When Shaun Williams netted his second goal of the season in the 3-1 win over Notts County on Saturday his celebration was one of relief rather than joy.
The MK Dons defender had been putting pressure on his shoulders to score from open play. Williams had already opened his account for the 2013/14 season when he converted a penalty in the 2-2 draw at Preston North End, but the Irishman placed heavy demands on himself.
As the main contributor at set-pieces Williams was delighted when his superb free-kick nestled into the top corner at stadiummk last weekend.
Speaking to MK Dons Player Williams said: “It was a bit of a weight off my shoulders, I’ve been putting pressure on myself to hit the target more and luckily enough it went in. Every time my parents come over they always seem to see me score so I dedicate that to them.”
Goals from set-pieces are not a speciality of the Dons; instead it is their open, fluid attacking style which usually creates the opportunities. However, Williams believes it is important the Dons start to make the most of any opening that comes their way.
“I don’t know what it is really, we get the balls in the right areas it’s just no one seems to be on the end of them. It’s all about chance and luck really. It will all come together over the next couple of games and hopefully we will start scoring a few more from set-pieces and taking our chances when they come.”
Saturday’s win over Notts County, who were sat at the bottom of the Sky Bet League 1 table at the time, marked an improvement on the Dons’ approach from last season. Boss Karl Robinson had warned his players not to get complacent against teams in the bottom half; ultimately indicating dropped points against struggling teams was to blame for missing out on the play-offs last year.
Williams added: “Last year and the year before we thought less of the teams below us and this year we’re trying to pick up as many points as possible no matter who we’re playing against and if we can turn the defeats and draws into wins, it’ll mean more points for us and it all helps. We have to start the games right no matter who it’s against, whether they are top half or bottom half and put a performance in to get the three points.”
This weekend the Dons will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start in the League when they travel to rivals Peterborough on Saturday. When the two sides last met it was in the League 1 play-offs in 2010/11, at that time Williams was unable to feature as he had joined the Dons outside the transfer window.
Williams, though, will be looking to have an impact this time round as the Dons return to London Road looking to exorcise some demons.