Robinson lauds debut hero MacDonald: Match Review

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MK Dons manager Karl Robinson hailed new signing Charlie MacDonald after the striker scored the winning goal on his debut to edge out Stevenage 1-0.

MacDonald, who joined from Brentford on Friday as a replacement for Sam Baldock, tapped in the only goal of the game in the 51st minute to condemn Boro to their first league defeat and keep the Dons top of League One.

Robinson said: "The victory is the most important thing. We pride ourselves on playing good football and I thought we still tried to play.

"First half you could almost apologise to the paying public. The funny thing is that their bus stopped me from getting in when I came into the stadium - I think they parked it in front of the goal as well in the first half.

"It was difficult - we couldn't get round them, over them or through them. We looked a little bit impatient.

"I said to them `second half you've got to be a bit more calculated in your performance, even if the goal comes in the 95th minute, it's about winning.

"I'm so happy that we stayed patient and then we stayed strong - they had at least eight 6ft 1ins plus players on the pitch towards the end, which is difficult to play against.

"Charlie worked hard as well as scoring his goal. That was his first start in the league, he's still not fit, so there's an awful lot more to come from Charlie MacDonald.

"People who have watched this level for a number of years know he's a very sought-after striker. Remarkably we were able to pick him up like we did because we acted really quickly.

"It's just the first steps - we're not saying he's going to replace Sam.

"I've gone and brought Charlie in and it's almost the perfect debut for him with a tap-in from three or four yards out.

"It's one of the best weeks in the club's history with three victories in seven days. We're financially secure now for two years - the chairman has got a lovely smile on his face and so have the players."

The Dons dominated the first half but they struggled to unlock a well-drilled Stevenage defence as Adam Smith, Dean Bowditch and Shaun Williams all blazed speculative long-range shots off target.

The only clear chance of a drab first period fell to Boro midfielder Lawrie Wilson, who fired Byron Harrison's cutback straight at keeper David Martin following Shaun Williams' defensive error.

Martin then produced a routine diving save to keep out Darius Charles' low 30-yard drive from another Stevenage counter-attack.

But the Dons upped the tempo after the break and MacDonald put them ahead just six minutes after the re-start, tapping in Luke Chadwick's unselfish square pass after Stephen Gleeson's exquisite chip had sent him clear.

Boro piled forward late on in search of an equaliser but Martin tipped over substitute Michael Thalassitis' dipping drive and Jon Ashton had a header cleared off the line by Chadwick as the Dons hung on.

Stevenage manager Graham Westley said: "It was a very disappointing performance from us.

"There's never massive margins between winners and losers and the margins went in their favour.

"We didn't fight hard enough for the inches that it takes to win a football match and we showed a lack of intelligence and a lack of discipline in the things that we believe in.

"I'm the manager and they are my team. When you're team doesn't perform to the level you look first of all in the mirror and you have a strong word with yourself.

"And you make sure that you turn up next week with a much more together, positive, disciplined, hardworking performance.

"It's about working together to become better as a unit. This is a body blow to us because we don't like losing.

"I don't believe you walk away unlucky, I believe you walk away with the result your efforts deserve."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Ipswich Town
Lawrie Wilson
Milton Keynes Dons
Dean Bowditch
David Martin
League One
David Martin
Darius Charles
Stephen Gleeson
Dean Bowditch
Luke Chadwick
Charlie MacDonald
Sam Baldock

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