Robbo decisions suit Dons

Monday 11th March 2013 9:11

Karl Robinson: Has made a number of good decisions recently

Karl Robinson: Has made a number of good decisions recently

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MK Dons' FanZone blogger Dominic Damesick believes Karl Robinson and the club's supporters both deserve praise for the team's recent good form.

Two special mentions in this piece go to those deserving of praise: Karl Robinson and the MK Dons fans.

The Dons' manager has been under great pressure and scrutiny in the last few weeks, and has responded in the best way possible, with a stunning 3-0 victory at home to league leaders Doncaster, and a battling draw away at second-placed Sheffield United.

In those two games the side also suffered potentially destabilising setbacks, as first Luke Chadwick and then Daniel Powell had to withdraw in the first-halves of the respective games.

Yet Robinson's side did not lose their way, but persisted with the same quality of performance, and the Dons' supporting cast proved their worth.

Robinson has been brave in his decisions over the last few days, and has got nearly all of the key decisions right.

Against Doncaster he brought on Izale McLeod for the injured Chadwick, an inspired choice as McLeod was then involved in all three Dons goals.

The manager also decided to give Stephen Gleeson, returning from a broken foot, a run-out, with the game not completely safe at 2-0, only to watch the returning Irishman put the game to bed with practically his first touch.

Robinson then decided, against the wishes of the masses, to start Alan Smith against a brutish, hostile Sheffield United team, which allowed the Dons to better compete with the Blades physically; and chose to bring on Mathias Doumbe ahead of Jon Otsemobor for the injured Daniel Powell, with the Frenchman proving a key figure in the Dons' defensive shut-out.

Robinson also plumped for Patrick Bamford ahead of McLeod off the bench, and should have been rewarded for his judgement on this count, had a penalty been given when Bamford was felled in the box, instead of the on-loan Chelsea striker being ludicrously booked for diving.

Robinson's track record on key decisions over the last few days has really been quite remarkable, and a timely reminder of the talents of the youngest manager in the Football League.

Secondly, tribute must be paid to the fans, who have raised their voices (and with it the Dons' game) over the last two matches.

I have, at times, been critical of the MK Dons' fanbase: quick to moan, slow to support has been a favourite (and accurate) motto of mine.

Yet, any gripes I have had with the fans before, and any shortcomings I might have had at times as a fellow fan, seem to have been put firmly to bed in the last two games, as the supporters have played a crucial role in the Dons' four-point return.

Against Doncaster, despite a small mid-week attendance, the fans were vocal from the off, driving the side forward, appreciating good passages of play and showing patience with mistakes.

Against Sheffield United, specifically in the second half, the fans were perhaps even more inspirational.

The Dons spent the second period defending the goal in front of the travelling MK Army, who played their part in keeping the ball out of Ian McLoughlin's net, willing the side on, pleading, pushing for the ball to be cleared to safety, as it was, time and again.

Yes, sometimes the fans are slow to get going; sometimes it can be quiet; sometimes the numbers can be disappointing; and those who go to football with a mission to moan still grate on me, but it certainly felt like, as a fanbase, the supporters of MK Dons struck a common chord this week, uniting behind their club to superb effect.

Even if promotion proves beyond the Dons this season it would be good to end this campaign, and perhaps start the next, with some momentum, and the fans can play a vital role in that.

By Dominic Damesick, FanZone's MK Dons blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @DominicDamesick - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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