MK Dons 1-1 Shrewsbury Player Ratings: centre-backs impress

Shaun Whalley –

Shaun Whalley’s stunning late equalizer for Shrewsbury Town cancelled out Peter Pawlett’s opener and forced MK Dons to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw in Buckinghamshire. Here’s our player ratings from the game.

MK Dons

Lee Nicholls – perhaps could have held Rodman’s effort midway through the first half, but instead spilled it to gift Payne a golden chance. Could not have done much about the equalizer, though. 6

George Williams – stayed within close proximity of Walsh and produced some important blocks, including one on Rodman late on. Played one risky ball across the box to Golbourne but any inclination to take liberties in possession soon deserted him. 5
Joe Walsh – more tactically aggressive than his partner and was quick to loose balls in a strong display. Helped by the protection in front of him but was not undeserving of the official man-of-the-match award. 9
Ethan Ebanks-Landell – dominated Payne for much of the contest and was commanding in the air throughout. Unlucky not to have earned a clean sheet for an outstanding performance. 9
Scott Golbourne – solid enough but his distribution could have been better, though this was not helped by Shrewsbury’s first half pressing and the absence of a natural wide man to team-up with. 5

Kieran Agard – officially played on the right side of midfield but operated further up the pitch than most would in that system, due to his striking instincts. They didn’t quite come to the fore though on 70 minutes, when he narrowly missed Pawlett’s cross and the injured Alex Gilbey might have been a more natural fit for the role. 3
Conor McGrandles – didn’t offer too much quality in possession, but his defensive diligence was clear to see. Always made a covering run whenever Shrewsbury got into wide areas. 7
Ed Upson – protected the back four well, but with three forwards often on the pitch for MK Dons, he was rarely given the freedom to get into goalscoring positions. 6
Peter Pawlett – more tactically disciplined than Agard yet was, ironically, more influential in build-up play. Contributed to a nice passing move that led to Sow’s big first half chance and took the opener with composure, 11 minutes after the restart. 7

Chuks Aneke – arguably MK Dons’ brightest attacking player. He was heavily involved in the best two passing moves of the match which created clear cut chances for Sow and Pawlett. Looked a threat cutting inside from the right. 7
Moussa Sow – officially a centre-forward but always preferred to drift out to the flanks, where he struggled to get the better of Nsiala. If he continues to occupy the left channel, MK Dons need to get more midfielders in the box. 3

Sam Nombe (on 55) – the academy graduate played a part in the opener within a minute of coming on and showed his raw energy by chasing every loose ball he could. An encouraging display. 7
Gboly Ariyibi (on 90) – not the greatest show of confidence in Ariyibi that a striker stayed on the right wing for 90 minutes at the expense of a natural right winger. Perhaps Neilson wanted a wide man willing to get in the box. N/A

Dean Henderson – commanded his area confidently and in that regard he looks an upgrade on Leutwiler. Couldn’t have done too much about the opener. 6

James Bolton – pushed further up than the other full-back and as a result, he was sometimes caught out of position by MK Dons’ hopeful punts down the channel. That became problematic for a half-hour period after the opener for the right-back, who only delivered one quality ball all evening. 3
Toto Nsiala – marshalled Sow away from goal in the first half and fared surprisingly well in open spaces. Ideally, some of his passes out from the back could have been better, but this was a no-frills display from Nsiala. 8
Mat Sadler – having played against David Beckham back in 02/03, the left-back turned centre-back showed his experience in a tactically astute display. 9
Omar Beckles – as a centre-back by trade he looked sturdy enough, without having the confidence to stretch play in quite the same way that Junior Brown might have done. His use of throw-ins might have been sharper too. 5

Ben Godfrey – used his physicality well and could not be accused of shirking his defensive duties, but there may be a need for Shrewsbury to find another midfielder who can create from deep. 6
Abu Ogogo – enjoyed a positive first half upon his return from injury, with the tenacious midfielder breaking up opposition play in midfield. His use of the ball though was a tad simplistic. 7

Shaun Whalley – quiet for much of the contest, but came alive in the closing stages and unleashed a wonderful right-footed 20-yard effort from the right channel to bring the Shrews level. The team will need more moments like that later in the season. 5
Jon Nolan – largely nullified, although it suited him a little more in the closing stages when he dropped deeper to accommodate the attacking substitutes and had space to call the shots in the middle third. Needs to be more confident despite his limited physicality. 3
Alex Rodman – his tame effort from outside the box midway through the first half was pushed away, leading to perhaps Shrewsbury’s best chance. He later saw his shot blocked by Williams but was largely a peripheral figure. 4

Stefan Payne – struggled to get the better of Ebanks-Landell. His pace and power is best showcased in wide, open spaces, but Upson and McGrandles played a big part in stifling the seven-goal man’s threat. 3

Louis Dodds (on 72) – injected some energy and good movement into proceedings. 7
Lenell John-Lewis (on 80) – occupied Williams, giving other players more time on the ball. 7
Carlton Morris (on 90+4) – It seemed surprising that Hurst didn’t put him on earlier, but the previous substitutes had made the desired impact. N/A