MK Dons secured their first points of the season in their first game of 2019/20 having started a week late. Rhys Healey’s goal in the third minute of stoppage time gave them a 1-0 win at home to Shrewsbury Town and they sit in a comfortable tenth-place in League One despite playing just one game. Here are our MK Dons player ratings from their season opener.
MK Dons Player Ratings
Lee Nicholls – 6
An average rating but only because he didn’t really have an opportunity to get it any higher. Shrewsbury had one shot on target in the whole game. Dave Edwards also hit the crossbar with Nicholls able to collect the rebound before it bounced over the line, but that was pretty much all the action he saw.
Callum Brittain – 5.5
Brittain was often caught too central for a wing-back last season, and that was the case more often than not today. Diagonal balls out to Ryan Giles were easily collected by the Shrewsbury wide-man and he didn’t have a particularly hard time beating Brittain either. That exact move was what led to Edwards’ glorious opportunity for the visitors. However, some decent link-up play with George Williams and Conor McGrandles boosts his rating slightly.
George Williams – 7
As an entire unit, the MK Dons defence was largely impressive and George Williams was a big part of that. There were no standout moments from him in particular, but he did what he had to do well and was part of a back five that kept a solid clean sheet.
Russell Martin – 8
At 33-years-old, there were a few question marks over whether Russell Martin could make the step up from League Two. However, his Premier League and international experience came to the forefront today and he was the standout member of the defence. He got his head to everything that came his way and put in some vital blocks too. With new signing Regan Poole pushing for a starting place, Martin may have ensured it’s someone else that faces the chop rather than himself.
Joe Walsh – 6
Walsh had a relatively similar game to Williams on the left-hand side of the centre-backs. He had no standout moments but did his defensive work well. He did, though, almost cause the opening goal of the game with a weak backpass to Nicholls. It may be harsh to knock off an entire point, but just before half-time, it would have completely changed the complexion of the game.
Dean Lewington – 7
The MK Dons captain put in another reliable performance. His attacking work was well-received by fans and, even at 35-years-old, he still looked sharp enough to deal with the brightness of Shrewsbury’s attack.
Hiram Boateng – 8
Boateng was one of two starters making his debut after a summer move from Exeter City, and he seemed to carry his form for the Grecians over to MK Dons. Powerful runs from midfield certainly got fans excited and some tough tackles showed midfield grit that often goes missing at Stadium MK. If he can improve on his deliveries into the box, the club certainly have a talent on their hands.
Jordan Houghton – 7
Houghton established himself as a consistent performer in League Two last season and that carried over to this match against Shrewsbury. He was responsible for breaking up play and spraying balls out to the advancing wing-backs and did it with ease. More of the same will see him nail down a place in the starting 11.
Conor McGrandles – 6
Roughly the same as his midfield counterparts, but was guilty of some hesitation in the final third that could have opened the Shrewsbury defence up on more occasions. His attacking play still needs some work but he did enough today to earn an average rating.
Kieran Agard – 5
Last season’s top scorer had an extremely quiet afternoon. It’s something he’s been guilty of in the past, but last season he had the goals to keep the balance. Those will be harder to come by this season in a higher division, as he has found in his previous two League One seasons with the Dons. Hopefully, for him, it’s just a case of edging in slowly.
Jordan Bowery – 6
The second of two starting debutants started brightly and had his side’s biggest chance of the first half, flashing a volley just over the crossbar. He tailed off in the second half but, after an underwhelming response from fans regarding his arrival, he showed some good signs of being able to provide goals this campaign.
Rhys Healey – 7
The match-winner was making his second debut for the club and his late winner ensured it was a winning start and that he got off the mark as quickly as possible. Didn’t have much impact aside from the goal, but its importance is immeasurable.
Ben Reeves – 6
Fan-favourite Reeves was another player making his second debut for the club after spending two seasons away at Charlton Athletic. He looked leggy after his introduction, but his key pass into Healey provided the assist for the winner. Dons fans will be hoping for more of the same in the coming season.
Baily Cargill – 6
The former Bournemouth man was making his competitive return from injury in this 12-minute cameo. Slotted in at Joe Walsh’s position and provided more intensity than the Welshman when going forward.