An own goal in stoppage time secured MK Dons all three points in a narrow 1-0 win over Shrewsbury on Saturday.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell, who spent Dons' last League 1 campaign on loan at Stadium MK, diverted Rhys Healey's stoppage time strike past keeper Max O'Leary to hand Dons all three points.
Until that point, Shrewsbury's defence offered up precious little against Dons' attacking line and was a harsh defeat for Sam Ricketts' side, while Dons struggled to create much until late in the day.
Paul Tisdale handed debuts to Jordan Bowery and Hiram Boateng for the opening game of the season, with a familiar feel and look to the side as they took on Shrewsbury. The bench was packed with ability though, with the likes of Alex Gilbey, Ben Reeves, Rhys Healey and Baily Cargill on the sidelines.
It was a battle of approaches in the opening 45 minutes, with Dons looking to unlock a Shrewsbury side intent on keeping them out. Boateng was showing signs of his pre-season form, and was the key man for Tisdale's side and was a driving force played a part in both of Dons' early efforts – volleys over from both Conor McGrandles and Jordan Bowery.
While Shrewsbury were set deep, they were trying to play on the counter-attack, with Steve Morison and Luke McCormick both wasting efforts.
At the other end, Dons were not really clicking in the attacking third, but when it did come together, Kieran Agard played Callum Brittain in behind, though the defender could only poke his strike over the bar.
With the game coasting towards half time though, the visitors came within the width of the crossbar of opening the scoring as Ryan Giles' low cross put onto his own bar by Joe Walsh before Nicholls gathered the loose ball.
The game followed a similar path in the second period, with the defensive line of Aaron Pierre, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Omar Beckles, who replaced Ro-Shaun Williams early on, offering no change whatsoever for Agard and Bowery – whose workrate went largely unrewarded.
With 19 minutes remaining, Tisdale introduced Rhys Healey and Ben Reeves for McGrandles and Bowery, but it did little to change the course of the game.
While Dons were denied a penalty at one end when Walsh appeared to be fouled by Pierre, Lee Nicholls made a wonderful stop to keep out Dave Edwards' equally excellent volley from the edge of the penalty area.
George Williams had the best chance of the game in the 90th minute though when, after Shrewsbury failed to clear a free kick, the goal opened up in front of the defender but he rattled the ball into the side netting.
Incredibly though, Dons snatched it in stoppage time. Healey's persistence paid off as he chased down the ball in the penalty area, cutting inside his man and bending an effort goalwards which was put past his own keeper by the hapless Ebanks-Landell to secure the first win of the season.
Referee: Brett Huxtable
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Williams, Walsh, Martin (Cargill 78), Brittain, Houghton, McGrandles (Reeves 71), Boateng, Bowery (Healey 71), Agard
Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Gilbey, Harley.
Shrewsbury Town: O'Leary, Pierre, Edwards, R Williams (Beckles 12), Whalley, Giles, Vincelot, Love, McCormick (Walker 78), Morison (Okenabirhie 79), Ebanks-Landell
Subs not used: Murphy, Golbourne, Eisa, Rowland
Booked: Edwards, Martin