MK Dons manager Russell Martin found it hard to pick fault with his side’s performance following their morale-boosting 2-0 Sky Bet League One victory against an injury-hit Wigan.
The Dons hauled themselves out of the bottom four after goals early in the second half from Scott Fraser and Stephen Walker rewarded their dominance.
It was just their second league win of the season and a fitting way to mark captain Dean Lewington’s 800th career appearance, but the Latics suffered more injury woe after striker Will Keane hobbled off with a groin strain early on.
Martin said: “I thought were outstanding for 70-75 minutes and I think we probably could have scored a few more goals, if I’m being really picky.
“I thought some of the football in the first half was fantastic, so we’re really proud of the players for the way they approached the game from the outset.
“There was so much aggression, so much intensity, so much conviction in what they did and that’s not easy in the situation we’ve been in and the situation we’re in.
“It was a real test of character that they’ve responded to tonight and a fantastic performance.
“I think we made it a little bit more difficult in the last 10 minutes than we probably needed to, but I completely understand the anxiety and tension when they were desperate to win.
“I really enjoyed watching the team tonight, I’m really proud of them and there were some outstanding individual performances.”
After a goalless first half, MK Dons broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half through a Fraser penalty after Matthew Sorinola was tripped by Tom James.
The lead was quickly doubled when Walker marked his first start for the Dons with a crisp finish into the bottom corner, following a miscued clearance from Curtis Tilt.
Wigan boss John Sheridan said: “Our decision-making at times makes us very vulnerable.
“We’re in a great area to try and get them on the back foot, or even having an attempt at goal, and the ball should be going into the opposition box.
“We ignore the cross, we play a ball into the middle of the park, young Mezza (Chris Merrie) makes a wrong decision and they break out and get the penalty 10 seconds later, from no danger whatsoever.
“It’s just decision-making on the pitch and it does cost us. It’s cost us in a few games and we make ourselves very vulnerable by making the wrong decisions on a football pitch.
“I feel in the first half we should have believed in ourselves a little bit more but we just got ourselves behind the ball and defended too much and I would have liked us to take the game to the opposition.”