Wimbledon strike three at Woking
Wimbledon made it two wins in five days with a pre-season performance that offered plenty of encouragement for when the real action starts in just 14 days.
Matt Tubbs struck his second goal in three games to give another demonstration of his finishing prowess with fellow new boy Sean Rigg and Chris Arthur also on target in a 3-1 win at Woking that came in front of 960 spectators.
With just two fixtures remaining until Wimbledon’s 2014/15 opener against Shrewsbury, Neal Ardley selected a strong starting 11 at Woking. There was a significant inclusion at the back with Mark Phillips making his Dons bow at centre-back and he offered an assured presence in the opening exchanges.
Wimbledon came out of the blocks swiftly and they came so close to scoring with just over a minute on the clock. Bayo Akinfenwa shrugged off his marker to reach a long ball first and his subsequent lob was just over the crossbar. Conference National side Woking offered a decent response and Andy Frampton had to be alert to turn a cross behind for a corner.
and it was a goal of real quality too. In a move that Neal Ardley will hope is a sign of things to come, Harry Pell picked out Akinfenwa, who found George Francomb marauding down the right wing and his cross was well finished off by Tubbs. minutethHowever, Matt Tubbs was celebrating a goal for the second successive Saturday in the 16
As the first-half wore on, Wimbledon really started to spray the ball around effectively and Akinfenwa came so close to getting on the end of a cross from the left by Andy Frampton after good work from Jack Smith.
The goal and Wimbledon’s subsequent domination of possession meant that Woking struggled to make any impression until just before half-time. Woking striker Scott Rendall was quick to get on the end of a flick-on and he produced a fierce drive that Shea appeared to get a hand to, but referee Lee Collins pointed for a goal-kick.
Wimbledon earned a second goal that their first-half play perhaps deserved on the stroke of half-time. Barry Fuller sent over a cross that appeared harmless enough, but a defensive mix-up presented Sean Rigg with a great opportunity and he finished emphatically with a lovely curler into the bottom corner. Though it was poor from a Woking perspective, it was a finish of some quality from Rigg and it offered another promising sign for next season.
The second-half followed a similar pattern to the first 45 minutes with Wimbledon controlling possession and they had two good chances to extend their advantage before the hour mark. First, Tubbs was denied by Woking goalkeeper Jake Cole after a good move involving Francomb and Barry Fuller. Then Dannie Bulman struck a post from close range with Cole well beaten.
Neal Ardley, unsurprisingly, decided to bring Mark Phillips off after an hour as it was his first run-out this pre-season. Sammy Moore was the man to replace him with Harry Pell switching to an unfamiliar central defensive role. Ross Worner was also given game-time back at his former club in place of James Shea. However, Worner was picking the ball out of the net just a couple of minutes later when he was beaten by a superb volley from Scott Rendall, despite getting a hand to it.
Wimbledon made three more changes with 20 minutes to play with Jack Smith, Akinfenwa and Francomb all withdrawn and Callum Kennedy, Chris Arthur and Kevin Sainte-Luce all entering the fray.
Sainte-Luce breathed new life into the game with his enterprising runs down the right side and Wimbledon were able to add a further goal when a powerful 20-yard drive from Arthur found the back of the net.
The squad head off to Spain on Monday for a three-day training camp on the back of another display which showed they are developing a winning mentality that Neal Ardley had called for after Chelsea.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea (Ross Worner), Barry Fuller, Mark Phillips (Sammy Moore), Andy Frampton, Jack Smith (Callum Kennedy), George Francomb (Kevin Sainte-Luce), Harry Pell, Dannie Bulman, Sean Rigg, Adebayo Akinfenwa (Chris Arthur), Matt Tubbs.