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25 August 2018 Venue The Cherry Red Records Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Reports

Dons pay the price for missed chances after impressive display

Wimbledon beaten by Sunderland after dominating for long spells

25 August 2018

AFC Wimbledon’s players were left to reflect on what might have been once again today after threatening to end the unbeaten run of promotion favourites Sunderland.

Two Lee Catermole strikes cancelled out Joe Pigott’s early opener to earn a 2-1 victory for the Black Cats, but that told only half the story. At 1-1, Wimbledon squandered chance after chance, letting Sunderland off the hook. Overall, it had been a very good Dons display, but without the finishing touch, and it was a similar emotion to how everyone in blue and yellow felt after the midweek defeat to Walsall.  

With Wimbledon having played well in defeat against Walsall last time out, Neal Ardley understandably decided not to make many changes to his starting line-up. James Hanson came in for the injured Kwesi Appiah and captain Deji Oshilaja was restored to the side in place of Rod McDonald.

There was a cracking atmosphere at the Cherry Red Records Stadium from the outset with Sunderland bringing a sizeable travelling support and home fans rising to the occasion against a club that were in the Premier League 15 months ago. Sunderland came into this match on the back of an emphatic 4-1 win at Gillingham in midweek and they started in confident manner. Wimbledon had to defend well to stop Sunderland getting in behind following several impressive moves. However, they were restricted to playing outside the box and Max Power tried his luck with a shot from 25 yards that flashed just wide.

Wimbledon’s first meaningful attack was certainly worth waiting for as it resulted in the opening goal! It was an absolute stunner too and even in August it was a Wimbledon goal that will take some beating this season in terms of quality. Andy Barcham was superb in the build-up as he nutmegged his marker down the left before sending in a pinpoint cross for Joe Pigott. There was still plenty to do when Pigott shaped to volley it, but his connection was sheer class and the strike left Sunderland keeper Jon McLaughlin with no chance.

The opening goal knocked Sunderland completely out of their stride and Wimbledon aimed to take full advantage. In a spell of wonderful football from the Dons, Barcham powered down the wing at every opportunity, creating space for others. Anthony Wordsworth and Liam Trotter linked-up the midfield and attack majestically at times, showing a quality that was perhaps lacking last season. One lovely move ended with Toby Sibbick sending in a cross that picked out Pigott and his header on was in the direction of his strike partner James Hanson, but McLaughlin got there first to punch clear. Wimbledon had a moment of concern when Josh Maja beat Tom King to a cross, but his header sailed over the cross. However, it was all Wimbledon during this spell and Pigott had a goal-bound shot blocked.

As we approached half-time, Sunderland started to regain some flow to their game and Power had another shot that flashed just wide. However, Wimbledon had defended impeccably in the first-half when it was required and Neal’s boys were full value for the 1-0 half-time lead.

Wimbledon started the second-half with plenty of attacking intent and Will Nightingale produced a soaring header that McLaughlin did well to save. Another opportunity followed when Sunderland only half cleared a cross and Barcham produced a header that had to be cleared off the line. At the other end, a flowing Sunderland break involving Chris Maguire ended with a shooting chance for George Honeyman, but his shot was superbly blocked by 19-year-old full-back Toby Sibbick.

Sunderland stepped up their attacks around the hour mark and there was a worrying moment for Wimbledon when Maja got in around the back and cut the ball back, but no one was there to finish it off. However, it was only a temporary reprieve for Wimbledon and the equaliser followed in the 65th minute. The Dons failed to deal with a corner, but there was a touch of fortune as the ball fell nicely for Cattermole, who steered home from close-range. Though the referee did go across to his assistant to consult about a possible offside, the goal was allowed to stand.

It was the signal for Sunderland to pour forward and it needed fine defending from Oshilaja and Nightingale to stop the visitors taking the lead. Immediately after the Sunderland equaliser came a first Wimbledon substitution with Scott Wagstaff entering the fray for Mitch Pinnock.

Far from being rattled by the equaliser, it galvanised Wimbledon and several chances were squandered with the visitors struggling to contain a rampant Dons attack. Trotter was denied by McLaughlin at the far post and Wimbledon came even closer from the subsequent corner. Pigott fired against a post from close-range and Ryan Oviedo appeared to handle on the line, but no penalty was forthcoming. The chances kept on coming and Oshilaja struck over the crossbar after joining in with the attacks. A lovely Wimbledon move fashioned an even better opportunity shortly afterwards. Wagstaff picked out Hanson’s run down the right and his cross fell nicely for Trotter, but he scooped his finish over the crossbar.

Against the run of play, Sunderland grabbed the lead when Lynden Gooch put in a lovely cross from the right and Cattermole was allowed too much space at the back post to fire home. Though Wimbledon attempted to conjure up an equaliser, it proved to be in vain and the Dons simply paid the price for failing to take their chances.

AFC Wimbledon: Tom King, Toby Sibbick, Ben Purrington, Will Nightingale, Deji Oshilaja, Mitch Pinnock (Scott Wagstaff), Anthony Wordsworth, Liam Trotter, Andy Barcham (Tyler Garratt), James Hanson, Joe Pigott.

Pic credit: Matt Redman, Pro Sports Images.

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Ticket News

Match Details: Sunderland game is a sell-out

Show your support for the Dons against promotion contenders

24 August 2018

AFC Wimbledon host League One promotion favourites Sunderland on Saturday and this match at the Cherry Red Records Stadium is sold out.

Neal Ardley's men will be seeking a first home win this season after impressive performances on the road and it promises to be a cracking atmosphere tomorrow. Sunderland sold out of their away allocation weeks ago and all tickets for home areas have also been snapped up.

Below is a summary of match arrangements for Saturday's game:

Bars

These will be open from 12 noon, offering you a chance to get here in time to watch the early Premier League match between Wolves and Man City (12.30 pm kick-off). The evening game is Liverpool v Brighton (5.30 pm kick-off) and that will also be shown on TV screens following the Wimbledon match. Sunderland supporters will be welcome in the bar areas before the game.

There will be a wide selection of drinks available in the bars, including real ales. These are as follows:

Main Bar

Plough Lane Ale

Copper Leaf Autumn Ale

SW19 Summer Ale

Back Bar

Plough Lane Ale

Wimbledon Common Ale

SW19 Summer Ale

We announced earlier this week that the club had signed a deal with a new beer partner. The move will see Bud Light become the principal beer partner of AFC Wimbledon. Bud Light is owned by American giant Anheuser Busch Inbev, who own a number of the world's most popular beers. The new alcoholic beverages available on tap will be Bud Light, Budweiser, Becks Vier, Stella Artois, Magners, Magners Dark Fruits and Goose Island IPA. See our previous article for more information.

Collection point for West Ham tickets

Tickets can be collected before Saturday's game from the white ticket booth next to the Dons Trust kiosk.

Programme

Packed with news, interviews, and features, tomorrow's offering is well worth adding to your collection. It includes an extensive interview with new Wimbledon striker James Hanson (pictured), who tells us how about his transformation from a teenage full-back released by Huddersfield to one of the most feared strikers in the lower leagues. There's also an interview with Toby Sibbick after his first league start for 18 months.

Foodbank Collection

Foundation staff will tomorrow be collecting for the Wimbledon Foodbank, a vital initiative that helps people in crisis. The collection point will be outside the back bar by the inflatable. Supporters who can help the appeal should bring any items on the day between 12.30pm – 2.30pm tomorrow. Please see our previous article for more about the items we are collecting on the day.

Launch of new catering service

Our caterers Shakey's Diner have been busy working on expanding their match day product offering and they've come up with a food option aimed at cutting down on half-time queues!

Shakey's Diner are pleased to announce that they will be using local supplier Mr Crumb, a small award-winning food producer that have set-up their London base in Wimbledon, and this means that hot handmade paninis will be sold inside the ground from Saturday.

The tasty treats will be sold before kick-off and during the game, with a member of staff at each stand on hand, so you can even avoid those half-time queues!

Club Shop

This will reopen from 11.00 am on Saturday with a range of merchandise on sale, including the 'Meades Polo' (priced at £25).

Dons Trust kiosk

Dons Trust members and people interested in the work of the Trust are welcome to visit the Dons Trust kiosk before the match. Come and ask board members Cormac van der Hoeven and Matthew Breach about the work of the board generally or their own specific roles. Cormac is a member of the board's Engagement & Communications committee, whilst Matt is a member of the board's Oversight and Strategy & Organisation committees. You can also join the Trust or renew your membership at the kiosk, sign up to the Dons Draw (our regular monthly lottery) or donate loose change, foreign currency or items for AFCbay (our online auction). Please note that we no longer collect printer cartridges.

Tickets for away games

Supporters can buy tickets for the matches at Burton Albion and Accrington Stanley from the complimentary tickets window (next to the players' entrance) before tomorrow's game and for a short time afterwards.

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