Paul Tisdale described Lincoln City’s last-minute winner as ‘gut-wrenching’ but saw signs of improvement from his side on Saturday to give him confidence moving forward.
MK Dons, who disappointed in their 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers, were evidently better against the Sky Bet League Two leading Imps and lead them in the 65th minute through Rhys Healey’s excellent first league goal for the Club.
However, Lincoln responded six minutes later with an equaliser from Shay McCartan before defender Jason Shackell won the contest for the hosts in stoppage time, heading home from Bruno Andrade’s cross.
Boss Tisdale was clearly disappointed at the full-time whistle but was pleased with the team’s progress on the pitch.
“It's a gut-wrencher,” he said in his post-match press conference. “It feels absolutely horrid but although we feel worse, it was a lot better than last week - it was a step forward in many ways.
“We went toe-to-toe with the team at the top of the league. We improved our performance as the game went on - we developed our style in the second half, became more positive and we were out to win it.
“In the end, it comes down to the small details and, against a team that is very well-drilled, those fine margins make the difference. We will become that in time.
“We’re still learning about each other. There's still a degree of trial and error from me. I'm trying to get talent and ability on the pitch - highlight our strengths and hide our weaknesses.
“I've made three or four changes in style in the last few games to see what clicks. Despite that, we’ve played against a side who are undoubtedly contenders for the league and we looked like we could win it.”
He concluded: “There is progress although ultimately we walk away from the ground, look at the league table and see it as a disappointing day. But, I know, deep down, we've made progress.
“We’ve now got to pick ourselves up and hit the ground running on Tuesday.”
Here’s what else Tisdale had to say in his post-match press conference…
On Rhys Healey’s disallowed goal…
“That offside goal could have gone for us, it was that fine a margin. It looks as much level as it does off. We've got to come out on top of those - if we’re a goal or two better, those things don't make the difference.”
On positive substituions…
“The substitutions changed the style a bit and we deserved the goal as a result of that positive move. We went for the win – it wasn't a case of sitting back. I wasn't thinking about holding on for a draw. The whole time they were attacking, I was looking at the really positive front line we had at the end, thinking we could nick it.”
On conceding late goals…
“It's not great - we don't want goals going in in the last minute - but I'm not digging into it just yet. We've certainly not disappointed with our defensive performances generally, but our goals conceded recently have been from set pieces. They're good at set pieces. After 20, 30 games, we'll have got to that point.”
Paul Tisdale and MK Dons will look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they travel to Huish Park to take on Yeovil Town.
Tickets are priced at £21 adults, £17 seniors, £10 16-23 year-olds and £3 under-16s tickets, if bought from MK Dons before 12 noon on Tuesday. Tickets bought on the night at Huish Park will be subject to a price increase.
Supporters with a disability can book tickets for £17 and are entitled to a FREE personal assistant.
Travel is available for this fixture priced at £21 for Season Ticket holders and £22 for all other supporters. Coaches will depart Stadium MK at 2pm.
To book tickets/travel click HERE, visit the Box Office or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will remain on sale from MK Dons until 12 noon on Tuesday.