Frustrating Dons must be more clinical

Karl Robinson wants his side to take more shots
Karl Robinson wants his side to take more shots

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson said his side must not be afraid to chance their arm as they lost their first game of the season, going down 2-1 to Bradford City.

A defensive melee saw City score the opener after 11 minutes courtesy of Josh Cullen’s strike after Mark Marshall’s cross was deflected into his path.

Five minutes later, Dons’ defence hadn’t settled and were caught off guard as Billy Clarke got in behind Paul Downing to fire in their second.

Dons limped into half time, but came out a different beast in the second half, and despite hitting the woodwork twice and an Ed Upson consolation deep into stoppage time, they didn’t roll the dice enough and it was a root cause of frustration for manager Karl Robinson.

“We got into similar positions as they did, but we didn’t cross the ball, or we didn’t have a shot,” he said. “They get into those areas, cross the ball, it takes a deflection and it goes in. Then Clarke hits one from range and it was perfect - then all of a sudden we were up against it.

“We’re going to get judged again on inches and fine margins, but our problem was not forcing the issue enough. The more you ask questions of keepers and defenders, eventually they’ll crumble.

“We’re dominating 80 per cent of matches, but we have to be more clinical. When we’re wide, we have to put the ball in the box and test our strikers. We’ve got to have shots.

“We dominated territorially, we had twice the shots as them while David Martin didn’t make a save from a shot on target. That sounds critical of him but the first one was deflected and the second was a wonderful goal.

“I’m frustrated with how we played, and with the officials.”

The manager felt though his side should have had a penalty when Dean Lewington was bundled to the ground early in the second half which could have potentially offered them a lifeline back into the game.

But with no decision on the penalty, Robinson felt Lewington had to be booked as a result.

He said: “Before the game, the referee asked us to talk to him, but every time we tried he ignored us.

“If that’s not a penalty, he has to book Dean Lewington. The referee told me to do one when I wanted to talk to him. How is it not a penalty? Book him!

“Dean told me the first challenge caught me and the second one checked me at the waist. I can’t stand here and tell you we’d have won if we had that penalty, but I feel we deserved more than we got.

“I’m not down, I’m frustrated. We have to take the defeat on the chin and go again on Saturday and take our momentum into that game.”