Cargill turns a footnote into a headline

Baily Cargill
Baily Cargill

Baily Cargill's first league start for MK Dons was someway down the list when Exeter City visited Stadium MK on Saturday, but he was one of the headline acts by the final whistle of the 1-0 win.

The 23-year-old defender, who joined from Bournemouth in the summer, was not involved in either penalty decision or indeed the winning goal, but his influence on the game was vital as Dons kept their fourth clean sheet in five games.

Cargill was a part of everything Dons did well in the opening half, from a crunching tackle early on on Jonathan Forte, to an eye-of-the-needle pass to pick out Alex Gilbey in turn tee up Callum Brittain.

So it was of little surprise when his name was announced as man of the match.

"It was nice to come in and show everyone what you're about," he said afterwards. "I like to think I'm a ball-playing centre half. I hit a couple of nice balls in the first half, that's always pleasing, and it got the fans on their feet.

"Tis likes the two outside centre halves to get outside the ball and support Callum and Deano and be another player in the attack. It's a role I'll relish playing this season.

Baily Cargill

Baily Cargill

"It was really nice - my last 90 minutes was the last game of last season. The clean sheet was really important for us and Exeter are a team I think will be up there, so it's three really good points. It couldn't have gone better.

"I think the sending off made it easier for me to come through. The game wasn't as taxing on my legs, but I got through and it's good to get it in."

Cargill's debut for Dons was made in the 3-0 win over Charlton in the Carabao Cup. His appearances were delayed because he missed pre-season having been released by Bournemouth, and picked up a knock early on while training alone. But having played his first 90 minutes since May, Cargill hopes he can lock down a spot in Paul Tisdale's first team.

He said: "It has been a really tough pre-season. I picked up an injury in the first week when I didn't have a club so it was hard to get my fitness up. But as soon as I came here, they've been good to me, they've eased me in rather than dropping me at the deep end. Since then, I've been injury free. Now I've played 90 minutes, I've got something to build on."

He's not the only one with something to build on, as Dons extended their undefeated start to the season - which now stands at six games.

"It's lovely," Cargill added. "We need to keep our feet on the ground, we've still got a long, long way to go. It's a long season, but it has been a brilliant start and we couldn't have asked for anything else."