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Match Reports

Karl: Players were magnificent

4 January 2014

Karl Robinson praised his ‘magnificent’ side after they twice came from behind to take The FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic to a Third Round replay with a 3-3 draw at DW Stadium.

After falling behind to goals from Roger Espinoza and Jordi Gomez, midfielder Ben Reeves netted a fine brace in first-half stoppage time to level things up just before the interval.

Latics star Callum McManaman then beat goalkeeper David Martin to restore the hosts lead but loanee Patrick Bamford’s 17th goal of the season in his final game for the Club, saw the men from MK1 keep their FA Cup campaign alive.

And a delighted Robinson was full of praise for his players after the final whistle. Speaking to the media, the 33-year-old said: “The whole team, today, were magnificent and I think they showed everybody in the stadium how much quality they do possess.

“Eight of the 14 players that played were 22 and under and I don’t think any club in the country can boast that. The youth, the energy and the quality amongst the group was just remarkable for me to see.

“Early-on we looked as though we couldn’t get to grips with the pace when they pressed us but I managed to get my message across to the team and I think they took that on board during the game. Then, in the second half, they took it to another level.

“Going to three at the back helped us get back into the game and we knew by doing that we could nick a goal and then revert back to our normal system and still be offensive with what we were trying to do.

“I’m just very, very happy with the way we played today. For a League 1 team to be in the Fourth Round draw for two consecutive seasons just shows you the tremendous grit and determination at this Club. I’m very proud of that fact.

"Three of the last four games have been on the road, so we’ve got to say thank you to the fans for dipping into your pockets and still supporting us because it means so much to us and it means a lot that we know the fact we can perform and you’re used to seeing MK Dons putting in performances like you did today. 

“Also, I thought our fans were great. A lot more than what I expected were here and I could hear them all through the game. Three of the last four games have been on the road, so we’ve got to say thank you to the fans for dipping into your pockets and still supporting us because it means so much to us.” 

Another pleasing thing for Robinson ahead of his side’s busy run of games this month, was to see both Antony Kay and Dele Alli make it through the majority of the game – the former the full 90 minutes – after their first starts since returning from injury.

And the Dons boss was keen to praise the duo, along with loanee Bamford, whose loan finally deal finally comes to an end tomorrow. Robinson added: “I thought Anthony Kay did really well to come back in and play at the level he did. To still be running up and down trying to get into the box and get his header in the last minute of injury time as well just shows you that he’s now getting back to fitness.

“Dele Alli’s also been out for a long time and I thought that he was sensational at times today and Brendan Galloway at 17 to get on the pitch as well was great to see.

“Patrick of course got his goal. He deserved that send off in front of the crowd and I gave him a big hug afterwards and my words to him were ‘thank you and good luck’.”

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