Dons boss Neal Ardley wants the boo-boys to lay off Charlie Sheringham after the striker bagged his first goal of the season.
The 25-year-old’s toe-poke triggered a comeback at Newport County on Tuesday night that ended a run of four League Two games with a win.
Fellow substitute Kevin Sainte-Luce also hit his first of the season to seal a last-gasp 2-1 turnaround in south Wales – although his strike was more howitzer than toe-poke.
Sainte-Luce’s superb strike was apt, as it brought up the Dons’ 1,000th goal.
Sheringham’s Dons career has been blighted by injury since he joined as a free agent after being realised by AFC Bournemouth.
The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee has made just 13 appearances this season without scoring, but now he can put a tick in the goals column.
Ardley said: “Charlie has been training exceptionally well.
“I know some fans have not taken to him, not given him a chance and made up their minds before he kicked a ball, but I am chuffed for him. I know he is a good player.
“What the fans say can be hard for him and it is hard for me when we are trying to put good players on the pitch.
“Charlie could have had three or four goals in the short time he was on, and he was excellent in every element of his game.”
He added: “Until recently, Charlie has not given me enough to say: ‘Put me in, look what I can do’, and now he has done that.
“His performance and his training is asking me to pick him for Fleetwood at the weekend.”
The Dons are now 11th in the table, nine points above the dropzone, and Ardley is not surprised they got the result he says had been coming.
He said: “As much as I have been frustrated by the mistakes we have made, I cannot give enough credit to the players because at the moment they are running through brick walls for me.
“As a manager you have to accept the quality issues because that is the level we are at, but their commitment to me and the staff has been phenomenal.
“All I keep telling them is that they are good players, if they keep playing the way they are, as committed as they are, it has got to turn some point.”
Ardley is hopeful that Peter Sweeney, who has had time with the U21s, and Andy Frampton will soon be back from injury, while the trip to Fleetwood may be too soon for Callum Kennedy and George Francomb.
On the comeback trail: Peter Sweeney has had time in the U21s this week as he makes his return from injury