MK Dons started their home campaign with a classic ‘game of two halves’ as they edged out Crewe Alexandra with a 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon.
Karl Robinson referred to his side’s first half display, in which they scored the game’s only goal, as ‘sensational’ but branded the team’s showing in the second 45 as ‘diabolical’.
Despite a sloppy second half, the men from MK1 were able to hold onto their slender advantage and pick up their first three points of the season and Robinson, although insistent that his players do a better job of seeing out games, was pleased to round off a good week with a victory.
Speaking after the game, he said: “I thought first half we were sensational. It was a wonderful first half performance and we could have been two or three ahead and I don’t think they could have had any argument.
“But, in the second half, I thought we had a 30 minute spell where we were poor - diabolical to an extent - we were sloppy, lethargic and not like us. That allowed them into the game and I’ve told my players that can’t happen, we had Dave to thank in the second half because he won us the game.
“As the game went on they grew into it and made it difficult for us but in the end David Martin’s goalkeeping, which was magnificent, helped us over the line. We’ve now kept three clean sheets in three games – if you don’t defend well you need your keeper to play well and we defended well for an hour today but didn’t defend well for 30 minutes.
“However, in seasons gone by that possibly would have been a game that we would have drawn, but the performance in the first half deserved to win the game.
“It’s been a good week. One draw, which was on the road, and two wins - a local derby and our first home game of the season. As a manager I don’t think I can ask for too much more than that.”
Many eyebrows were raised before kick-off when it was announced that Robinson had dropped experienced duo Alan Smith and Luke Chadwick and, instead, included youngsters George Baldock and Patrick Bamford in his starting XI, along with Ben Reeves who was filling in for the injured Dean Lewington.
But, after Bamford picked up the game’s only goal and Baldock was awarded Man of the Match, it appears Robinson’s gamble paid off, much to the Liverpudlian’s delight.
He added: “I told (Smith and Chadwick) to their faces that they weren’t starting and they understood why and accepted it. It’s my role as a manager to make those calls.
“It’s not nice but I have to make big decisions and leaving Luke Chadwick and Alan Smith out is a big decision. I felt it was best for this game but that doesn’t mean it is going to be the right decision every week and it doesn’t mean I am always going to get it right.
“I took a chance on George playing because of his performance on Tuesday, but he proved it was a worthwhile decision for us. We signed Ben Reeves because he is a good all-round footballer, he can play in a number of positions and he is quality in a number of positions too. He’s a very talented young man and he is our type of player too.
“As a group we have some very talented players here but, although, they have done a wonderful job over the last few games I think we will only get stronger.
“We signed Samir Carruthers this morning and he will add to the group. I haven’t seen him train yet, he only came this morning. He will go off with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s now and Lee Hodson will go with the full Northern Ireland squad. It’s been quite a good week for the Club.”