Mark Jackson bewildered as MK Dons ‘chuck away’ two points in survival scrap
MK Dons manager Mark Jackson was at a loss to explain how his relegation-threatened side “chucked away” a three-goal lead to draw 4-4 with Barnsley.
Mo Eisa’s brace and goals from Jonathan Leko and Warren O’Hara inside 20 second-half minutes looked set to bolster Don’s League One safety ambitions.
But Jackson’s side disintegrated, shipping three goals in the final 17 minutes to sink back into peril with a game to play.
“Up until the point of their second goal I think the players executed what we wanted them to do superbly,” said Jackson.
“As soon as that second goal went in for Barnsley, we have to deal better with those moments.
“We have to stay strong, we have to stay disciplined in what we’re going to do, so it’s really disappointing. It’s hard to process.
“In that spell where they scored the second goal and then the next two, we showed a vulnerability that we’ve had on occasion this year.
“But up until the point of their second goal, the lads were fantastic, the work rate, the togetherness and the desire to execute was superb, we’ve just got undone in a 15-minute period.
“Before the game we’d have said a point would have been a good point, but I can’t say that in this moment because we’ve chucked two points away.”
MK Dons have chosen the worst possible time for a poor run of form, now winless in seven games that have featured five draws.
They are above the drop zone only on goal difference, level on points with Morecambe who occupy the fourth relegation place, with Burton to come on the final day of the season.
Barnsley are upwardly mobile at the other end of the table with a play-off place in the bag.
They took a first-half lead through Herbie Kane and mounted a rousing comeback through James Norwood’s strike and a late Max Watters brace, but manager Michael Duff was far from happy with what he saw in Buckinghamshire.
“The last 20 minutes, we went back to everything we normally do, scored three goals and probably could have gone on to win it,” he said.
“It’s not even about the result really, the result is irrelevant. It’s more certain things that I didn’t like, some of their players running past ours, conceding from set plays, all the things we pride ourselves on. Today was nowhere near the level we need to be at.
“We just didn’t show up in the second half because we thought it was going to be easy. They’ve come at us with everything, they’re fighting for their lives and ultimately it’s a warning that there is no God-given right to beat anybody in football.
“We didn’t down tools, we just switched off. Sometimes you need a kick to react and in the last 20 minutes of the second half we did everything that we should have done in the first place.”