Payne’s Player Ratings vs Tranmere (Away):
Hey everyone, it’s Luke Payne here, founder of the Payne’s Player Ratings series. I’m writing the introduction but this article is actually a shared effort between Chris Turner and Jonathan Harries as I was unable to attend the game. We’ve gone through a lot to get this article out albeit a few days late so please show them both some love for enabling the series to carry on.
Mike Williamson’s men visited Tranmere after a couple of weeks on the training ground. It turned out to be a dramatic affair for a multitude of reasons but The Dons came out on top, winning 2-1 courtesy of a last minute winner. Here’s how Chris and Jon rated the players:
GK – Michael Kelly – 7
When I first saw the team sheet, my first thought was as to whether Dan Kemp was starting, my second thought was however did Michael Kelly get picked to start over Craig MacGillivray? As we know there was talks over a deal for Mac falling through midweek so it seems like Kelly had probably been training to start this game regardless
For me he gave a solid performance and didn’t really have too much to do. He was unlucky on the deflection for their goal and I doubt any keeper would be able to react in time to that. He made several good catches and his distribution of long balls was about 50% which is more accurate than Craig MacGillivray normally produces. He wasn’t tested much and didn’t have much to do and on any other day would’ve got clean sheet. It was also his first EFL match which is always something to admire at the age of 27. Think he should be contender to start next weekend too if we don’t sign a GK as Macs head obviously wasn’t in it, and until we get clarity on the situation, there’s no point in changing GK every match
RWB – Kyran Lofthouse – 7
Another debutant but this time actually for MK Dons, Kyran Lofthouse was originally on the bench in the initial squad but was brought into the lineup due to an injury to Ethan Robson in the warm up, and this saw Mj Williams slot into the CDM role and Norman slot into the back 3. I think Lofthouse had a decent debut and will only improve with time to come.
He made good runs down his side and wasn’t afraid to take on his man, which is something I don’t think we see a lot of with Norman down that side. He always attempted to play a forwards pass or put the ball into the box. He wasn’t afraid to have a shot and did have a cutback effort go just wide in the second half. Defensively he tracked back well and made several key interceptions and tackles, my only criticism is he needed new studs as he kept slipping over! Solid debut and was substituted for Leko in the end. Definitely much more to come for the future!
RCB – Cameron Norman – 6.5
I think Norman had a fairly quiet game today. Initially he was supposed to start at RWB but dropped into the back 3 as he has been doing a lot recently. He put in a solid shift, making blocks and tackles where he needed to, and wanting to move the ball up the pitch as well, and working well with Lofthouse on the right.
To be completely honest, Cameron Norman isn’t going to be a starting name on the team sheet when Jack Tucker and Daniel Harvie return. The back 5 automatically had Tucker O’Hora and Tomlinson written into it, and I feel Lewie can’t be dropped atm, so it leaves a 3 way battle between Harvie Norman and Lofthouse, and I don’t think Norman will win that. He is a solid player but going ahead with how Mike wants to play I can’t see him being a starter in the once a week games but will be key for rotation with the busy schedule ahead
CCB – Warren O’Hora – 7.5
I think Warren O’Hora has been my most improved player in the recent weeks. He has really found his shoes playing in that defence, leading that backline from the middle and looks like his old self. He was at almost every ball intercepting them, winning headers and turning the possession over. However I don’t think he suits the central role as well as Jack Tucker does. He moves the ball too slowly and his accuracy on long passes was poor today, and he can’t find that slip through pass that Tucker is capable of but I think he still slots back into that right of the back 3 when Tucks is back and will iron up the defence even more. Solid game, no complaints apart from the slowness on the ball.
LCB – Dean Lewington (C 🐐) – 7
Lewie looked a lot better today than he did against Doncaster. He made up for his lack of recovery pace with his experience on the ball and his physical presence as well. He always looks to progress the ball and push up down his side with Tomlinson and linked up well with him and Gilbey. No complaints to give for the skipper, it’s brilliant to see him consistently playing at this level at his age and he will be key in the coming games and rotation with Harvie to keep that freshness of legs.
LWB – Joe Tomlinson – 7
Was a constant threat and outlet providing some penetrative runs, sometimes the end product was just missing and the link up with Kemp isn’t quite there but that will take time. Provided the killer ball for the Harrison winner.
MJ Williams – CDM – 9 (TOP DON)
This was the Wrexham MJ. Broke up play, assisted Gilbey for the opener and was always available for the defence to start an attack. When MJ is on form, the team ticks. Gave Payne more licence to roam. More performances like this please.
Jack Payne – CDM- 6.5
He didn’t necessarily do anything wrong and supplied Harrison with a delicious through ball in the second half that should have been rewarded. His tenacity is often overlooked and even with players around him he creates space.
Alex Gilbey – RAM – 7.5
Energetic, committed and one of his better performances for some time IMO. Great goal cutting in from the left and firing low into the net. He maybe should have scored a second after being played through one on one by Dean. He was relentless in his pressing and just back to the standard Gilbey.
Dan Kemp – LAM – 6.5
I think some of the fanbase were expecting the Swindon Kemp from the start and tbh it was never going to happen. New players, New system. He needs time to build partnerships but the effort and commitment was there. Final ball wasn’t there but that will come. He’s proven he can do it in L2. Give him time.
Max Dean – ST – 6
The effort is there, but he needs a goal. You can never question his desire but maybe being a bit more selfish and not getting involved in the build-up might be the way forward.
Jonathan Leko (SUB) – 6
Came on for Lofthouse and although he tried a couple of things they didn’t really get him anywhere. The fact Williamson brings him on shows to me he’s trying to build his confidence so I just hope we see the 🍓 of this soon.
Ellis Harrison (SUB) – 7
The most frustrating player since Aneke. He sometimes struggled to hold the ball up. He missed a glorious chance one on one. But when the ball fell to him in the six yard box he sparked Limbs in the A end, the dugout and scored his 4th goal of the season (all after the 80th minute). It feels like Dean is getting some help after all
Team performance – 7
It was dominant, it was weird as Tranmere did not press until we got into their half but we won. We bounced back after Doncaster and that’s huge. I liked the way we used the width on both sides. The play until the end attitude got us the W. Only Wrexham have a better PPG since Williamson got appointed. And remember this isn’t even his squad… sensational.
Three H games in a row now an opportunity to build again. Still a long way to go but it looks promising.
Payne’s Player Ratings vs Tranmere (Away):