A trip to Adams Park again brought the best out of the Dons as they ended seven matches without a win in emphatic fashion.
Just over 15 months since then caretaker manager Simon Bassey guided Wimbledon to a 1-0 win, the Dons did it with even more style as they marched to a 3-0 victory that was fully deserved on the day.
On a day of so many positives for Neal Ardley’s men, Charlie Wyke made the crucial breakthrough on his debut, before goals from Sammy Moore and Jack Midson earned Wimbledon’s biggest away victory of the season.
Though Wycombe ended the match with 10 men due to the dismissal of Anthony Stewart, they were well beaten before the incident that earned Midson an opportunity to score his first goal since September.
Neal Ardley made four changes to his starting line-up at Adams Park and it was a new partnership up front with Wyke thrust straight in for his debut alongside Jack Midson. Charlie Sheringham had to settle for a place on the bench and, of course, Michael Smith played the last game of his loan spell on Wednesday at Dagenham. Harry Pell replaced the injured George Francomb and Jim Fenlon was preferred ahead of Callum Kennedy. The 3-5-2 formation favoured recently by Neal Ardley was once again deployed with former Wycombe pair Alan Bennett and Will Antwi aiming to impress at the back for Wimbledon in familiar surroundings.
Antwi came so close to scoring against his old club when he rose highest in the box to meet a Sammy Moore corner, but his header was cleared off the line by Wycombe’s Sam Wood. Wimbledon had already threatened by that stage with Jim Fenlon shooting wide from close-range. It had been a promising first 20 minutes from Wimbledon as they enjoyed long spells of possession with Midson and Wyke offering useful targets up front.
However, Ross Worner had to make his first save in the 26th minute and it was a decent one too. A fine Wycombe move ended with Nick Arnold setting up Billy Knott, but Worner spread himself well to deny the man who spent a memorable three-month loan spell with Wimbledon in 2011/12. That was a rare scare for Wimbledon in the first-half though and Pell signalled his intent with a powerful 30-yard drive that Wycombe goalkeeper Matt Ingram could only parry for a corner.
Wycombe seemed content to soak up Dons pressure and hit the visitors on the break during the first-half. Their tactic did threaten Wimbledon four minutes before half-time when referee David Phillips refused to award a free-kick for what appeared to be a foul on Sammy Moore by Knott. The ball was quickly spread to Wimbledon’s left side and Alan Bennett received a yellow card for bringing down Paris Cowan-Hall. From Marvin McCoy’s subsequent free-kick, it needed Pell to make a fine headed clearance. The home side came closest to opening the scoring in first-half injury time when Wood’s superb effort from an acute angle fizzed just wide.
Playing towards their own fans in the second-half, it didn’t take long for the Dons to threaten an opener with Wyke almost scoring within seconds. Wyke got on the end of a slick move involving Luke Moore, but Wycombe just managed to scramble the ball clear. However, a passionate Wimbledon support never had to wait too long to celebrate a goal – and it was that man Wyke with the opener. Wyke, who had produced a lively display leading the line on his debut, capped it with a goal when he met Sammy Moore’s free-kick with a powerful downward header that bounced off the sodden turf and in off the crossbar. That sent the sizeable Wimbledon travelling support into raptures and it could have been 2-0 shortly afterwards when Midson’s clever flick put Pell through, but he shot over the crossbar.
Though Wycombe did produce a spirited response, Wimbledon’s defence coped comfortably with Antwi, in particular, marshalling the defence well. And Jim Fenlon, who took every opportunity to get in a shot when he could, powered another effort just wide of the post. The Dons had an even better chance minutes later when Fuller picked out Wyke in the box, but he scuffed his finish into the grateful arms of Ingram. However, it was effectively game over 13 minutes from time when Wimbledon earned a second goal that their overall play deserved. Wyke was again involved with his presence causing problems for the Wycombe defence and his lay-off set-up Sammy Moore, who latched onto it and slotted home emphatically.
There was even better to come for Wimbledon when substitute Kevin Sainte-Luce caused mayhem in the Wycombe defence and when he was brought down by Stewart, the referee had little option but to give him a second yellow card. Midson earned his reward for an industrious display by slotting home his first spot-kick since that crucial penalty against Fleetwood in April. On a day that could kick-start Wimbledon’s display, the only negative was that Fenlon was shown for a rash challenge on Josh Scowen in the final minute.
AFC Wimbledon: Ross Worner, Will Antwi, Alan Bennett, Andy Frampton, Barry Fuller, Jim Fenlon, Sammy Moore, Harry Pell, Luke Moore, Charlie Wyke (Kevin Sainte-Luce), Jack Midson.