I am obviously very pleased that Parky's picks proved me wrong today and managed to break the deadlock. Not only that, but it was Paul Benson who netted the winner to finally break his duck, although it must be said, it was all he did. It wasn't a great game and MK Dons made very unambitious and, frankly, disappointing opponents. In the circumstances, we remain a work in progress at best.
There will, no doubt, be a hoo-ha about the referee (Waugh) but I have to say that some of our fans got the performance from him they deserved. He was being cat-called and challenged on nearly every decision from the off when, in my opinion, he was largely getting things right. Our players play for every decision and it's a bit pathetic when the more fickle amongst us scream in derision about every decision almost as a matter of course. Almost inevitably it lead to a series of poor second-half decisions that went against us.
Despite all of the injury concerns, we only started with two changes; Jonathan Fortune was back for Llera and Matt Fry came in at right back to allow Johnnie Jackson to move up and play wide left, enabling Lee Martin to start upfront with Paul Benson. We started well and looked comfortable enough in the first-half but didn't put MK under anything like enough pressure. The count was a thumping long-range save from Semedo, a free kick which cannoned off the wall, three crosses and a corner or two. MK managed nothing that I can remember.
Semedo and Racon had their most controlled game while a long time in the middle and most of our efforts came down the right side. In fact, I didn't notice Scott Wagstaff was even on the pitch until 30 minutes in. He did very little and only had a couple of second-half runs before rightly making way for Pawel Abbott.
Things improved slowly in the second-half , especially after Abbott came on in the 70th minute and Reid joined for Jackson five minutes later. All of a sudden we were more balanced upfront and Reid looked to be waiting for his opportunity. There was a lot more urgency and as we upped the tempo, MK began to make mistakes as they hurried to match us. Finally Reid got a ball and made a strong run which lifted the crowd who had been very good throughout and you got the feeling we might just break the deadlock. Sure enough, Reidy's next run was a classic as he ran right around MK's right full-back and drove a ball into the near post which Benson got to first and volleyed low past the helpless Martin in the MK goal from six yards out. The relief was palpable and you could sense the collective determination of our players not to concede after that in the five minutes that remained of full-time and the three of added time.
Three 1-0 wins at home and a couple of draws is hardly inspiring but it is keeping us in the top-half of the table and we have climbed to seventh ahead of the derby at Brentford. I am looking forward to it much more than before kick-off this season and believe we might just play with a bit more freedom and confidence than in recent weeks.