MK Dons made a winning return to League 1 as they beat Shrewsbury 1-0 on opening day at Greenhaus Meadow.
Dons dominated proceedings, but had to wait until 18 minutes from time for the winner, coming courtesy of Daniel Powell’s fierce strike from the corner of the box.
Karl Robinson wasn’t blessed with many options for the season opener. With Dean Bowditch, Ben Reeves and Chuks Aneke out injured, the manager filled his bench with players yet to make a full league appearance for the club, including new signings Scott Wootton, George B Williams and Lee Nicholls.
Dons looked the better side in the opening 20 minutes as they pressed for the first goal of the season. Daniel Powell and Ed Upson looked lively, but the best chance fell to Dean Lewington when Shrews keeper Jayson Leutwiler was caught in No Man’s Land, but the captain’s strike was just over the bar.
At the other end, a last ditch tackle from Joe Walsh denied the home side from taking the lead as AJ Leitch-Smith broke the offside trap to break in behind.
But after a lively opening period, the game fairly coasted into the break, with a string of half chances the best either side could muster, though Jim O’Brien’s strike just flew wide of the upright.
Like the first half, the second half began brightly but Dons squandered the best chance of the game. Left totally unmarked six yards out, Darren Potter met Upson’s pinpoint free kick but saw his header clatter off the bar and away to safety.
Dons were dealt a blow 10 minutes into the half when Samir Carruthers limped off, bringing Giorgio Rasulo into the fray.
The visitors looked the more likely to score, but struggled to get their attacking players into the game. While Upson in particular was seeing a lot of the ball, Dons’ wide men struggled to make an impression, with GC Williams having to float across the midfield to get involved.
But it was his fellow winger Powell who eventually gave Dons the lead in the 72nd minute. Upson was again at the heart of the move, pinching the ball in midfield before playing Powell in on the left, and he rifled a fierce drive past Leutwiler to put Dons ahead.
Shrewsbury barely threatened in the second half, and going behind didn’t bring about anything of a fight back from the home side. They had a flurry of activity with five minutes to go, but Martin remained untested on his way to the first clean sheet of the season.
Referee: Brendan Malone
Attendance: 5,452 (601)
Shrewsbury: Leutwiler, Riley, McGivern, Whalley (Mangan 75), Dodds, O’Brien, Brown, Sarcevic (Ogogo 68), Deegan, Leitch-Smith (Jones 83), El-Abd
Subs not used: Halstead, Sadler, Lancashire, Smith
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Walsh, Downing, Baldock, Potter, Upson, Carruthers (Rasulo 52), Powell, GC Williams (Thomas-Asante 76), Maynard (GB Williams 90)
Subs not used: Wootton, Nicholls, Tilney, Tshimanga
Booked: Upson, Walsh