O'Riley saw nothing of his winning goal

MK Dons 3-2 Accrington Stanley

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 8:03 pm
Dons celebrate Matt O'Riley's stoppage-time winner

He joked it was the first header he's won all season, but Matt O'Riley said he knew very little about the goal which won MK Dons the game against Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

O'Riley scored his third Dons goal deep into stoppage time at Stadium MK with the game tied at 2-2, nodding in Matthew Sorinola's cross after both Harry Darling and Will Grigg had flashed across his eye-line, securing the team's first win after five without.

"I couldn't see a thing, leapt to the side,I saw Harry and Griggy and the next thing I knew I was on the floor and everyone was screaming!" said O'Riley. "It's probably the first time I've made contact with a header all season, which is pretty embarrassing, but quite cool at the same time! It felt amazing. I think we made it harder than we needed for ourselves, but we need that, needed three points and I'm grateful we made it through the game like we did.

"It was a real rush because we've been on a run that hasn't necessarily been bad, but we've not been winning and we needed it. Everyone felt really good after that goal."

The goal had extra importance to O'Riley as it came from a Matthew Sorinola cross - a player he has known since the pair were just eight-years-old and playing together in Fulham's academy.

Sorinola set up all three of Dons' goals in the victory, and O'Riley said as soon as he was on the ball, he knew where to be to convert.

O'Riley added: "It's mental isn't it?! Three assists on his second start in two months. It's impressive. I've known him since he was eight, so I knew how he plays and what he wanted to do with it, it's good to have that connection. I'm really happy to be playing alongside him."

The victory, while only lifting Dons one position to 15th in League One, was a vital one in terms of morale too after losing four of their last five games. But O'Riley said the team always had faith they woul return to winning ways, even after squandering the 2-0 lead they had over Accrington.

He said: "We haven't been winning but we haven't lost belief. We all still look confident on the ball and we kept going until the end. We weren't on the ropes but we were a bit nervous but we stuck with it.

"Towards the end of the first half, we lost a bit of control. We had complete control in first 20 minutes or so, but we have to learn to keep that control. We have improved over the last few weeks to keep control for longer, and we've got to keep that up for as much of the game as possible."