Payne’s Player Ratings vs Morecambe (Home):
After picking up six points courtesy of Accrington Stanley and Cambridge in the last couple of games, a little bit of optimism had crept back into the atmosphere at Stadium MK. This time the Dons would face up to Morecambe in yet another six pointer fixture. In the end, Dons were able to win 1-0 for a third game in a row, leapfrogging Accrington Stanley and Oxford in the process. Here’s how I rated the players after the victory over Morecambe:
GK – Cumming – 6.5: Had a surprisingly quiet afternoon between the sticks and was only required for basic saves. Was a little suspect with his long range distribution at times but was composed on the ball even when pressured. Did almost cause an ugly moment when he failed to come and collect a ball that Tucker was shielding in the box but the centre-back eventually opted to clear the ball having realised his keeper wasn’t coming to help.
RWB – Lawrence – 6: Inconsistent but had some notably positive moments through the game, mostly from his build-up play down the right. With this being said he did also misplace a lot of passes, particularly through balls. Got stuck in sporadically but did get caught out of position a few times and didn’t seem to want to drop back once the ball made it past him.
RCB – Watson – 7: Starting to look more comfortable in a centre-back role, putting in a number of blocks and challenges to minimise any potential threats. Found himself in bleak situations a couple of times with Lawrence failing to track his man properly, but Watson stayed on his feet and stalled Morecambe for long enough for his teammates to regroup.
CB – Tucker – 8: Can only be described as Jack ‘The Rock’ Tucker after such a dominant defensive display where he let nothing past him and cut out a number of attacks single-handedly. He won his fair share of headers including one at Morecambe’s end in the second half that was caught by Ripley. He looked much more composed on the ball than in previous weeks and even played some clever reverse passes to beat Morecambe’s press.
LCB – Lewington – 7: Was a man on a mission at times, charging all over the pitch to put on pressure or challenge the Morecambe players. He was strong with his tackling and made himself difficult to beat. Showed fantastic levels of composure on the ball to create space for himself, therefore allowing him the time to pick the right passes.
LWB – Harvie – 7: Acted as more of an attacking threat in the absence of Kaikai on the other wing and played three or four great crosses, including for the goal where he played a perfect ball across for Leko. He set up two other chances for Eisa but the striker hit both off target. Wasn’t always the most comfortable on the ball but showed enough desire to win most of his 50/50’s. Did misplace a few passes but defended well whilst simultaneously making a nuisance of himself at the other end.
CM – McEachran – 7: Fairly quiet in the first half but neutralised Morecambe’s midfield without really creating much down the other end. Came alive in the second half and was seemingly everywhere all at once. He started to play more forward passes including a beautiful through ball for Harvie in the lead up to the goal. His break-up play was of a high standard throughout but he did eventually make way for Johnson after 89 minutes as Dons looked to run down the clock.
CM – Maghoma – 8 (TOP DON): Maghoma and Tucker were a level above everyone else in the first half and it was only after the break that the rest of the team started to sharpen up. He was the driving force of our attack, constantly picking up the ball in deep positions and playing forwards. He made a number of dribbles where he drew out two or three Morecambe players before releasing the ball to his teammates. His direct approach to attacking ensured that we always had some control over the game. All of this combined with his solid break-up play makes him Top Don.
CAM – Grant – 6.5: A difficult one to give a rating to. Was heavily involved in most of our first half attacking plays but showed inconsistencies with his passing. He set up our forwards for a number of opportunities but could’ve set up even more had he been more accurate. Did have a chance in the first half where he probably should’ve hit it first time, but he opted to cut inside and had his shot blocked. Faded somewhat in terms of his attacking play in the second half but worked hard defensively until he came off for Devoy after 82 minutes.
ST – Leko – 6.5: This is a bit controversial given that he scored the only goal of the game but up until that goal Leko was unconvincing at best and likely would’ve been given the lowest rating of the entire team. He saw a lot of the ball in the first half and had plenty of chances, the first of which rolled gently into Ripley’s arms whilst most of the rest flew off target. However, one of his shots troubled Ripley and he spilled it but Eisa failed to score the rebound. He was getting in the right positions but tried to out-skill half of Morecambe’s defence every time he got the ball, taking way too long to release the ball. For all of his slick movement, he didn’t actually go anywhere a lot of the time. With that being said he took his goal really well, getting on the end of Harvie’s cross and calmly slotting the ball into the corner, making it 1-0 after 57 minutes. He looked much brighter after that with the confidence boost of the goal fuelling him, but by the 73rd minute he was off the pitch with Holland replacing him.
ST – Eisa – 5: He just couldn’t get involved in the game and seemed to be offside every time the ball was played to him. Had a few chances over the course of the match including a header that he sent back in the direction the cross came from and a rebound from a Leko shot that he couldn’t direct towards goal. Did try to press Morecambe’s defence but he was often alone so the press wasn’t very effective. He was involved in some good passages of build-up play during the slower attacks but was rarely involved in the counter-attacking moves. Came off after 73 minutes for Grigg.
SUB – Holland – 6.5: Saw a reasonable amount of the ball and ran down the timer quite well at times but had a limited impact in terms of putting the game to bed.
SUB – Grigg – 6.5: Put himself about a bit trying to make life awkward for the Morecambe defence. Had a couple of chances including a first time shot from a long way out after Ripley made a mistake in possession but Grigg didn’t hit the target.
SUB – Devoy – 6.5: Very lively and pressed extremely well, forcing Morecambe to play long ball in the later stages of the game. Didn’t actually see much of the ball but defended well and put in one or two strong challenges.
SUB – Johnson – 6: A late change to waste time so he didn’t get a chance to do much. Played one great through ball for Holland and had a bit of a funny moment when stumbling after completely missing a free header but didn’t do anything else of note.
TEAM PERFORMANCE – 7: This wasn’t a game that will go down as a classic, in truth it was quite dull at times. However, there was a certain level of composure and application that allowed Dons to grind out the result which is the most important thing at this stage of the season. Morecambe had very little going forwards with the exception of a speculative shot that hit the post although there were a few shaky moments in the Dons defence. Individual performances from the likes of Tucker and Maghoma carried the team through the first half before a more conjunct second half secured the result.
The main concern continues to be the lack of quality up front. With the amount of good chances created, this game could’ve and should’ve been won by half-time. It’s all well and good taking one chance of many against teams sitting around you at the bottom of the table but you won’t get so many opportunities to get it right against better opposition. However, if the team stays committed and keeps showing the right level of grit and determination to take at least a point from games then that would likely result in another year of League One football next season.
If you’ve read this far then thank you! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game in the comments below and I hope you enjoyed the read!