Daniel Powell’s unpredictability is encouraged at MK Dons, even if it doesn’t always pay off. But against Bolton, it certainly did.
Team mate Jordan Spence couldn’t hold back the smiles when he waxed lyrical about the 24-year-old after he came off the bench to score the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at stadium:mk on Tuesday night.
For his 34 minute cameo, Powell was by far the difference between the sides, and not just for scoring. His powerful, mazy runs at Lawrie Wilson had the full back tied in knots, and forced him to be far more defensive-minded than he had been in the opening 45 minutes.
Powell’s tracking back was key too as Dons weathered a late Bolton storm, out-muscling Emile Heskey in the dying minutes to shield the ball to safety in just one example of how he put in a real shift.
The likeable Luton lad, who became a dad for the first time earlier this year, splits opinion among Dons fans for his unpredictability and unorthodox style out on the pitch, prompting manager Karl Robinson to simply say ‘Powelly is Powelly!’ in his post match press conference.
Spence though feels Powell’s strengths lie in being able to take on full backs without fear.
“His attributes speak for themselves,” he said. “Not many have the power and pace combined, with the ability to use the football. He’s encouraged to take on full backs. Whether he retains it or loses it, puts in a telling cross or scores. As a full back, having wingers run at you is the difficult part of the job, especially against someone with his attributes.
“It shows the strength in depth which we have, which we certainly didn’t have when I first got here. There are some quality players waiting to come on.”
Powell made his debut for the club back in 2008. Since then, he has gone on to be a regular at stadium:mk, and is the third in the club’s all-time leading scorers list on 41.
And while his finish past Bolton keeper Ben Amos was superbly placed in the bottom corner, Spence joked wouldn’t have minded what part of the enigmatic winger the ball would have bounced in off.
“It looked a good goal from where I was standing, but I’d have still jumped about if it came off his big bum!”
“Powelly took his goal really well. Looking at him coming on with 20 minutes to go, it’s not a task many full backs would want to have. We do it in training which I can tell you isn’t easy.”