Karl Robinson admitted he didn’t foresee his side scoring one, let alone two goals against Leyton Orient in a dramatic Capital One Cup first round encounter.
Dons were 2-1 winners at stadium:mk, but were far from vintage and trailed right up until the 89th minute after Dean Lewington put into his own net in the first half.
But an own goal from Orient skipper Mathieu Baudry with a minute remaining threatened extra time, before Carl Baker scored his second of the season in stoppage time to send Dons through.
On a night when Robinson made 10 changes to his starting line-up, he admitted he wasn’t expecting to be in the hat for the next round.
“I couldn’t see us scoring tonight. But somehow we did,” he said. “In fact they scored it for us!
“The players showed a tremendous mentality to keep going.
“I think Leyton Orient deserved a lot more out of the game. We weren’t good today, we looked patchy but when you make 10 changes you’re going to get that.
“We had three players who haven’t even played a game yet. We were a bit thin on the ground.
“But at this stage, it’s an awful lot of football at this stage of the season.”
Matt Upson, Cristian Benavente and Sergio Aguza pulled on a Dons shirt for the first time on Tuesday night, while there were also competitive debuts for Simon Church and keeper Cody Cropper.
The performance from the home side was far from vintage, but Robinson felt there were positives to take.
He said: “All of them had positives and negatives about their performances, but I think the negatives were down to a lack of game practice rather than intensity.”
But it could have been even more intense on his players if the fixture was forced to extra time. In years gone by, the opening round of the League Cup had been played over two legs, but in its current format, takes in an extra half an hour before penalty kicks.
And coming so early in the season, Robinson believes it is something the organisers should look into.
“I don’t think the first round should be going to extra time,” he said. “We’ve been asked to play a competitive team, but to go to extra time when no-one is physically able to do it is hard.
“We could have lost players through fatigue or muscle injury. For us, it was important not to go to extra time.
“This competition is brilliant and beat Manchester United here last year, so we have tremendous affinity with this competition. But they rectified it when this round was spread over two legs, so maybe they need to change this too.”