MK Dons manager Karl Robinson praised debutant Antony Kay after his side’s penalty shoot-out victory over Cheltenham Town in the First Round of the Capital One Cup.
Kay, who only signed for the Dons yesterday, was thrown in at the deep end after replacing an injured Shaun Williams with only half an hour on the clock.
The Yorkshire-born defender showed no signs of nerves, fitting into the back four with ease and he even stepped up to score the Dons’ fourth penalty in a dramatic shootout.
Speaking after the game, Robinson referred to his new-signing as a leader and had many kind words to say about him.
“I really like Antony Kay. He put in a man’s performance today, his communication is excellent and he is a real leader on the pitch.
“He did fantastic today, he is a good footballer and he will make a big difference for us this season; he is a big, big signing for us.”
It was not only Kay who caught the manager’s eye as his side progressed to the Second Round with Robinson taking time out to speak of his admiration of both Ryan Lowe, who scored the winning penalty, and David Martin, who saved Daryl Duffy’s penalty, as the two ultimately put the Dons' name into the hat for the next round.
“Everyone is talking about how well David Martin has performed in pre-season and I thought he looked like a man in goal during those penalties.”
“Ryan Lowe has certainly adhered himself to the fans too. He has great movement, a great touch and awareness of what goes on.
I think the whole team who finished that game deserve a tremendous amount of credit.”
It took the Dons 120 minutes and five penalties to secure the win in their opening game of the 2012/13 season and while the Dons’ longest-serving manager was disappointed with the start his team had he was pleased with how they responded and the effort they put in.
“For 20 minutes we started really slow and found it hard to get to grips with the pitch. It was really sticky out there so we couldn’t play as fluid as we’d have liked.
“We lost Shauny Williams through injury and Stephen Gleeson to a good tackle so we were without two of our better players.
“We played for 105 minutes with 10 men which is a long time in football but it’s pleasing for us. I thought it was a good day overall.”
One talking point of the game was Stephen Gleeson’s controversial sending off in the 38th minute. Robinson revealed that he will review the incident with the hope of overturning the decision.
“I thought it was a very good tackle from Stephen. He did not take his body off the floor, he didn’t have his studs showing and he flipped the ball off the player.
“I thought the referee conducted himself well and spoke to me very respectfully. He understands that I have to look at it and I will try and appeal it because it is a difficult one for me to accept.
“When he made the challenge I didn’t even think it was a free-kick so you can imagine the look on my face when I saw the red card.”
The countdown is now on for the League One opener with Oldham Athletic next Saturday and Robinson is itching to get going.
“We now have a big week and we will get ready for the League test against Oldham. I am looking forward to playing against Paul Dickov’s side because they are always a difficult team and he will see a more gritty performance next week.”