Joe Pigott struck his fourth goal in five games to help Wimbledon to a first victory in 2020.
A clinical strike from Pigott proved to be the difference in a 1-0 victory, but the whole team deserved credit for showing spirit in abundance to defy Peterborough. Time and time again, the visitors threatened an equaliser, but Wimbledon defended valiantly. The full-time whistle, following six minutes of injury-time, signalled big celebrations from fans, staff, and players after such a hard-fought win.
Glyn Hodges made two changes to his starting line-up after the narrow defeat at Portsmouth. One of those was enforced due to the injury suffered by Marcus Forss, who subsequently returned to Brentford. Mitch Pinnock, who had set-up Joe Pigott’s goal at Portsmouth, earned a recall after his encouraging display at Fratton Park. The other change was a notable one as Mads Bech Sorensen came in for his Wimbledon debut in place of Rod McDonald.
Despite being without Marcus Maddison, who was left completely out of the squad as he seeks another club, Peterborough still had plenty of attacking threat in the forms of Mohamed Eisa and Ivan Toney. The former had the ball in the net a few minutes in, but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside. However, Wimbledon kept a good defensive shape with Sorensen fitting in well on the left of three centre backs. Sorensen quickly showed that he was up for the fight in a Dons shirt as he stood up to the challenge of Peterborough dangerman Toney.
Though Peterborough had the majority of possession in the first half hour, the better chances were created by Wimbledon. There was a good opportunity for the hosts in the 18th minute when Pinnock found space down the left and delivered a sublime cross to the back post that picked out Shane McLoughlin, who volleyed into the side netting with plenty of supporters thinking it had gone in. It was certainly a positive sign that Wimbledon could hurt the visitors. As the first-half progressed, Wimbledon started to gain the upper hand. Max Sanders, Callum Reilly, and Anthony Hartigan all enjoyed getting on the ball to get attacks underway. Indeed, Hartigan came close to making the breakthrough with a powerful drive from 25 yards that was well saved by Peterborough keeper Christy Pym.
There was a blow for Wimbledon in the 39th minute with Max Sanders having to go off injured and he was replaced by Anthony Wordsworth, who was thrust into his first match for two-and-half months earlier than expected. Wimbledon ended the first-half on top and an opening goal so nearly came just a couple of minutes before the break. Pinnock, who had been very impressive in the first-half, cut inside from the right and struck a lovely curler that Pym did well to tip wide. Wimbledon could be well pleased with the first-half performance as Peterborough had barely threatened and the hosts had fashioned the best chances.
Wimbledon started the second-half on the front foot with Pigott leading the line well. He did very well to earn a corner that almost earned the breakthrough for his side. Callum Reilly’s fine delivery to the near post was met by Sorensen, who directed a powerful header on target, but Pym made a superb save. It was so close to a debut goal for Sorensen, who had produced an impressive debut. A fine Wimbledon move almost produced the opening goal when Luke O’Neill’s fine cross picked out Pigott, who turned smartly before unleashing a shot that Pym did very well to hold. However, there was no reprieve for the visitors in the 58th minute, as Wimbledon deservedly earned the lead. Nesta Guinness-Walker popped up on the right side and delivered a ball in that picked out Pigott, who struck a clinical low drive to finally beat Pym.
It was a lead that Wimbledon had certainly warranted on the balance of chances created. However, the goal produced a stirring response from the visitors and they almost equalised seconds later. Trott was required to make a fingertip save to stop Toney’s looping header. Shortly afterwards, Wimbledon just about survived an equaliser in a goalmouth incident that required Luke O’Neill to receive treatment. Trott just about won a race to reach the ball first with Toney, but his clearance rebounded off the Peterborough striker and towards goal. However, a combination of a post and O’Neill, stopped the ball from crossing the line and Toney shot wide from close-range. It was all Peterborough after this as Wimbledon’s defending became a bit last-ditch.
A mixture of good defending and profligacy in front of goal from the visitors kept the score at 1-0. Szmodics had two great chances, but he shot wide with both and Trott did well to stop a shot by Toney from finding the net. Toney also headed wide with five minutes left as Wimbledon clung onto the slender lead. In a frantic finale, Peterborough peppered the Wimbledon box, but they were unable to strike a late equaliser. A first win in 2020 had certainly been hard-fought and it could be a very important victory in the battle to stay up.
AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Trott, Luke O’Neill, Mads Bech Sorensen, Terell Thomas, Anthony Hartigan, Mitch Pinnock, Nesta Guinness-Walker (Paul Osew), Shane McLoughlin, Max Sanders (Anthony Wordsworth), Callum Reilly, Joe Pigott.
Pic credit: Matt Redman, Pro Sports Images