IT looked like a walk in the park as Dons saw off Carlisle 2-0, but it didn’t stop manager Karl Robinson fuming at the start of the second half.
A somewhat sleepy home side came out after dominating in the opening 45 minutes, and already a goal to the good through Luke Chadwick, looked as though they were playing within themselves, angering their manager on the sidelines.
“I felt we looked so comfortable in the first half,” said Robinson. “Maybe they thought we didn’t have to turn up in the second. If you give Carlisle a chance, you’ll end up on the wrong end of the result like we saw last year.
“We felt we started brightly, but our play deserved more than we got. But we’ve seen many a time at stadium:mk when we’ve been dominant and not got the second goal and the opposition have nicked one.
“But we looked comfortable against a good Carlisle side and we had to be at our best.
I thought for 20 minutes at the start of the second half and really had us up against the wall.
“But once we got to grips with them, people started having a go at each other and got us out of the nests we were in, we went from strength to strength from there.”
The game-breaker came 20 minutes into the second half when a break, starting with a Darren Potter tackle in his own penalty area, ended with Ryan Lowe scoring his first goal since joining from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer.
But while his manager was delighted to see his new striker net for the first time, Robinson was keen to see Lowe’s striker partner get a goal soon.
Robinson said: “It’s nice to see Ryan score, but we want to see Charlie MacDonald score as well because of his work rate. There’s a really healthy relationship between them, and a real togetherness between them. I think they realise they have to have that to keep pushing each other and keep each others standards high.”
Arguably the biggest cheer of the day from the 7,000 plus Dons fans came when Jimmy Bullard made his debut for the club after signing on Tuesday night.
The former Fulham midfielder made a big difference in the midfield five, but could have had a goal of his own with minutes remaining, instead trying to pick out MacDonald.
But his manager was delighted with his input and impact on the club after just a few days.
“Jimmy scored two or three like that in training,” Robinson added. “So when it fell to him I just thought ‘ah here we go!’ but he knows Charlie is looking for a goal too. “He’s created a north-south divide – he wants to give his southern mate a goal!
“Jimmy was penetrating; he wasn’t doing it for the sake of doing it. He got everyone going, he got Stephen Gleeson and Darren Potter playing.
“He’s a tremendous asset to us and a great footballer. The fans have really responded to him, and he carried that with him wherever he goes. He’s a great character to have in the dressing room.”