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02 February 2019 Venue Stadium of Light Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Wally: It's a great challenge

Quotes, team news and stats ahead of the trip to the Stadium of Light

1 February 2019

Wally Downes wants his players to embrace the "challenge” of playing against Sunderland and build on last weekend’s FA Cup upset.

The Dons go in search of a first League One victory of the year at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon, having disposed of Premier League West Ham in impressive style. While Wimbledon’s need is to make up points at the bottom, the Black Cats are eyeing a quick return to the Championship as they sit fifth in the table in the play-off places.

Sunderland, however, won’t have played for ten days though. They beat Manchester City’s under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy and their last League One game will have been a fortnight ago when they drew 1-1 at Scunthorpe. Their last league victory, under Jack Ross, came on New Year’s Day when they won 1-0 at Blackpool.  

Wimbledon were buoyed with the addition of two further signings before the transfer window closed, plus  no further departures from the squad just before the deadline.

Here are key quotes from both camps, plus team news, stats and how you can stay in touch with the game -  

Quotes

Wally Downes –

“It’s a great challenge. West Ham was a big club to play against and this is another big club, but they’ve got to perform. It’s a great challenge for the club and certainly for the players as individuals and as a team.

“We’ve recently changed the formation from what I’d ideally like to play, to a more conservative line-up, but we’ve performed well. We’ve ‘dogged’ out some performances. If that’s the way it’s got to be from now until the end of the season, and we keep it tight and stay in the game as long as we can, then so be it. I certainly wouldn’t want us to be as open as we were in the Fleetwood game. That was very disappointing and perhaps we need to go back to being harder to beat, living off scraps and taking our chances when we get them."

Jack Ross –

“I have spoken enough about how tough I think this league is. I do think there’s a number of cup results this season – not just Wimbledon against West Ham – that have shown the strength of this league. I’m sure they’ll come in as good a frame of mind as they’ve been for a few weeks - given not just winning the game, but the manner of the victory as well. They’ll have huge motivation as well, as they try not to become too detached at the bottom.

Team news

Sunderland brought in striker Will Grigg from Wigan Athletic this week, with top scorer Josh Maja -who netted 15 times for the Black Cats - having departed for Bordeaux. Sunderland have also added the loan signings of winger Lewis Morgan (Celtic) and forward Kazaiah Sterling (Tottenham).

Andy Barcham has not recovered in time to be in contention. The winger has not been able to shake off the hamstring injury that kept him out of the match against West Ham. Forward James Hanson (groin) is progressing well, but Saturday’s game will also come too soon for his return. New left back Steve Seddon is back in full training and is in the squad. Albanian winger Egli Kaja is back in light training after shaking off a knee injury.

The Dons took the total number of signings in the January transfer window to five before Thursday’s 11pm deadline, with the permanent addition of midfielder Shane McLoughlin from Ipswich and the loan signing of striker Michael Folivi from Watford.

Form Guide (last six in all competitions, starting with most recent)

Sunderland – WDDWDW

AFC Wimbledon - WLLDWL

Last time out

January 22,

EFL Trophy – 4th Round:

Sunderland 2, Manchester City U21s 0

January 26,

FA Cup – 4th Round:

AFC Wimbledon 4, West Ham United 2

Previous meeting

Joe Pigott (pictured) scored a cracking opening goal for The Dons after just nine minutes at The Cherry Red Records Stadium back in August, but Sunderland hit back with a brace from Lee Cattermole in a 2-1 victory for the visitors.

Top scorers

Aiden McGeady (Sunderland) – 7 goals

Joe Pigott (AFC Wimbledon) – 8 goals

Tickets

Dons fans will also be able to pay on the day (for cash from turnstile 71 and card from the ticket office at the Stadium of Light).

iFollow

If you can’t make the game, tune into our iFollow service with commentary from our Radio WDON team.

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Match Reports

Dons just edged out by Sunderland

A slender defeat for AFC Wimbledon

2 February 2019

A gutsy away display from Wimbledon eventually yielded no return at Sunderland today with a second-half strike from Aiden McGeady proving to be the difference between the two sides.

The Dons missed first-half chances to take the lead and McGeady’s strike in the 67th minute was enough for the promotion-chasing hosts to earn victory. Wimbledon were cheered on by 898 travelling Dons supporters in a crowd of 30,424 at The Stadium of Light. For long spells, Wimbledon had frustrated the hosts, but one lapse of concentration was punished.

Wally Downes made just one change from the side that swept aside West Ham so impressively in the Emirates FA Cup. Steve Seddon was recalled after injury at left-back with Rod McDonald having to settle for a place on the bench. Shane McLoughlin was selected as a substitute just two days after signing for Wimbledon, but fellow new recruit Michael Folivi was not on the bench, though he did travel with the squad. Sunderland had made four signings before the transfer deadline, the most notable being the £4 million capture of Will Grigg from Wigan, but only on-loan Celtic winger Lewis Morgan and Grant Leadbitter made the starting line-up.

Aiming to build on that brilliant cup win against West Ham, Wimbledon started well and fashioned an early shooting chance when Will Nightingale picked out Anthony Wordsworth and he shot just wide. At the other end, Sunderland had their first attempt at goal through George Honeyman, but his shot flashed just wide. The hosts were piling forward in search of a breakthrough, but the element of surprise almost paid off for Wimbledon shortly afterwards. A quick ball out from defence picked out Wordsworth and he tried his luck with a 45-yard effort that goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin only just managed to get back and tip over the crossbar. From the subsequent corner, the ball fell nicely for Nightingale, but he shot over.

With 10 minutes on the clock, Sunderland threatened to break the deadlock through Morgan, but he shot just wide from outside the box. As the pressure started to increase, Wimbledon needed captain Deji Oshilaja and Terell Thomas to make vital interceptions inside the box. However, it was Wimbledon creating the better chances in the first-half. Dylan Connolly was proving to be a real threat on the right when given an opportunity and he produced a lovely run that ended with a cross that fell for Kwesi Appiah, but his effort was over the crossbar. There was an even better chance just before the half hour when a corner was swung in and Nightingale showed good perseverance to earn a chance, but his header from close-range was just over the crossbar.

As the first-half wore on, Wimbledon were growing in confidence with Wordsworth and Scott Wagstaff seeing plenty of the ball in midfield. At this point, the gulf in points between the two teams was not being reflected by matters on the pitch. When Sunderland did get into the final third, good defending scuppered their goal threat and Thomas made a vital headed clearance to stop Morgan’s cross from finding a target in the box. Nightingale, retained in a midfield role, was also doing a very good job in protecting the back four.  Wimbledon fully deserved to be level at half-time and it could even have been better with chances having been missed by The Dons.

The second-half started with Wimbledon having to soak up pressure, as Sunderland started to pile forward. A quick Dons break could have yielded something at the other end though when Pinnock found space on the left and crossed well, but Appiah’s control let him down just inside the area. A sign that Sunderland were getting increasingly desperate came just before the hour when they appealed for a handball in the area by Nightingale, but his hands were down by his side and the referee was unimpressed.

Sunderland made a change just after the hour with their new signing Kazaiah Sterling sent on to offer more pace in attack. However, Tennai Watson showed good strength and pace to hold him off when he immediately threatened to go through. There was no stopping Sunderland in the 67th minute though when Aiden McGeady turned inside and unleashed a cracking drive into the top corner that left Aaron Ramsdale with no chance.

Wimbledon had struggled to fashion anything of real note so far in the second-half and Wally Downes made two substitutions in an attempt to find an equaliser. Toby Sibbick and Joe Pigott were introduced with Tennai Watson and Mitch Pinnock making way. With six minutes to go, Wimbledon had a good chance to equalise. A nice move ended with Scott Wagstaff going clean through, but his shot was well saved by McLaughlin. The Dons midfielder’s vociferous appeals after he appeared to be hauled back fell on deaf ears. Despite Wimbledon continuing to press for an equaliser, Sunderland held firm and it leaves The Dons still searching for a first league victory in 2019.

AFC Wimbledon: Aaron Ramsdale, Tennai Watson (Toby Sibbick), Deji Oshilaja, Will Nightingale, Terell Thomas, Scott Wagstaff, Kwesi Appiah, Mitch Pinnock (Joe Pigott), Steve Seddon, Dylan Connolly (Jake Jervis), Anthony Wordsworth.

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Ticket News

Ticket update for the trip to Sunderland

Buy online until 3pm this afternoon

1 February 2019

Wimbledon visit Sunderland on Saturday and online ticket sales are available until 3pm this afternoon.

Supporters travelling to the game can pick up their tickets at the Stadium of Light. Collections can be made at the ticket office. It is a separate building right next to the stadium, which is open until kick-off. 

Buy Sunderland Tickets >>

Wimbledon supporters will be accommodated in the North Stand (upper section) at Sunderland with the following prices:

  • Adults - £18
  • Over-65 - £15
  • Under-22 -£10
  • Under-16 - £7.50
  • Wheelchair/Ambulant - £18 (appropriate age based concession can be charged)
  • Personal Assistant - Free of charge

Dons fans will also be able to pay on the day (for cash from turnstile 71 and card from the ticket office).

For more information about booking disabled tickets, contact the club on 020 8547 3528.

Stadium Access

  • - Turnstiles open 90 minutes before kick off.
  • - The away turnstiles are 69-72 in the Carling North Stand.
  • - If you require lift access please contact the club in advance.

Further information on visiting the Stadium of Light can be obtained here.

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