Set-piece Sam stakes a claim

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KARL Robinson’s unique free-kick training gave Sam Baldock inspiration to rifle home Dons’ second goal against Peterborough on Sunday, according to the man himself.

The 22-year-old’s 13th goal of the season from nearly 30 yards gave Dons the lead in dramatic fashion after Daniel Powell had got the hosts level just three minutes earlier as Dons went on to win 3-2 in their League One play-off first leg at stadium:mk.

And Baldock’s inspiration for his ambitious attempt - which made light work of Posh’s defensive wall before beating substitute goalkeeper Paul Jones - had come earlier in the week.-

He said: “In training, the gaffer called me over and told me to put Stuart Searle’s gloves on and said to watch how much the ball moves through the air.

“David Martin smashed a ball at me from about 20 yards, and it dipped and swerved all over the place. But I kept it out, of course!

“So as soon as I saw the free-kick in that area, I said ‘I’m having this.’ Adam Clayton said in my ear that he has bent them in the top corner from there, but I hit it and I was off celebrating before it hit the back of the net.”

Baldock’s only other goal from a free-kick came two and a half years ago in a 2-0 victory over Southend at stadium:mk. And now he says he’ll throw his hat into the rink to take them more regularly in future.

“The quality we have in this team from the set-pieces is great. Peter Leven and Dean Lewington normally dominate when it comes to taking them, but I’ve thrown my hat in there for the next one now,” he said.

While Dons came away from the game with a slender lead going into their second leg at London Road on Thursday, Baldock isn’t expecting an easy ride but believes that Posh’s desire to get back into the game could lead to Dons enjoying scoring opportunities at the other end.

“They score for fun and attack for fun,” said Baldock. “They’ll come at us from the off, but we have the character in the dressing room to withstand their pressure and hopefully go and get more goals ourselves.”

After the game, boss Robinson criticised his side for not killing the tie off when Posh were reduced to 10 men in the second half following the dismissal of Charlie Lee.

He said they didn’t take advantage of some weak Posh defending. And Baldock echoed his manager’s sentiments, but felt the team’s second half display was a sign of things to come, although he admitted that his team-mates felt hard done by at being behind at the break.

“The lead could have been more,” he said. “But we didn’t deserve to be one down at the break in the first place.

“We said we needed to play with more freedom, be more clinical, and have more shots. And within 11 minutes we were 3-1 up and had turned it round!

“I put one just past the post, and we had a few more great chances, but we’re delighted to take a goal lead into the next leg.”