Nicholls take the plaudits after penalty heroics against AFC Wimbledon

Lee Nicholls makes the save from the spot to deny Callum Reilly
Lee Nicholls makes the save from the spot to deny Callum Reilly

Paul Tisdale praised Lee Nicholls after the goalkeeper saved two penalties during Dons win over AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday.

The keeper flew to his left to keep out Joe Pigott's effort during the second half of the 2-2 draw, before saving Callum Reilly's spot kick in the shoot-out as Dons won 4-2 to progress into the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Nicholls also saved a penalty when the sides met at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in 2017, making something of a habit of it against AFC Wimbledon, and drew praise from his manager following the win.

"It's not often I congratulate a keeper and his coach after a game!" said Tisdale. "I thanked Mel Gwinnett and Lee Nicholls for trusting in each other. They practice, they research, Lee has to execute and do his job, and Mel played a role in that."

Dons too saw penalties missed, with Conor McGrandles missing a third minute spot kick, and Baily Cargill's effort in the shoot-out denied by keeper Nik Tzanev.

But while tensions were bubbling off the field, it was a thrilling encounter on it. Dons fell behind to Scott Wagstaff's eighth minute strike before McGrandles made amends, firing home Regan Poole's cross after 16 minutes. David Kasumu them scored a spectacular effort five minutes into the second period before Pigott's first penalty was saved by Nicholls. A stoppage time equaliser from Luke O'Neill sent the game to penalties before Alex Gilbey fired home the decisive spot kick.

Nicholls celebrates his save from the spot

Nicholls celebrates his save from the spot

Tisdale added: "It was a really good game. I was really proud of how we played, it was really gutsy and we finished the job, just!

"There was passion, intensity, vigour, determination, it's what we expect. They played their game, we played ours and I'm already looking forward to the next one.

"I said very little to them. They were frustrated after conceding and wanted to talk about it. I told them to shut up, think about what's coming next, Lee will be fine, take your time and be cool. There's no magic key, but we kept it cool on the penalties and Lee made his saves.

"It's a small, tight arena and we got this type of game. We matched their intensity in the first half and got our goal.

"We could have done with a third but we left the door open. They worked their goal really well, really patient. It was a good game all round."