By Luke Payne, MK Dons Worldwide on Facebook
Here is the first PPR to be published on www.mkdsa.org.uk we are really proud to carry this feature. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Payne’s Player Ratings vs Morecambe (Home) – EFL Cup Edition:
Two matches into November, two different cup competitions and two goals for the Dons against Morecambe in the EFL Cup. This was a fairly comfortable victory in the end despite the absence of McEachran, Lewington and Grigg as a result of squad rotation. With our name in the hat for the fourth round, here are my player ratings for the 2-0 victory over Morecambe:
Cumming – 6.5: Like Ravizzoli against Taunton on Saturday, Cumming was left with very little to do in terms of shot-stopping, only occasionally having to spring into action to claim a ball coming into his box. Mostly ok in possession, although did have one scary moment in the first half where he mis-controlled a back-pass and got it stuck under his feet before eventually recovering to play the ball out again.
Watson – 7: His first start since returning from injury. Heavily involved in the opening exchanges and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in. Had a big chance early on in the first half, breaking through on goal but Ripley prevented the wingback from opening the scoring with an important save. He almost managed to thread a ball across goal for Eisa later in the half but was denied by an interception. A very solid showing on his return but came off at halftime as a planned precaution, with Oyegoke taking his place.
Tucker – 7: Showing more signs of improvement. He’s cut out a lot of the glaring mistakes in his game and is starting to look more comfortable on the ball. Played a couple of good over-the-top balls in the first half but did seem to restrict himself to shorter passes after half-time. His decision-making needs to speed up as he did spend a lot of time on the ball but at least he’s making the right decisions now. Solid enough defensively, preventing Morecambe’s forwards from getting the ball in the box. Another one that almost opened the scoring when he got ahead of his man to get onto the rebound from Robson’s shot, but Tucker’s effort trickled onto the post before Morecambe dealt with the danger.
O’Hora – 7.5 (TOP DON): Once again took the role of captain in the absence of Lewington and looked very composed at the heart of our defence. Kept tabs on all of Morecambe’s forward players and ensured that none of them would have any easy route to goal. Opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a lovely low volley across goal following a corner as Morecambe failed to clear their lines properly. Made one or two small mistakes in possession but recovered well each time. Played a number of good balls forward and looked to increase the tempo of our passing at times where we were starting to look a bit sluggish.
Jules – 6.5: One of his quietest games in recent times although sometimes that’s a good thing for a defender! Quietly went about his business, working with Lawrence to protect our left side. Very good defensively and mostly ok in possession although did make a couple of small mistakes that went unpunished. Charged forward into Morecambe’s half on a couple of occasions in the opening half an hour but mostly stayed at the back for the rest of the game as the tempo of play gradually slowed down.
Lawrence – 7: Caused Morecambe a lot of problems as he pushed further and further up the pitch, but was too slow with his decision-making in the final third, giving the opposition defenders plenty of time to block his efforts on goal every time he shaped up to shoot. Other than this, he was good on the ball and found ways to break through the lines a number of times down the left wing. Despite his advanced attacking positioning he didn’t neglect his defensive duties and was on hand to intercept Stockton’s ball across the box in the second half, which proved to be one of Morecambe’s best passages of play.
Robson – 7: At the end of the first half he was in the running for Top Don and if he didn’t have a shaky start to the second half, he may well have got it! Still seems to be lacking in confidence but this performance was significantly better than his last few games. Had total control of the middle third of the pitch and broke up the play nicely. Does still lack the ambition to turn on the spot and travel with the ball, usually opting to play a one-two instead. However, he kept things ticking along nicely and prevented Morecambe from clawing their way into the game. Had an early chance on goal but was denied by Ripley with Tucker’s rebound effort also failing to find the net.
Johnson – 6: Helped us to retain possession but regularly lowered the tempo of our play, making it harder for us to find gaps in Morecambe’s defence. Spent a lot of the game playing alongside our centre-backs and did try a few balls forward with little success. Had enough control of the game to prevent Morecambe from attacking effectively and did well to cut out a number of attacks before they got too dangerous. Came off for Devoy after 66 minutes.
Burns – 6.5: A very frustrating player to watch on this occasion. Got himself into the right positions and was involved in a lot of our attacking play in the first half. Had a few moments of brilliance including a lovely ball to Grant early on in the game and a great effort from outside the box shortly after O’Hora’s goal which was only just off target. He also played a well-weighted through ball for Dennis in the second half which eventually resulted in a corner. Did however make a number of mistakes in possession and is still struggling somewhat to deal with the physicality of English football. Came off for Smith after 66 minutes.
Grant – 7: A tough one to give a rating to. Went missing at times but showed up where it counts, playing the ball in to Dennis who went on to score our second goal of the game. Involved in some nice passages of play that saw us break through Morecambe’s lines effectively and most of our well-worked chances came through him at some point. Does need to work on his positioning a bit more so he can get involved in the action more frequently, as he has the ability to break down defences.
Eisa – 6.5: A fairly quiet return to the starting XI for the striker. Made a lot of runs that we tried to utilise but the majority of the time either the passes were intercepted or Eisa was offside. Did win us one or two free-kick’s in advanced positions but he never really had a chance to test Morecambe’s Ripley. Did get frustrated by the amount of times Morecambe’s centre-backs were grabbing his shirt, a problem which Dennis had to deal with in the second half as he took Eisa’s place at the break.
Oyegoke – 6 (SUB): One of his better performances in recent times, although he didn’t really do much until later on in the second half, where play seemed to start flowing down the right wing a lot more. Got stuck in although he rarely came away with the ball and he did try to dribble into the final third on a few occasions. Had one shot on goal denied by Ripley. He did win a couple of headers but wasn’t anywhere near as effective as Watson was in the first half.
Dennis – 7 (SUB): Got more involved in our build-up play than Eisa and made his mark on the game very quickly. He got on the end of Grant’s ball forward, before turning his man and finishing well despite the defender bringing him down in a last-ditch effort to prevent the goal. Almost scored again a few minutes later but Ripley positioned himself well to save the shot before his defender unknowingly put the ball out for a corner.
Smith – 6 (SUB): Didn’t really do a lot wrong but didn’t do a lot right either. He got on the ball a bit, made a few passes and tried one or two dribbles but did little to alter the course of the game.
Devoy – 6.5 (SUB): Gave us one last burst of energy in the middle of the pitch just to ensure that Morecambe couldn’t put much pressure on us late-on. Looked to be a creative spark but was limited for runners at this stage of the game. With this being said he played the ball about nicely and broke up play well.
TEAM PERFORMANCE – 6.5: This was a game where we just needed to get the job done, and that’s exactly what happened. It wasn’t the best performance we’re likely to see this season and it wasn’t a particularly exciting affair, but we did enough to get ourselves into the hat for the fourth round. We started the first half brightly and slowly decreased our tempo until it reached halftime. The second half was the same story, showing a lot of attacking intent to begin with before settling and waiting for the final whistle.
Defensively we were very solid, and we created a reasonable number of chances going forward. However, we did lack something in the middle third, with a lot of players content to slow the game down rather than maintaining a high tempo of passing to create gaps in Morecambe’s defence. A few players have somewhat added to the selection headache for our league games but it’s unlikely that this performance will stop Lewington and McEachran returning to the side on Saturday at home to Derby.
If you’ve read this far then thank you! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game and I hope you enjoyed the read!
Ed We’d like to thank The MK Dons Worldwide team for working with us on this feature and appreciate the share.