Neilson praises Agard's work-ethic after Fleetwood win

Kieran Agard is still seeking his first goal of the season
Kieran Agard is still seeking his first goal of the season

Kieran Agard 'sacrificed' his own goal-scoring chances for the benefit of MK Dons, according manager Robbie Neilson, after his side beat Fleetwood Town 1-0 on Saturday.

While Chuks Aneke took the plaudits with his first half goal being the difference as Dons won their first game at Stadium MK since mid-September, Neilson praised last season's top scorer Agard.

While Dons' record signing is yet to get off the mark this season, he almost scored a deft lob over Cod Army keeper Alex Cairns, and then lashed one into the side netting after a rapid break sparked by Gboly Ariyibi - his only two chances of the game despite being the lone striker.

"Strikers go through that," said Neilson. "The most important thing is getting in the right position. Ryan Seager is the same, but he got his goal against Oxford in the week. If they continue to get in those positions, the goals will come.

"Kieran is a great player for us. He played against a back three on his own, he shifted across, broke in behind. I'm disappointed he didn't get his goal but he sacrificed it for his work rate."

While the scoreline suggests it was a tight affair, Dons never looked in trouble against Uwe Rosler's side. Aneke's goal, coming on 43 minutes, would ultimately be the only thing separating the sides, but the home side were the only ones who really threatened.

Keeper Lee Nicholls barely touched the ball throughout as the defence stood firm, something which pleased the manager.

Neilson said: "This is a massive confidence builder for us. People talk about 1-0 wins being drab and boring, but it builds huge confidence in the defence because we know with a lead, we can see the game out, if needed, or we can go on and get more.

"In the first half, we passed well and created a few opportunities, got the goal. And then in the second, at 1-0, we knew it was going to be difficult because they only needed one chance, slip or a bit of magic for them to get back into the game.

"We stood really firm though and even had opportunities to make it 2-0, but I'm pleased with the resolve of the team."

Having dropped to 17th in League 1 prior to kick off, the result - Dons' third win in a row - only sees them move up three places to 14th, but they are now within four points of the play-off spots.

Neilson continued: "The cup games were great and gave us momentum but the league is the main objective for us. It's extremely tight. We've not had a great start and hopefully we can start to pick up now.

"We're still only four points off the play-offs. If we can find some consistency, pick up points and be right there. We have to remain confident and work hard."