Why the MK Dons boss shouldered the blame for his side's defeat at Portsmouth - and was happy to see his own player sent off

Russell Martin shouldered the blame for gifting Andy Cannon his maiden Pompey goal.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:00 am

And the MK Dons boss praised Carlton Morris – rather than criticising him – after he was sent off late on at Fratton Park.

The Dons were duly punished when they were caught playing out from the back in the fourth minute.

Ryan Williams picked up a loose pass before setting up Cannon to finish into an empty net.

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Alex Gilbey equalised for the visitors before the interval but second-half goals from John Marquis and Marcus Harness ensured the Blues moved back into the League One play-off places with a 3-1 win.

While Martin was disappointed with his side’s defending, he took the positives from their overall display.

He told the Milton Keynes Citizen: ‘My overriding feeling is disappointment at the goals we conceded.

‘Not the first one, that's on me. I'm asking them to play like that, and at some point it was going to happen and I have to accept that.

Carlton Morris was sent off for MK Dons after bringing down Pompey striker John Marquis. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘But we responded unbelievably well. We went in at half time and we really believed we would win the game.

‘That second goal really disappointed me – it's just not good enough. The ball was hanging in the air, everyone just stopped.

‘For the third, we'd just thrown everyone forward to get an equaliser and I felt we were going to get one. We were down to 10 men, chasing the game, it is what it is but I don't think we deserved to lose 3-1.

‘I've come away really proud of our performance at a tough place to come, but it shows how far we've come to be disappointed. It's not a 3-1 game.’

MK Dons’ hopes of grabbing a point were curtailed when Morris was given a straight red card for bringing down John Marquis in the 86th minute.

However, Martin saluted how the on-loan Norwich striker tracked back from his own side's corner.

The manager added: ‘People may be disappointed he's been sent off, I was delighted to see him chase 80 yards from a corner to get on the ball.

‘He's tried to get out of the way but he's clipped him. It's a red card, he'll only miss the one game not three. He'll be a miss.

‘He was excellent in the first half especially, but it showed his desire and will to win – he's our striker but he's ended up closest to our goal.’