MK Dons manager Mike Williamson is encouraged by how his players found a way to defeat Crawley 2-0 despite not being at their best for long periods of the game.

The Dons’ superb turnaround in fortunes since Williamson’s appointment in October continued as they recorded their fourth win in a row to move up to sixth in League Two.

They are also unbeaten in nine league games, although they sometimes rode their luck against Town and needed goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray to make several important saves after Joe Tomlinson’s early opener.

Williamson said: “He was excellent tonight. In previous games he’s done really well and tonight he was called upon more than we would have liked, but that’s what we need.

“We need players to step up and in games that aren’t so lively, they’ll do what they need to do, but when it comes to games like tonight, he was tested and he came through.

“[Getting the result tonight] is huge, a real testament to them and it’s a sign of a good team that when we’re not at our best we still find the way.

“I think the quality was there to see when we did dominate the ball and the territory, but we had to suffer and I think the boys dealt with that well.

“I think we could have had a few more, looking back, but with the whole thing taken into context we’re more than happy to take that result.”

MK Dons led after just two minutes when Max Dean’s superb pass put Tomlinson through and he finished confidently beyond Crawley goalkeeper Corey Addai.

The result was finally settled with eight minutes left when Alex Gilbey’s shot found the net via the post before Crawley defender Laurence Maguire was sent off for a second booking late on.

Crawley boss Scott Lindsey said: “I thought we played so, so well. The effort the lads put in was incredible.

“We’ve had illness through the camp, the coaching staff are ill and Nick Tsaroulla was prepared to play but fell ill and didn’t travel, so we had to make changes before the game.

“But the effort the players put into that game tonight was outstanding, the way we passed the ball, the way we pressed.

“The chances, we get into that final third and it’s just that last bit where we can definitely improve on.

“We got into that final area brilliantly, but then we sometimes tried to walk the ball over the line when I think we can pull the trigger and shoot and if the keeper spills it, someone else is there to tap it in.

“I think we can be a little more aggressive when we get in there.”