Dons boss Mark Robinson left fuming at set-piece defending in 3-3 thriller with Rochdale

BY DANIEL MARSH

Mark Robinson expressed his disappointment after AFC Wimbledon failed to wrap up League One survival – with sloppy defending costing them dear in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Rochdale.

The Dons fought back twice to take a point which lifts them to the brink of survival, bar a disastrous outcome in their final two league games.

Soft goals from Jake Beesley and Gabriel Osho had looked to have given the visitors a survival lifeline, only for the Dons to reply with two goals in five minutes through Jack Rudoni and Ollie Palmer.

Jimmy Keohane restored Rochdale’s lead in the 73rd minute of a gripping game, before Joe Pigott missed an 84th-minute penalty – his second spot-kick miss in four days. Pigott would make amends in style, equalising with a stunner in the 97th minute.

But head coach Robinson was left to rue his side’s “complacency” from set-pieces – with all three of the visitors’ goals coming from set plays.

“Complete disappointment,” said the Dons boss. “Tonight’s the first time I’ve felt like that since probably the Hull game. Saturday we didn’t take our chances but we were very, very good. But tonight the goals [we’ve conceded] you can’t feel anything other than disappointment because we’ve been so good.

“I didn’t feel there was complacency anywhere else on the pitch [apart from set-pieces]. [Rochdale] were excellent, they were on the front foot and picked up too many second balls from us. But for the first half hour we were dominant – we must have had six or seven corners before they got in our half. But it’s very difficult right here and now to get over the manner of the goals, because trust me, if you watch them back you’ll be struggling, because they’re really poor.

“Andy’s hurting in there. He sets them up for set-pieces but there’s nothing he can do – it’s players taking responsibility and doing their jobs. They’ve scored three goals from set-pieces which is really disappointing.”

Wimbledon fought back twice in the second half to secure a point which should realistically seal their League One status for another year.

But the Dons boss was still far from impressed after a disappointing display on a night where a win would have put the relegation fight to bed once and for all.

“I find it hard to look at it like that because we shouldn’t have been in that position,” Robinson added when discussing his side’s second-half fightback.

“We’re a professional football team and heads shouldn’t drop – that’s the sort of thing you expect. I’m not going to feel happy about that, those things should happen. It’s the manner of the goals which is important, and the manner of their goals are so poor. Tonight we were so far off it I can’t believe. So they’ll come in to work tomorrow after watching them and they’ll deliver to us, because there’s so much wrong.

“We had enough chances in the first 25 minutes, getting in good areas, to be in front. We’ve done what you expect, which is come back. They’re good players and we’re a good side, so I expect them to come back. That can’t overshadow the goals, it just can’t. If they’ve had to really earn those goals it’s a different story. But honestly, the things that are going on there, I’ve just watched them back three or four times, it’s very hard to see any positives.

“It’s not frustration, I’m just scratching my head trying to work out where it’s come from, because there hasn’t been any complacency. So why players would switch off in key areas when we’re in the position we’re in and let things like that happen, I’m just sort of scratching my head right now. I want them to come up with the answers when we’re back at work. I don’t know how we can switch off like that. We’ve had to work really hard for our goals tonight, and as well as I thought [Rochdale] played, they haven’t had to work hard for their goals.”

 


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