackle Darren Potter mistimed it had to be in the box. I thought he was brilliant. The red card I thought was harsh. It was silly, he’s come through the back of him, but it was never a red card.
“It is a tough one to take, especially with the late penalty. We played well for so long in the game too. We went out to do a job today, and for the most part we had Brighton where we wanted them to be honest. But the two goals we conceded were avoidable to be honest, so that’s a disappointing factor.
“They’re a good team so we cannot be too hard on ourselves. We can told our own against any side in this division and I think we showed that today.”
With Dons dropping into the bottom three, a relegation scrap is unknown territory for Williams, on loan from Crystal Palace.
He feels Dons though could be better suited to being the hunter than the hunted as the season draws to a dramatic conclusion.
He said: “I’ve never been in a relegation battle, it’s new for me but it’s one I’m excited to be part of it. Coming from behind, the pressure is always on the team above.
“Rotherham are now the team to chase. We can’t predict the next month, but we’re all excited for the challenge.
“We’re going to have to take points from the teams around us now.”