MK Dons boss Russell Martin was delighted with his side’s character to bounce back from conceding an early goal in their 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
The Dons went behind in the opening five minutes at Stadium:MK as Charlie Wyke continued his hot streak in front of goal to grab his 13th league strike of the season.
But two more goals within the opening 20 minutes turned the game in the hosts’ favour as Joe Mason and Cameron Jerome found the net.
Luke O’Nien levelled matters before the hour mark for the visitors but despite letting a lead slip, Martin was pleased with his side’s endeavour to claim a point.
“I thought it was a good game with two really good teams going toe-to-toe,” Martin said.
“We are playing one of the best teams and strongest squads in the league, no doubt about that.
“We bounced from the goal unbelievably well. I’m so proud of the team, they worked so hard for each other.
“We showed the mentality, the character, the willingness to stay connected and fight against a really strong team, for those reasons I am pleased with the point.
“This team is growing all the time, they are growing a real strength and togetherness and we need to keep that going.
“Their character cannot be questioned. I’m not too disappointed with a point and feel a lot of pride in the guys.”
Saturday’s draw marked the 11th time this season that Sunderland have shared the points in League One – more than any side in the division.
But within five minutes it looked to be a different story, as Wyke latched onto Aiden McGeady’s ball to put the visitors into the lead.
Mason found the net for the fifth time in the league this season to level matters before Jerome pounced on Matt O’Riley’s low cross to put the hosts ahead.
O’Nien finally found a way past Andrew Fisher in the home net with a neat turn and finish before McGeady was denied late on in the search for all three points.
Boss Lee Johnson was left ruing his side’s inability to hold onto their early lead.
“I liked a lot of it, I didn’t like a 15-minute spell in the first half,” the Black Cats boss said.
“It wasn’t just about the goals, it was about our sloppiness, our lack of urgency. We didn’t communicate well enough in or out of possession.
“At half-time I was pretty aggressive, if I’m honest, in telling them that. If we played like we did for the rest of the game, teams won’t live with us.
“I don’t feel like I need to make an excuse today because I felt we played well, we were the better side with numerous chances and got in positions to break. For the neutral it was a very decent game to watch.
“I had to lift the guys after the game, they were disappointed not to win.”