Players fell well short of their high standards in Dons’ defeat to Stockport

Tommy Smith
Tommy Smith

Defender Tommy Smith said MK Dons’ first-half performance against Stockport County fell well short of their own standards on Saturday.

Head coach Graham Alexander said Dons’ first 45 minutes were ‘damp and vanilla’ as they trailed 2-1 at the break, thanks to goals from Louie Barry and Nick Powell either side of Mo Eisa’s equaliser.

But the hosts could have been ahead when Eisa hit the post, while there were also chances for Ethan Robson and Cameron Norman too.

Powell’s header though came on the stroke of half-time, and Smith felt it highlighted where Dons came up short.

“In the first-half especially, we didn't live up to the standards we've set this season,” he said. “That said, we should still have come in at 1-1 at half-time. We shouldn't be conceding a goal right on the brink of half-time like that.

“If we come in at 1-1 having played poorly, we could regroup and go again.

“At 2-1, they had something to hold on to, they changed their shape and brought on another defender which made them even harder to break down, and we just couldn't get the breakthrough.

“When away teams get a lead, they don't tend to go expansive, they try to shut things down and make it hard. They did that to be fair to them, but we created chances we feel we should have done better with. We didn't have that final pass or touch in the final third to put the ball away, but we'd be a lot more worried if we were getting beaten and not creating those sorts of chances.

“I thought we responded quite well in the second-half, they had some chances when we were chasing the game but I felt we played a lot better and could have nicked a goal.

“If we could have got one, I think we might have gone on to win the game. But all in all, a disappointing afternoon.”