MK Dons remain in driving seat after bus chaos fails to derail promotion push

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MK Dons manager Paul Tisdale is pleased with how his players reacted to the setback of their bus being stuck in traffic (Simon Cooper/PA)

MK Dons are in the driving seat for promotion to League One after a 2-1 win over Notts County – the same day as their coach broke down and they nearly missed the game.

Paul Tisdale’s players had a decision to make at 8:30 on the morning of the match when they were informed the team coach was stuck on the motorway with a road closure.

But the promotion hopefuls just jumped in their cars and made the short trip up the M1 to ensure the wheels continue to come off at County.

“Other than me driving a minibus there wasn’t actually much of a choice,” said manager Tisdale.

“It actually created a nice feel to the day. You either start flapping and get flustered or say ‘okay, we’ll have breakfast, get in our cars and drive’ and that’s what we did.

“It could have been a nervous day, but it was like the old days where you just get in the cars and go to the match.”

Dons were in cruise control for most of the contest, although Neal Ardley’s strugglers put pedal to the metal in their early attempts to make inroads.

Just after the hour mark, Dons got the goal their dominance deserved when David Wheeler rose highest to head home skipper Dean Lewington’s pin-point corner.

Chuks Aneke wrapped the game up in the 85th minute with a great solo goal, as he picked the ball up in his own half and beat a defender before smashing home to secure the points.

Ben Barclay pulled one back late on for County but it was too little too late and Tisdale was pleased with his side’s performance.

“It’s very hard to fault the players. They committed to what was asked of them,” he said.

“We looked like a team who knew we could win it. They was an element of control and confidence in the side.

“It’s rare you win the game in the first five or 10 minutes. We’ve done that once this season.

“I’m disappointed we conceded at the end because goal difference could become a factor.  I told the players that after the game, but they didn’t give it away.

“I wouldn’t say it was a subdued dressing room but it was quiet. There were handshakes and everyone sat down, deep breath and have a drink and think about Monday.

“Last week we were absolutely gutted away at Tranmere and we’re not going to make the mistake of being too pleased with ourselves.

“There’s still three games to go and we won’t be taking our eye off the ball.”

County, meanwhile, are in dire straits, with three games to save their skin and avoid dropping out of the English Football League for the first time in their history.

Ardley said: “I can only look at the effort and the application that my team put in,” he said.

“We’ve been doing pretty well at set pieces the last couple of weeks but now’s not the time to start doing badly at them again.

“I think MK Dons have got quality players, you can see that with the subs they’ve brought on. It was always going to be a tough game.

“The players are out on their feet in the dressing room. Mitch Rose has had a chest infection and couldn’t breathe at half time.

“It’s hard to win games, but we’re trying. I reckon we probably need to win a minimum of two to stay up.

“These players have come to fight at this club in a difficult time and they will continue to do so. They are giving everything and that’s all I can ask.

“Who knows what’s written in the stars over the next three games?”