Boxing Day blues for Dons
AFC Wimbledon endured a Boxing Day to forget in Essex today with defeat by three goals compounded by Lyle Taylor’s sending off.
Southend marched into a two-goal lead by half-time through goals from Simon Cox and Will Atkinson, before Cox made it 3-0 with seven minutes to play.
Taylor’s dismissal for a second yellow card came with 18 minutes to play after a late challenge on Anton Ferdinand.
It all provided no Christmas cheer for the 646 travelling Dons who made the trip to Roots Hall.
Neal Ardley decided to select an unchanged starting line-up after the impressive victory against Port Vale last Saturday. Though Jon Meades was deemed fit enough to return to the squad, Sean Kelly retained his place at left-back.
Wimbledon had a great chance to take the lead in just the fifth minute when Dominic Poleon powered clean through, but his shot was too close to Southend goalkeeper Ted Smith, who saved well with his feet. However, that was far from a sign of what was to come in the first-half as Southend dominated.
minute as the Dons conceded a goal that was poor from a defensive perspective. A long throw-in from Ryan Leonard somehow found its way towards the far post and Simon Cox needed no second invitation to find the back of the net with an emphatic finish that left James Shea with no chance. It so nearly got worse for Wimbledon when Marc-Antoine Fortune created havoc with a powerful run and Cox cracked against the crossbar.thIn a bright start from the hosts, a well-worked move ended with a shooting chance for Stephen McLaughlin, but he drove wide. However, there was no reprieve for Wimbledon in the 10
A hint of a chance did come when Jake Reeves and Barry Fuller linked up down the right, but no one was able to get on the end of the subsequent cross from the Wimbledon captain. It was all Southend as Wimbledon struggled to get a hold of possession. The chances continued to come for the hosts with Jason Demetriou striking a shot straight at Shea, before Will Atkinson struck just wide. Wimbledon at least started to get on the ball a bit by the half hour mark, but Southend’s defending, spearheaded by Anton Ferdinand, offered little encouragement.
minute when Southend doubled their advantage with another goal of real simplicity. Fortune was allowed to gain possession after a lapse from Lyle Taylor and the ball was worked to Atkinson, who slotted home with the minimum of fuss. It had been a half to forget for Wimbledon and a big turnaround was required after the break if Wimbledon were to get anything out of it.thThe Dons had a mountain to climb in the 40
Unsurprisingly, Neal Ardley made a double change at half-time and it certainly had the desired effect as Wimbledon showed more attacking threat in the first five minutes of the second-half than in the whole of the previous 45 minutes. Dannie Bulman sent over a lovely cross that picked out Elliott, who rose superbly to direct a header towards the top corner, but Smith saved brilliantly. Then Sean Kelly put over a good cross that Barnett headed just wide as pressure started to build.
Though still 2-0 down with an hour on the clock, there had been a definite change in this game as Wimbledon poured forward and Southend settled for seeing out the game. Barnett had a decent chance from an acute angle, but he volleyed into the side netting and then good work by Jake Reeves eventually led to an opportunity for Taylor, but his well struck effort was just wide.
minute when referee Lee Collins adjudged that Lyle Taylor’s late challenge on Anton Ferdinand was worthy of a second booking. Collins also decided to send Neal Ardley up to the stands as things got worse for Wimbledon in Essex.ndHowever, any chance Wimbledon had of getting back into it effectively ended in the 72
Despite the sending off, Wimbledon continued to go forward, but the Dons were picked off on the break and a long ball found Cox, who lobbed Shea superbly. It rounded off a tough afternoon at Southend for the Dons and they will be aiming to bounce back with a better away performance at Bristol Rovers on New Year’s Eve.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Dannie Bulman, Paul Robinson, George Francomb (Andy Barcham), Jake Reeves, Tom Elliott, Dominic Poleon (Tyrone Barnett), Sean Kelly, Lyle Taylor, Chris Robertson.