Robbie Neilson’s League Campaign Starts with AFC Win

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Robbie Neilson, manager of MK Dons looks on during the Sky Bet League One match between Milton Keynes Dons and AFC Wimbledon at StadiumMK on December 10, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England. Today’s match is the first league meeting between the two teams since the formation of AFC Wimbledon. Wimbledon Football Club relocated to Milton Keynes in September 2003, 16 months after receiving permission to do so from an independent commission appointed by the Football Association. The move took the team from south London, where it had been based since its foundation, to Milton Keynes. The move prompted disaffected Wimbledon supporters to form AFC Wimbledon in June 2002. The relocated team played its home matches in Milton Keynes under the Wimbledon name and at the end of the 2003–04 season renamed itself Milton Keynes Dons F.C. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

The Robbie Neilson era at MK Dons in the league got off to a winning start. Courtesy of Dean Bowditch’s second-half penalty, Neilson’s side recorded a 1-0 win over bitter rivals AFC Wimbledon.

Robbie Neilson’s League Campaign Starts with AFC Win

The 11,000 strong crowd was vocal throughout a closely-fought contest at Stadium MK. However, it was the hosting Dons who had the better of the game, edging possession by 2%. They also limited the visiting Dons to just nine shots, three of which were on target.

Neilson has shown already that he will switch up the team with his changes in midweek at Yeovil. He did so again today following an injury to Joe Walsh. Dean Lewington, booed throughout by the visiting fans, moved to centre-back, with George B Williams then filling in at left-back. Paul Downing partnered Lewington in the middle, with the excellent George Baldock doing his usual job at right-back.

In front of them, Darren Potter and Ed Upson marshalled the midfield well. Samir Carruthers, another top performer on the day, played in front of them, with Kieran Agard and Ben Reeves on the wings. Dean Bowditch, the match-winner, was the lone striker.

The home side were far more direct under Neilson’s influence, however it wasn’t proven until the game’s telling moment came. Lewington burst into the AFC penalty area and was hauled down by Dannie Bulman. The referee pointed to the spot, and Bowditch, the top-scorer, duly converted, sending James Shea the wrong way.

It was a decent start for Robbie Neilson in the league. He was in charge for the Dons’ 4-1 loss to Yeovil in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy game, however many fans see today as the real start of his reign. The players seem to have taken to his style immediately, producing a far better display than recent times at Stadium MK.

If he can continue to produce positive results like this, then there’s a good chance he’ll be the man to change the fortunes at MK Dons.

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