The Dons started their League 2 campaign with an impressive victory against Chesterfield today with Jack Midson’s 35th minute strike enough to upset one of the promotion favourites.
It may have been the beginning of a new campaign, but it was a familiar scenario for AFC Wimbledon as that man Midson was again the match-winner in a 1-0 triumph for the Dons.
Terry Brown made just one change from the side that started at Stevenage on Tuesday with Louis Harris replacing Christian Jolley, but Angus MacDonald retained his spot at right-back with Curtis Osano having failed a late fitness test.
The visitors started the brightest and it was clear early on that Wimbledon’s defence would receive a stern test with the likes of Mark Richards running at them. It was Richards who had the first chance of the match in the 11th minute when he turned smartly after getting on the end of a Jordan Bowert through ball, but he shot just wide of the far post. The Spireites continued to look threatening and they created another good chance when Danny Whitaker found Talbot in space, but Dons goalkeeper Seb Brown was grateful that his shot was straight at him. More excellent link-up play carved the Dons open again midway through the first-half when Richards put Talbot through and it needed Seb Brown to make an excellent fingertip save.
The Dons gradually came into it as the first-half wore on with Brendan Kiernan’s pacy runs down the right catching the eye. Kiernan showed Nathan Smith a clean pair of heels just after the half hour and his cross created a shooting chance for Stacy Long, but he failed to connect properly from the edge of the area. A section of the Dons faithful in the Tempest End thought they were celebrating their first home goal of the season when Angus MacDonald struck a powerful free-kick, but the ball had struck the side netting. However, the home supporters did not have to wait too long for the opener and it came in great style too. MacDonald’s long ball over the top picked out Jack Midson and he held off Neil Trotman, before producing a clinical finish past previously untested Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee in the 35th minute. The Dons were so fortunate not to concede three minutes before the break when Whitaker had a great chance from close range, but he scuffed his shot and Warren Cummings was in the right place to clear off the line.
The Dons started on the front foot at the start of the second-half and a smart flick by Midson provided a great shooting chance for Luke Moore, but his shot was too close to Lee. However, the hosts needed Mat Mitchel-King to be at his best as he got back well to deny a goal-bound shot from Sam Togwell. Though the visitors did start to turn the screw with a spell of possession, they never really got behind Wimbledon as the hosts showed a defensive solidity that was sorely lacking at Stevenage on Tuesday night.
Terry Brown made a tactical change midway through the second-half as he put on Christian Jolley to provide an outlet with his pace. Brendan Kiernan was the man to make way, but he could be well pleased with his efforts as he produced another bright attacking performance. The impact of Jolley did get Wimbledon going again as an attacking force and though they failed to create any more chances it at least prevented the visitors making an impression. However, Seb Brown was called upon to make a decent save from a Mark Randall long-range effort.
Substitute Rashid Yussuff almost put the icing on the cake near the end as he was denied by Lee, but one was enough in the end as the Dons produced a performance that was was a far cry from their below-par pre-season form.
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Angus MacDonald, Warren Cummings, Sammy Moore, Pim Balkestein, Mat Mitchel-King, Stacy Long (Rashid Yussuff), Brendan Kiernan (Christian Jolley), Jack Midson, Louis Harris, Luke Moore.