Dons were at their very best against Doncaster Rovers according to Karl Robinson as he watched his side out-play the League 1 leaders and win 3-0 on Tuesday night.
While many eyes will have been on the Champions League tie in Manchester, Robinson’s side barely took their eyes off the ball as they comfortably out-passed and out-played table-topping Rovers.
It looked as though Izale McLeod would steal the headlines with his 39th minute strike - his first since returning to the club in January.
But with the ink barely dried on Daniel Powell’s new two-year contract, he was in celebratory mood and scored a wonderful volley from the edge of the box after 56 minutes to put Dons 2-0 ahead.
The surprise inclusion of Stephen Gleeson on the bench had the 6,000 fans in stadium:mk cooing as the prospect of the midfielder’s return, and he received a huge ovation when he came on with eight minutes to go. That ovation was even louder when he scored Dons’ third of the night to wrap things up for the home side.
“I think all the headlines came out tonight,” Robinson said. “Izale McLeod scored his first goal since his comeback, Daniel Powell signed a two-year contract and scored a wonder goal and Stephen Gleeson comes back from nowhere and scores the last goal.
“It was so good to see those three scoring, because they’re the ones who have needed it the most.”
Robinson singled out Gleeson’s attitude behind the scenes during his three months out, saying he is one of the best players he has worked with.
He said: “I think the world of the guy. I was told not to put him on, but I whispered to him ‘do you want to come on’ and he sprinted out to warm-up! I didn’t want to put him in the middle where there might have been some added contact.
“But he’s scored a great goal, and he’s really impressed me off the field.
“He’s as good as any other player I’ve worked with here.”
But despite the win, Robinson admitted to feeling frustrated with the performance - not because it was bad, but because he hasn’t been able to see it more often this season.
He said: “That’s us at our best, and we’ve not seen it often enough because of injuries and suspensions. That front four is the one I’ve wanted to put out all season.
“We played Sheffield United when they were top and won, played Tranmere away and won - that shows us what quality we’ve got.
“I thought we could have been two or three up in the first half. Hopefully it’ll kick-start us for the rest of the season. We’ve only lost four games this year, but we’ve had so many draws, and we need to turn those draws into wins.”