“A wonderful game of football” is how Karl Robinson described his side’s seven-goal thriller with La Liga side Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday night.
The Dons extended their unbeaten run to eight games with an enthralling 4-3 victory over Rayo Vallecano, in the Club’s first home pre-season friendly of the season.
Captain Dean Lewington put the Dons ahead inside three minutes before Rayo winger Johan Mojica turned things around with two well-taken goals. Robinson’s men, though, bounced back and strikes from Luke Chadwick, Jason Banton and Darren Potter had the home side 4-2 up before Adrian Gonzalez netted a third for the Spaniards on 77 minutes.
And while Robinson was pleased with the memorable result, the 32-year-old Liverpudlian was even more impressed with his side’s ability to match a La Liga side which finished just four points adrift of European giants Valencia in 2012/13.
Speaking after the match, the Dons boss said: “I think the fans here today have been treated to a wonderful game of football.
“We’ve had a fantastic summer working on different things and I think it’s starting to come off a little bit. We’re still a million miles away from being completely fit but they put two teams out today and they’ve got four or five internationals on that pitch and we matched them.
“(Rayo Vallecano) were a joy to watch for 20 minutes but the most important thing is we got the hang of it, we learnt from them and then we took it into the second half. We were playing against a team which finished eighth in La Liga, that says it all, but I thought we coped really well.”
Although the Dons won the game pretty comfortably in the end, it was a complete different story on the half-hour when Mojito fired in his and the Vallecanos’ second, putting the dominant Spaniards deservedly in front.
However, Robinson’s men fought back and the Dons’ longest serving manager was delighted with the exciting and energetic style of football his team showcased in the second half.
He added: “I was really impressed with our legs and our energy. Smithy looks as fit as he’s ever looked, Patrick comes on and, although he’s still a long way from being fit, he looked like he had tremendous energy, along with the whole group. I thought we saw a new Daniel Powell as well.
“In Jason we’ve got that player that gets you on the edge of your seat and I think Lee Hodson showed how good a defender he is too tonight, the only mistake he made is when he got cramp and they got the penalty but he’s not played much football – that was only his second game for us.
“We finished that game with a lot of young players on the pitch because, this year, we're a young team with bags of potential and it’s exciting. I'm not getting carried away and saying all this because of tonight’s result but because of how pre-season has gone as a whole.
“I’ve still got a bit of tweaking to do and there’s still one or two things I’ve got to do with the team which I’ve now got ten days to do. We’re back in again tomorrow and then we start work on Barnet and then we crank it up a little bit.
“I went to Shrewsbury the other night and they were fantastic and I told the players that if they’re not on their a-game when that match comes around they'll find yourself wanting.
“But, I thought tonight we got back to being us, we got back to being enjoyable to watch. We had people on the edge of their seats getting excited.”