Former players make it a tough start for Dons
Wimbledon’s pre-season programme got off to a difficult start today with former Dons coming back to haunt them.
Brett Johnson and Luke Moore were on the score sheet for Margate as Terry Brown engineered a 3-0 win against his old club.
Though Neal Ardley’s men were much improved after the break with Chris Arthur making a good impression, their resurgence came too late. The main positive on the day was that all of Wimbledon’s new signings got game-time , apart from Mark Phillips, who did not feature due to an abscess, and they showed signs of improving the Dons for when the real action begins.
New signings Bayo Akinfenwa, Jack Smith and Sean Rigg all started for the Dons and trialist Matthew Parsons was also handed a chance to impress at centre-back. With Terry Brown and Stuart Cash in charge at Margate, it was no surprise to see four former Dons in the starting line-up with Brett Johnson, Lewis Taylor, Jason Prior and Luke Moore starting and Jamie Stuart on in the second-half.
Though Wimbledon had plenty of possession in the first-half, they struggled to create clear-cut chances and Ryan Moss had a great opportunity to open the scoring for Margate but he headed wide from close-range.
Wimbledon started to put a few decent passing moves together as the first-half wore on with Jake Nicholson and Harry Pell both getting on the ball in midfield. Pell tried his luck from long-range, but it was comfortably wide and the Dons had offered little as an attacking force before half-time.
minute. Only former Crawley Town full-back Sam Rents himself will know if he meant it, but his delivery from the left found the top corner with Ross Worner stranded.rd With Terry Brown having strengthened substantially during the summer by recruiting plenty of players with league experience, Margate were more than a match for Wimbledon and they took the lead in the 43
The Dons perhaps needed half-time to come quickly to reorganise, but with five minutes of injury-time to play at the end of the first-half due to Margate’s Mitchell Nelson having been stretchered off in the first-half, it got worse for Wimbledon. Pell was caught in possession in his own area by Johnson and the former Dons defender had an easy task to slot home a second goal for Margate.
minute and it was another of Wimbledon’s promotion heroes who did the damage. Luke Moore cut inside and unleashed a powerful drive that Shea was just unable to keep out of the net after getting a hand to it.rdWimbledon made 10 changes at half-time with new signings Adebayo Azeez, Dannie Bulman, James Shea and Matt Tubbs all among those to be introduced. Wimbledon’s second-half team almost made an instant impression when Chris Arthur sent over a lovely cross that Sammy Moore headed just over the crossbar. However, the Dons were 3-0 down in the 53
The Dons had their best spell of the match so far midway through the second half as they finally began to put pressure on Margate. Sammy Moore shot just over after good work from substitute Azeez. Then Tubbs showed what he’s all about with a lovely turn inside before unleashing a powerful drive that flashed just over. Arthur also tried his luck with a long-range shot that Margate goalkeeper Nikki Bull did well to hold. Will Nightingale, who produced an assured second-half display alongside Andy Frampton, even had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside (picture above by Paul Willatts) and it was clearly not going to be Wimbledon's day.
Late pressure failed to yield any reward for Wimbledon and they will hope to regroup and have a good week in training to prepare for a particularly tough test against Chelsea next Saturday.
AFC Wimbledon: Ross Worner (James Shea), Tom Beere (Barry Fuller), Matt Parsons, Jack Smith (Chris Arthur), Jake Nicholson (Dannie Bulman), Harry Pell (Sammy Moore), George Francomb (Kevin Sainte-Luce), Sean Rigg (Adebayo Azeez), Chace Jacquart (Will Nightingale), Adebayo Akinfenwa (Matt Tubbs), Alan Bennett (Andy Frampton).