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Kick off 12:00 (UK)

07 September 2019 Venue Stadium mk Attendance

Kick off 12:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Wally urges young squad to ‘embrace’ the occasion

Team news from the manager ahead of away match

6 September 2019

Wally Downes will have almost a full squad to choose from for our away game on Saturday with new signings all in contention to be involved.

AFC Wimbledon will be without Nathan Trott due to his England Under-21 call-up, but loan signings Ryan Delaney, Marcus Forss, and Max Sanders are all vying to make their debuts at Milton Keynes Dons.

“They are all in contention, definitely,” said Wally. “They have trained well and they all have different attributes, so they may all play a part at some stage. We put them through a running session before the Brighton game, so that was a bit of a shock to the system to just come straight in and do a physical, but they got on with it well. They enjoyed yesterday’s session and they all showed different attributes that they’ve got in different periods of time.

“Everybody is fit and raring to go. We just have Rod McDonald and young Archie out. We are spoilt for choice at the moment. Trotts is away for a period now, but he will be back soon, and as long as Nik (Tzanev) steps in and does well when he’s required, then all power to him. He’s definitely my goalkeeper for the future and the more experience we can get into him the better.”

Of course, Wimbledon faced Saturday’s opponents just last month in a match that ended in a 2-2 draw at the end of normal time. Wally has urged his players to rise to the occasion in front of the Sky Sports TV cameras on Saturday.

“It was good to get a look at how they play and have a bit of video evidence of it, but we had a different side out, we were trying one or two different things, and our shape will be different when we play them on Saturday.

“It’s a given week in and week out that we are very competitive. We have a never say die attitude. This (match) carries a lot more weight, it’s live on Sky, and these are the sort of games that a young and competitive team like ours should be really embracing. It’s a chance to play in front of the nation, to enjoy the atmosphere and, whatever the result, we come away from it feeling in a positive mood and having learned something from the game.

“It’s going to be a good place to go and get the three points. We look to get three points every time we play. We’ve been competitive and unfortunate not to do it this season, but going forward it’s a great opportunity for us to go and put all the good bits of our performances together and come away with a win. There’s nothing better than a clean sheet and a win.”

You can take a look at the full video interview with Wally below.

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Match Reports

Debut goal from Forss is not enough to earn a point

Fightback comes too late to earn a share of the spoils

7 September 2019

A debut goal from Marcus Forss was not enough for Wimbledon to salvage a point today.

Milton Keynes Dons just held on for a 2-1 victory with Wimbledon failing to turn around a 2-0 half-time deficit. A fine header from Forss had provided hope, but in the end Wally’s men had left themselves with too much to do after a disappointing first-half display. A total of 560 travelling Wimbledon supporters watched their team just come up short and the search goes on for a first victory this season.

Wally Downes made two changes to the side that started our last league game versus Wycombe Wanderers. Joe McDonnell was given the nod to replace Nathan Trott, who was away on England Under-21 duty, and Ryan Delaney came straight in for his debut in place of Anthony Hartigan. That meant Will Nightingale reverted to a midfield role as part of a 3-5-2. McDonnell’s previous appearance at the venue was a positive one as he kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw in January 2018.

The home side came out of the traps with real attacking intent and the opening goal followed in the 10th minute. It was a very disappointing goal from a Wimbledon perspective, the hosts cutting right through the middle to strike the first. Conor McGrandles slipped a pass through that picked out Sam Nombe, who held off the challenge of Paul Kalambayi, before finishing clinically past McDonnell. Wimbledon responded by winning a couple of corners, but it proved difficult to conjure up a response against a well-drilled home defence.

By the midway point of the first-half, the goal had come from the only chance created so far. However, the hosts scored through their next meaningful chance and it was another goal scored through the middle. Though it was a good goal from the home side’s perspective with Rhys Healey showing fine skill and a nice low finish past McDonnell, it was a poor one to concede as he was allowed to stride through unchallenged. Wimbledon had an immediate chance to restore parity through Joe Pigott, but his header was straight into the arms of home goalkeeper Lee Nicholls. With Wimbledon starting to come into it, Pigott found space just outside the area and his well struck volley was just over the crossbar.

The best chance for Wimbledon came 10 minutes before half-time when a cross from Kalambayi was deflected into the path of Appiah, but his header was straight at Nicholls. Half-time came with Wimbledon still 2-0 down and facing a difficult task to get back into this game. The manager responded by making a double change at the break. Midfielder Max Sanders came on for his debut in place of Scott Wagstaff and Michael Folivi replaced Terell Thomas. Committing more men forward created chances for Wimbledon, but that clinical edge was proving to be elusive. Appiah had a goal-bound shot blocked, before Kalambayi had an acrobatic attempt cleared off the line after a Luke O’Neill free-kick had only been half cleared. Appiah also shot over from the subsequent corner.

With the hosts appearing to settle for what they had, it was up to Wimbledon to force a way back into the game. That so nearly came in the 67th minute when Appiah slipped a pass through for Folivi, but he was forced a little wide and Nicholls did well to save at his near post. Following that chance, it was proving difficult to fashion more chances as the hosts maintained a good defensive shape. With 12 minutes remaining, Marcus Forss was introduced for his debut in place of Appiah. That turned out to be pivotal with Forss having an immediate impact. Callum Reilly sent in a cross that picked out Forss and he made no mistake with a clinical header.

Wimbledon did put pressure on during the latter stages, but an equaliser just wouldn’t come. The closest Wimbledon came was when Kalambayi headed agonisingly wide during four minutes of injury-time.

AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Luke O’Neill, Will Nightingale, Terell Thomas (Michael Folivi), Scott Wagstaff (Max Sanders), Kwesi Appiah (Marcus Forss), Nesta Guinness-Walker, Ryan Delaney, Paul Kalambayi, Callum Reilly, Joe Pigott.

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