AFC Wimbledon assistant manager Glyn Hodges could not have asked for more as he led his charges to a first League One win of the season- a 3-2 triumph over Rochdale.
Taking charge in the dugout after Wally Downes was suspended from his role as manager for alleged betting breaches, Hodges watched on as the Dons made life hard for themselves, going 3-0 up by half-time before the visitors came out and turned up the heat.
But in spite of Ian Henderson’s stoppage-time second goal, the hosts held on for a win that takes them to within four points of Rochdale and safety.
“They were terrific,” said Hodges.
“Lots of things were put into place and I’m really proud of them to perform how they did.
“They were excellent, the players have been absolutely fantastic. We gave them the option to be inventive and bring things to the party.
“To get three goals by half-time was a nice feeling. I felt it was a strong-looking side and they got their just rewards.
“We wanted a fourth or fifth, but we knew Rochdale are a good side who can knock it about. We knew they’d cause us problems.
“We were unlucky to probably not get a penalty on the hour, and then they go and score just after.
“As always with Wimbledon it’s uphill and we don’t make it easy for ourselves.
“We dropped a bit deeper but when you’ve not won for so long, then you expect that.”
Marcus Forss had given the hosts the perfect start at Kingsmeadow, opening the scoring after just two minutes, before Paul Osew and Mitchell Pinnock made the going look easy with half-an-hour on the clock.
And though Dale regained credit with their second-half display, substitute Henderson once again impressing, boss Brian Barry-Murphy was disappointed that it was not enough.
“Our lads pushed Wimbledon right until the last minute, we were relentless,” he said.
“It was difficult circumstances but the way we played in the second half was exemplary.
“We came out all guns blazing second half and put on a stunning performance and pushed them all the way.
“We’re not saying that we’re acceptable at losing three in the first half, it’s difficult psychologically when you concede like that.
“I was keen to see how we reacted in the second half – it was everything that I wanted to see from our team.
“We wanted to be aggressive and keep clean sheets, but it didn’t happen.
“Ian (Henderson) was very ill overnight and wasn’t really available but said he wanted to be involved – that’s indicative of this squad of players.
“We’ve been stretched and have significant players out injured. Ian came on the pitch and scores as he always does.”