Town: Chris Weale, James Tavernier, Joe Jacobson, Darren Jones (Goldson, 84), Tamira Mkandawire (c), Jon Taylor, Luke Summerfield, Paul Parry (McQuade, 89), Aaron Wildig, Tom Bradshaw, John Marsden (McAllister, 77)
Substitutes: Joe Anyon, Ryan Woods, Dominic Smith, Kaiman Anderson
MK Dons: David Martin, Dean Lewington (c), Lee Hodson, Shaun Williams, Stephen Gleeson, Darren Potter, Luke Chadwick (Baldock, 78), Alan Smith (McLeod, 68), Dele Alli, Jason Banton (Bamford, 53), Antony Kay
Substitutes: Jon Otsemobor, Tom Flanagan, Ben Reeves, Ian McLoughlin
Referee: Gary Sutton
Assistants: Geoff Law & Bob Roberts
Fourth Official: Paul Graham
Attendance: 5,144 (458 away)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Shrewsbury began their Sky Bet League One campaign with a stalemate at the Meadow against MK Dons. Town were largely dominant after a turgid opening half but couldn’t find the net and had to settle for a point. Defensively, Graham Turner will have been delighted with the clean sheet but with a bit more luck in front of goal, his charges may have banked the extra two points.
Three players made their first team debuts for this afternoon’s curtain raiser. James Tavernier started at right full-back, new captain Tamira Mkandawire lined up alongside Darren Jones at the heart of the back four, and up front John Marsden partnered Tom Bradshaw.
There was an awkward moment for Town in the 10th minute when a hopeful punt forward intended for Alan Smith was left by Jones, who had assumed that his goalkeeper Chris Weale would come and collect at the edge of his box. But the ball bounced in a kind of no-man’s land slightly behind the keeper and it was fortunate for both parties that the ex-Leeds and Manchester United
striker hadn’t gambled on any potential slip-up.
There was a yellow card waved in the direction of Shaun Williams for a rugby tackle on Bradshaw midway through the half. The referee though didn’t cover himself in glory by stopping play as the Town striker was quick to his feet and half an acre in front of him in which to run onto. It’s fair to say that the decision wasn’t warmly received by Messrs. Turner and Trewick and the hapless fourth official - as is the norm these days - was the one to get the proverbial flea in his ear.
Moments later, Weale survived another heart in mouth moment when he dallied with a routine backpass and almost got caught out, with Smith again the one most likely to profit had Weale’s luck deserted him.
Other than the two scares mind, there was barely anything noteworthy to report with the ball spending time in every area of the pitch, except both 18 yard boxes, with half an hour played. Lots of misplaced passes and the intervention of the linesman’s flag every two minutes did little to add to the afternoon’s entertainment.
Bradshaw looked to have a chance when a long ball forward dropped over his shoulder but he elected to take a touch instead of wrapping his laces through it. The touch was a wretched one, off shin rather than boot, and arguably Salop’s best chance to date had gone.
HT: Town 0 MKD 0
There was a bit more purpose about Town after the break and Marsden made his first noteable contribution by forcing a corner with David Martin pushing the debutant’s effort behind. There may even have been a tug on the Shrewsbury man’s shirt in the build-up but it wasn’t seen and the corner came to nothing. A Paul Parry free-kick then found the Dons’ stopper in two minds and he would have been mightily relieved to see the ball drop harmlessly out of play at the back post.
Without question the tempo had been raised after what can only be described as lacklustre opening 45 minutes, and for a first time in the proceedings we had something resembling an atmosphere inside the Meadow.
Parry volleyed sweetly - but directly - at Martin in what was almost an exact replica of his stunning strike in the recent friendly against Bolton. This time, only the placement was missing but again it gave the crowd something to enthuse over.
Luke Summerfield was the next to try his luck from distance but the midfielder failed to hit the target with Shrews most definitely on top with an hour on the clock.
Marsden came close to a goal on his first appearance in the Football League when he collected a Jon Taylor cross and twisted this way and that before shooting low across Martin. But the goalkeeper did just enough to get a firm hand on the ball to prevent it finding the corner. And Taylor himself then fired half a yard wide with the hosts continuing to press and the Dons pegged deep inside their own half.
By now Karl Robinson had made two changes with Patrick Bamford and Izale McLeod both thrown into the fray in an attempt to give his side a bit more potency higher up the field. Trouble was, his overworked defenders were lucky if they could get the ball that high up!
Bamford did have a decent chance with 14 minutes remaining when some good hold up play by Dele Alli made an opening, but the Chelsea loanee was leaning back and the outcome was inevitable.
Dave McAllister replaced Marsden in Town’s first change and the dividend was almost immediate. A fantastic cross from Joe Jacobson was met on the full by Aaron Wildig but his point blank effort struck the unsuspecting Martin and Dons survived. Had the midfielder placed his effort a fraction either side of the goalkeeper, he wouldn’t have stood an earthly and Town would have been in front.
Connor Goldson got a token five minutes when he came on for a limping Jones, and substitute George Baldock tested Weale for a first time with a rising shot from about 15 yards with both sides still looking for more than a solitary point.
Parry made way for another new boy with Alex McQuade getting 60 seconds plus the three added on minutes. But there was no more excitement and the teams walked off content to get their respective campaigns up and running.
FT: Town 0 MKD 0