MK Dons kicked off their 2016/17 campaign in the best possible manner – with a victory and a clean sheet.
Daniel Powell’s second-half strike proved to be the difference as the men from MK1 ran out deserved 1-0 winners in the Shropshire sunshine.
Karl Robinson handed debuts to Paul Downing and Ed Upson for the fixture in Shropshire, while the returning George C Williams was also included in the starting XI.
The Dons started brightly and Dean Lewington threatened with a header which ended up over the top while, at the other end, Louis Dodds dragged a shot well wide from 20 yards.
Nicky Maynard was looking lively early on and he shot off target after a clever run in between the two Shrewsbury centre-backs.
Shortly afterwards, Joe Walsh forced Jayson Leutwiler into a smart save from an Ed Upson corner before some fantastic pressure from Daniel Powell set-up a chance for Lewington, who couldn’t find the net from a tight angle with the goalkeeper out of position.
However, the best chance of the opening 15 minutes fell to the hosts and AJ Leitch-Smith but he was brilliantly chased down and tackled by Walsh when he through on goal.
That proved to be a rare scare for the Dons, who continued to control proceedings as the game ticked past the midway point of the first half.
David Martin was called into the game for the first time not long after as he saved well from Dodds on the edge of the box while, at the other end, GC Williams couldn’t quite find Samir Carruthers after smart build-up play involving the impressive George Baldock.
Gary Deegan came close to giving Shrewsbury the lead five minutes before the break but his curling 25-yard shot went narrowly wide of the top right-hand corner.
Before the half was out, Maynard came within inches of poking Walsh’s goal-bound effort past Leutwiler from close range.
Darren Potter cannoned a header against the crossbar in the opening three minutes of the second period as the Dons almost hit the front – Upson’s free-kick creating the chance.
Injury forced Carruthers off on 52 minutes, this coming prior to Martin comfortably gathering a 20-yard free-kick from Jim O’Brien.
Leutwiler was nearly embarrassed a few minutes later but he was luckily able to gather after his poor clearance hit and Maynard and headed goalwards.
However, there was nothing the keeper could do on 73 minutes as Powell drove the ball home from 15 yards after fantastic pressure from Upson had won the ball back for the men from MK1. 0-1.
Upson curled a free-kick just over the top just inside the final 10 minutes before the equally-impressive Baldock blocked Junior Brown’s effort at the back post.
Second-year scholar Brandon Thomas-Asante was introduced for his first-team debut with 15 minutes remaining and he almost marked it with a goal although his rasping effort ended up over the top.
George B Williams also made his senior Dons bow in injury-time, years after he left the Club as an apprentice.
Starting XI: Martin; Baldock, Walsh, Downing, Lewington (c); Potter, Upson; Powell, Carruthers (Rasulo 52), GC Williams (Thomas-Asante 75); Maynard (GB Williams 90+3).
Unused subs: Nicholls, Tilney, Wootton, Tshimanga.
Bookings: Upson, Walsh
Goal: Powell (73)
Attendance: 5,452 (601 Dons fans)