Paul Tisdale was pleased with the second-half response from his MK Dons players in their 1-1 draw with Grimsby Town at Stadium MK.
Jordan Cook put the Mariners ahead in Tuesday’s Sky Bet League Two clash - the first time that Tisdale’s side had trailed this season - but MK Dons responded after the interval, with Robbie Simpson heading home his first goal for the Club just 40 seconds into the second half.
Tisdale then watched on as the Dons put their visitors, who were reduced to 10 men, under immense pressure in the closing stages and although he wasn’t able to celebrate a winning goal, he was happy enough with the intent shown from his players.
“I enjoyed watching the players respond and I enjoyed watching their fight in the second half,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“I enjoyed watching them go 100% flat out to win the game - whether we actually put the ball in the back of the net at the end of the game is a different matter but in terms of the intent we showed, I was delighted with it.
“I was very disappointed with how we played in that first 20 minutes. We had discussed the points that we failed on, before the game. All our talk and purpose is positive and is designed to play football and score goals, we just didn’t turn that into a fluid, energetic, creative performance in that first half. Every game I’m learning about where we are as a team.
“We had to make some adjustments at half-time and what we did got us moving and we scored that goal. It gave us a really good chance in that remaining 45 minutes to go and score a second and I thought we came pretty close and we’re disappointed we couldn’t do that. We did everything but score that second goal.
“It was good to show a fighting performance to everyone to prove that we’ve got that in us. Okay, we started poorly but we responded and I’m pleased we were able to give everyone a bit of positivity leaving the stadium, even if it wasn’t a win.”
Here is what else Tisdale had to say in his post-match press conference...
On the half-time substitutions...
“Substitutions aren’t always a judgement on a player - it’s not necessarily about me substituting who I think is the worst player, it’s about doing something that can instantly make a difference to the flow of the game. Alex Gilbey and Ryan Watson weren’t necessarily the worst two players - I thought we were poor generally across the pitch. There were one or two players who I weren’t happy with in that first half who stayed on the pitch. At half-time, I don’t have too much time to coach what’s just happened in the first half - I’ve only got three or four minutes to get some information across and make a difference.”
On the red card to Grimsby’s Paul Dixon...
“I think they both went in for the ball, maybe he was a bit late. We suffered from one ourselves on Saturday. I rarely give an opinion on the referee because he’s got a hard job to do. As I said on Saturday when our player got sent off, the referee is there to make those decisions.”
On the unbeaten run stretching to five games...
“We’ve shown we’re competitive and we’ve got some energy and intent in our play. There is a lot for more to improve on and sharpen up a bit but so far so good.”
On the late goal-mouth scramble...
“You have to give them credit for how they kept the ball out of the back of the net. On another day, we might have put the ball in the net - I don’t know.”
On Robbie Simpson...
“I thought Robbie gave us something instantly. He has still got a yard to gain in terms of strength and sharpness but he made a difference tonight. He’s a player I appreciate because he gets in the right place at the right time and he does the right things for the team. I’m glad Robbie has come to the Club. I didn’t think he’d be featuring so soon but we’ve had such depletion in our front line. I’m delighted for him to score that goal. I thought he could have had a second or a third but he couldn’t quite find it.”
On Baily Cargill...
“I thought Baily Cargill came on and really contributed through that middle third on the left-hand side. He’s still searching for match fitness too but he’s a good footballer and he’s come on and made a really good start with his league career here.”
On the Carabao Cup tie with AFC Bournemouth...
“We are looking forward to it. It’s always nice to go and play at Bournemouth - I’ve always enjoyed matches there. It will be nice to see Eddie [Howe] and his staff who I know well. We can go there and look forward to the game with very little to lose - players should be looking forward to it. It’s impossible for me to know what team we’ll select because we’re losing players to fatigue and injury and players are coming back. It’s still a week away, which is a heck of a long time in football. Hopefully we’ll take some supporters down who will enjoy the evening too.”
Next up for Paul Tisdale and MK Dons is the visit of Exeter City to Stadium MK this Saturday afternoon.
Tickets are priced from £22 adults, £17 over-65s and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE with a Young Dons members. Supporters can upgrade their seat to East Centre for just £5 more while an upgrade to clubRed is available for a £10 premium.
Club Dons members can enjoy a £5 discount on 10 EFL matches during the 2018/19 season - Young Dons members are entitled to £1 off all 2018/19 EFL matches. Season Ticket holders can also bring a friend for FREE on one occasion during the campaign while Premier Members can do so twice.
To book tickets click HERE, visit the Box Office/cash-only ticket booths around Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off.