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Russ: We got away with one

MK Dons boss reflects on the 4-3 win over Northampton Town and discusses Charlie Brown's late winner...

21 February 2021

Russell Martin admitted MK Dons ‘got away with one’ on Saturday but praised the character of his side to find a route to victory.

Despite not being at their fluent best, Martin’s men edged out Northampton Town in a topsy-turvy seven-goal thriller at Stadium MK.

The Dons, who fell behind just 80 seconds in, then surrendered a 2-1 lead to trail with seven minutes left to play, only for substitutes Cameron Jerome and Charlie Brown to come off the bench and secure a dramatic comeback win.

“We got away with that,” Martin said in his post-match press conference. “I'm hurt by the goals we conceded and there is a lot to learn because we cannot be that poor again, but I'm just really pleased that we won.

“Today was really difficult. We played a team that has real belief in the new manager and that are enjoying themselves, and when they went ahead early, they sensed they had a chance.

“We adapted well to that, though. Because of the pitch, we kicked it (long) probably more than we ever have done. Zak (Jules) won most of his headers for us and we played off of that.

“The early goal in the second half then killed our flow. That made them even more aggressive. Credit to Northampton - they were great and they'll feel really unlucky not to have won, let alone not even get a point with the chances we gave them.

“But, we showed unbelievable intensity and character to come back into the game late. We'd have lost that game a short while ago. Now, we don't know when we're beaten.

“The subs all made a huge impact and we needed that - the new energy with fresh legs on the pitch. Four of them were involved in the last two goals – I was really pleased to see Ben (Gladwin) link up with Cammy and Danny (Harvie) with Charlie.

“I'm really pleased for Charlie to have won the game for us and so is everyone else. He's a fantastic character and he's deserved that with how hard he has worked.”

Martin continued with his praise for Brown, while he also reserved a special mention for fellow goalscorer, Will Grigg, who netted for the first time since returning to Stadium MK.

“(Charlie) was a long-term signing for us but he's added to us in the short-term and he’s certainly knocking my door down for a start.

“He's been really unfortunate coming on so far. He's looked lively and got into good positions but he's always putting on a chance for someone else - I'm really pleased one finally fell to him. It was a brave finish, between the centre half and the keeper, and an instinctive one.

“I'm really pleased for Griggy too. He's been great for us since coming in and he's been a really important signing already. I know the goals will come, and I'm sure he'll be pleased and relieved with his goal today.”

Martin added: “All four of our strikers feel they should be playing, which is great for us - hopefully they can all continue that form.”

The Dons have now won three straight games for the first time since 2019 and have climbed up to 11th in the Sky Bet League One table, six points off the play-off places.

Martin, though, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and is solely focused on continuing to build momentum.

“We just have to keep building and see how far it takes us," the boss said. "It is three wins in a row and we've got momentum and we're confident and what wins do is take a bit of pressure off and put a bit more fear into the minds of the opposition.

"My feeling on where we need to go and the work we need to do won't change based on the league position. It's a big week ahead for us but my only message to the players if that we have to keep driving on.”

Martin finished his post-match press conference by addressing the recent rumours linking him with the vacant managerial position at Bristol City.

“I'm so invested in this - the people I work with and the culture we've brought here - that I want to continue to improve and grow it. We've got a lot of work to do, and that's all I'm focussing on.

“If that sort of thing comes up, it shows you're doing an okay job and people are taking note of it. But, in my years in football, I've learned to ignore the noise, and that's all it is. Let’s be honest too - after watching that, I'm not sure I'll be linked to anywhere!”

***

Russell Martin's MK Dons will look to make it four straight wins on Tuesday evening when they take on Shrewsbury Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

Due to the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions, the game will take place behind-closed-doors but MK Dons fans will still be able to watch the action courtesy of iFollow MK Dons.

With an iFollow MK Dons Video Match pass, you will be able to watch Martin's side in action on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device! Want to watch on your tablet or mobile device? Download the new EFL iFollow App and watch on the go, wherever you are!

To purchase a £10 Video Match Pass, click HERE and select Buy A Video Match Pass. Then simply log in to your iFollow MK Dons account and follow the instructions or register for an account, which can be done for free.


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