Liam Manning hails Bradley Johnson impact as MK Dons sink Port Vale

Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2022 by PA

Liam Manning hails Bradley Johnson impact as MK Dons sink Port Vale

MK Dons manager Liam Manning admitted Bradley Johnson’s opening goal settled his side down as they went on to defeat Port Vale 2-1 to pick up their first League One win of the season.

The first of Johnson’s double came after a hesitant first 34 minutes from the Dons, who had lost their first three games of the campaign without scoring.

While the match at Stadium MK was not the easiest on the eye, the result was a timely one for last season’s play-off semi-finalists, even though the Valiants made things nervy for them at the end.

Manning said: “Before the goal, I think the biggest problem for us was not necessarily Port Vale – I don’t think they caused us too many problems in the first 20 minutes.

“It was more lacking control from turning the ball over too cheaply or not structurally being right.

“The goal then definitely settled us a little bit and there were moments where we controlled the game, with and without the ball.

“One big thing that’s important for us is maintaining control throughout, so that was real moment of quality from Brad which was key.

“Brad’s been terrific since he came in, with his leadership and also his quality.

“He was obviously disappointed, as he said himself, after the game at the weekend [at Ipswich] so to respond and to bounce back like that speaks volumes about him as a person.

“His experience for the group is going to be invaluable over the course of the season.”

Johnson opened the scoring when he was given time to find the bottom corner with a clean strike from just outside the area.

The 35-year-old then effectively sealed the win by drilling in a low free-kick with five minutes remaining, although Ellis Harrison did pull one back for Port Vale three minutes into added time.

Vale boss Darrell Clarke said: “I just thought we didn’t do enough to win the game and they did very little to win the game.

“It was one of those days where we were a little bit frustrated with our own performance.

“It was nothing to do with non-negotiables, it was just the quality at the right time in the right areas, whether it be your final pass, your finish, your cross, your shot, your set-piece.

“All those little bits and pieces that you need to be good at to win football matches and, like I said, I didn’t think MK Dons needed to do a lot to win the game.

“A couple of good strikes from the edge of the box but we’re disappointed.

“Players are still finding their feet and we understand that as a coaching staff of where we need to be working.”


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