Relief for Martin as Dons leave it late

MK Dons 3-2 Accrington Stanley

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 6:55 pm
Russell Martin celebrates with Luke Williams

There was a point when Russell Martin didn't think MK Dons would get a winning goal before Matt O'Riley's stoppage time winner against Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Dons were 2-0 up when Cameron Jerome twice converted Matthew Sorinola balls past Toby Savin in the Stanley net, but two goals in five minutes from the visitors drew them level and on course for an unlikely share of the spoils.

O'Riley, Grigg and Sorinola all had chances to restore Dons' lead, but O'Riley popped up in the 93rd minute to head home the decisive goal to end Dons' losing streak and get them back to winning ways.

Martin said: "We had a free-kick that somehow went past the post in slow motion, a few other good chances and we thought it might not be our day and we were hoping they wouldn't nick something up the other end. These guys don't stop believing, and I always thought we'd get one more chance.

"It shouldn't have been as stressful as it was, but it's a big relief and I've got a lot of pride in the lads in the way they dealt with the emotion and disappointment they showed. But we deserved to win. We played brilliantly, they didn't get near our goal. We conceded two really poor goals and shot ourselves n the foot, but we should have been out of sight by then because we had so many good chances. Some of the stuff we created in the opening half an hour, but we lost a bit of control, and came out and deserved that second goal.

"It took big character to bounce back in the game and show the togetherness to get back into it, and they deserved it."

It could have been a different story though had Stanley clung on for a draw. On an afternoon where Dons dominated, Martin felt his side's wobble in the game came as a result of anxiety. Having lost four of their last five, the manager felt a nervousness crept into his side's performance and allowed Accrington to get back into the affair.

"We made a mistake in our own corner and we conceded," he continued. "With the run of games we've had, it caused a bit of anxiety. And it was so soon after we scored as well. That's all it was down to. If we played the way we were straight away afterwards, we could have enjoyed the rest of the game.

"But we found a way, it took big character and we did it."