Watford target Keith Andrews scored one and made another to consign the Hornets to a 2-1 defeat at stadium:mk this evening.

Aidy Boothroyd fielded the XI that could start the opening Championship game of the season on a balmy night, starting with a 4-3-3 formation but finishing with a more traditional 4-4-2 system.

He would have been pleased at the way Watford looked more cohesive as the night wore on and encouraged by the second-half display of the lively Theo Robinson.

But he will be aware that he has some further work to do on the training field - and in the transfer market - before Watford face Crystal Palace on August 9.

Watford made the worst possible start when Keith Andrews fired the home side in front inside 90 seconds. Jemal Johnson's speedy break left John Eustace for dead and he cut the ball back from the left to Andrews who showed exactly why Boothroyd rates him so highly by rifling a Paul Scholes-esque drive past Scott Loach.

Tamas Priskin enjoyed attempts on goal - one with his head and the with his right-foot - either side of a shot from Aaron Wilbraham but Watford's rather lacklustre start prompted Boothroyd to leave his seat in the stand after just 20 minutes. The manager would have been pleased at the way his side passed the ball on an immaculate surface but they lacked a cutting edge in attack and looked susceptible to MK Dons swift attacking raids.

Johnson, the home side's quickest player, screwed a shot wide of the far post on 25 minutes while, at the other end, Jobi McAnuff saw a deflected shot fall just wide of the post after some neat interplay involving Ulises De La Cruz and Tommy Smith. McAnuff, who cut a frustrated figure during the first half, also had a strong claim for a penalty turned down soon after.

Having conceded a goal at the start of the first half, lightening almost strike twice at the start of the second for Watford when substitute Sam Baldock struck the inside of the post and saw the ball rebound out to safety.

Boothroyd switched to a 4-4-2 formation at the break, bringing on Theo Robinson for Smith and pairing the young striker with Priskin. Jon Harley moved to the left-hand side of midfield, and it was the Hornets' only summer signing so far who registered Watford's first attempt on goal in the second half, firing over from distance.

Harley, however, made no mistake from closer range on the hour mark, converting a low cross from Priskin for the equaliser. Watford grew in confidence following the leveller and threatened the MK Dons goal on three occassions in quick succession. McAnuff came within a whisker of bundling home a loose ball, Priskin almost found Robinson with a pass across the face of goal while Robinson had a header cleared off the line.

MK Dons were firmly on the back foot so it therefore came against the run of play when they got their noses back in front on 72 minutes. A cross from Mark Wright was flicked on by Andrews and headed in by Wilbraham Priskin thought he had grabbed the equaliser on 78 minutes but his header was cleared off the line by Peter Leven, while the Hungarian also saw a looping header from a Harley corner drop onto the roof of the net. But that was about the end of the goalmouth action as the match petered out rather tamely.

MK Dons: Gueret; Howell, Regan, O'Hanlon (Cummings 45), Lewington; Wright, Andrews, Navarro (Leven 45), Sturm (Chicksen 60); Wilbraham, Johnson (Baldock 45). Not used: Abbey, King, Mitchell, Dobson.

Watford: Loach; De La Cruz (Jenkins 70), Bromby, DeMerit (Mariappa 61), Sadler; Williamson (Francis 61), Eustace (Doyley 75), Harley; Smith (Robinson 45), Priskin, McAnuff. Not used: Beasant (gk), Young, Hoskins, Ainsworth.

Att: 5,781