AFC Wimbledon hit the heights as an attacking force once again today with Neal Ardley’s men striking five past Bury for the second time in five days.
Rampant front pair Tom Elliott and Dominic Poleon helped themselves to a goal each with George Francomb notching a double and Chris Whelpdale also on target in a 5-1 victory.
Bury were rocked by a three-minute goal blitz in the first-half with Poleon at the heart of it as he set-up two and scored the other.
Following the 5-0 win against Bury in the FA Cup, it concluded a brilliant week for everyone connected with AFC Wimbledon.
Neal Ardley made three changes to his starting line-up for the quick return of Bury with one of those involving a full league debut for Seth Owens. The 18-year-old made his first League One start at left-back and there was a double change in attack with Dominic Poleon and Tom Elliott paired together up front. Dannie Bulman and Lyle Taylor both had to settle for places on the bench with Andy Barcham missing out due to injury.
Wimbledon first threatened in the seventh minute after Elliott had been scythed down by Bury defender Leon Barnett 25 yards out on the left. Dean Parrett struck an excellent free-kick that flashed across the box and Ben Williams dived to his left to turn it away. However, Bury had a spell of possession after that and threatened to make a better game of it than they did on Tuesday. James Shea had to stay alert to deal with a couple of dangerous crosses as Wimbledon attempted to take a grip on the game.
Bearing in mind such an uneventful start to this game, what followed from the 26th minute onwards was even harder to believe. The first goal in three magical minutes for Wimbledon came about when Poleon chased a lost cause down the left, before putting over a lovely cross that Chris Whelpdale top-poked into the bottom corner. The best was still to come from Poleon as less than 60 seconds later he powered through the middle and unleashed a brilliant volley that bounced in via the crossbar. Amazingly, there was still more to come when a third goal followed in as many minutes. A rampant Poleon found space on the right and then picked out Elliott, who steered home from close-range.
It was a power-packed spell from Wimbledon that will be remembered for years to come, certainly the home faithful had not seen anything like it since that 4-3 victory against Cheltenham Town two years ago. However, there was even better to come. George Francomb, who played in a midfield role today, was brought down in the box by Niall Maher and he picked himself up to strike home emphatically from 12 yards. At 4-0 up by the 36th minute, chants of ‘Can we play you every week” could be heard and with four games in just over a month between the two teams, it was certainly most appropriate!
As we approached half-time, you got the feeling that Neal Ardley’s men could score every time they went forward. However, Bury produced a response by conjuring up a well-worked goal of their own. Danny Mayor sent in a teasing cross from the left and James Vaughan produced a glancing header that left Shea with no chance. Still, a 4-1 lead at half-time highlighted how well Wimbledon were functioning as an attacking force – and it came with Lyle Taylor on the bench!
There was no let-up from Wimbledon in the second-half and perhaps the only surprise was that we had to wait until the 58th minute for another goal. It came after more great work from Elliott, the all-action striker bursting down the flank and delivering a cross that picked out Francomb and he took one touch, before finding the bottom corner with a powerful drive. Francomb, who had not scored this season prior to today, then threatened to claim a hat-trick when his shot from outside the area was deflected just wide.
The Dons came within a whisker of making it six when Paul Robinson rose highest in the box to meet a corner taken by Francomb, but his header was cleared off the line. At the other end, it needed James Shea to stay alert as he stopped a header from Maher from reducing the deficit. Neal Ardley made three quick changes in succession, starting with Will Nightingale entering the fray for Paul Robinson 18 minutes from time. Then followed a double change up front with Tyrone Barnett and Lyle Taylor introduced for Poleon and Elliott. The latter pair both received rapturous applause from the home faithful after superb performances leading the line.
With 10 minutes left, Dean Parrett curled a free-kick onto the roof of the net as Wimbledon came close to going one better than on Tuesday. Barnett had a header saved by Williams in the latter stages, but five was well enough to keep Wimbledon supporters well happy and it was a performance that offered encouragement for Millwall away on Tuesday night.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Seth Owens, Paul Robinson (Will Nightingale), Chris Robertson, George Francomb, Jake Reeves, Dean Parrett, Dominic Poleon (Lyle Taylor), Tom Elliott (Tyrone Barnett), Chris Whelpdale.