With captain Dean Lewington sidelined through injury and Joe Walsh serving the first of a two-match suspension, Neilson handed a league debut to 19-year-old Ben Tilney, whose addition at left-back also saw George Williams shift inside to an unfamiliar central position alongside Paul Downing.
The pair certainly didn’t let the side down and both players played their part in an impressive defensive display at Gigg Lane – performances which led to praise from their manager.
“Our defence was makeshift but we held out," the 36-year-old told MK Dons PlayerHD
. "Ben Tilney is a young lad and he did really well. George Williams shifted in to centre half and was excellent for us again.”
Building on Tilney’s league debut, the Dons boss said: “It was a great day for him. I'm really happy for him and the lads are really happy for him too – he's a good kid and he's got a bright future.”