Poleon goal earns victory at Scunthorpe
AFC Wimbledon earned a first League One away victory since October in stunning style tonight by beating automatic promotion contenders Scunthorpe United.
Goals from Dean Parrett and Dominic Poleon put Neal Ardley’s men 2-0 up at Glanford Park and the hosts were only able to muster a Josh Morris free-kick in response.
The 2-1 victory for Wimbledon was a tribute to a brilliant defensive display on the night, everyone who played working tirelessly to defy Graham Alexander’s side.
Neal Ardley made three changes to his starting line-up after the narrow victory against Walsall on Saturday. Away to one of the promotion favourites, it was a completely different test at Glanford Park and the manager’s team selection reflected that. As part of a 3-5-2 formation, Will Nightingale came back into the side in place of Sean Kelly, the young defender joining Darius Charles and Paul Robinson as part of a back three. Dominic Poleon partnered Lyle Taylor up front with Tom Elliott having to settle for a place on the bench and Dean Parrett returned instead of Dannie Bulman.
Wimbledon started well at Glanford Park, the system working effectively to nullify Scunthorpe and establishing a good share of possession. Parrett had a good sight of goal in just the third minute, but he blazed over the crossbar and then Lyle Taylor had a goal-bound shot blocked against his old club. At the other end, Scunthorpe struggled to build any attacking momentum with Nightingale and Charles making good last-ditch clearances when required.
By the half hour mark, Scunthorpe had offered nothing as an attacking force with Wimbledon defending well and showing moments of promise when going forward. Tom Soares was seeing plenty of the ball in the centre of the park, showing good vision in spreading the play, and Andy Barcham was offering a useful outlet on the left against his former club. Soares was having arguably his best half so far, dictating matters in the centre of the park by breaking up Scunthorpe attacks and looking good on the ball in possession. Just before the break, Scunthorpe finally created a hint of a chance with Craig Davies getting the end of a cross, but heading wide.
In first-half injury-time, Wimbledon almost fashioned a good chance when a good move ending with Parrett finding space on the left, but his cross just failed to reach Poleon. The Dons had offered steely resistance at the back with Nightingale, Robinson and Charles performing with great credit at the back. As the half-time whistle sounded, it had been a job well done so far as Wimbledon combined solid defending with a threat on the break at times.
Almost immediately after the restart, Wimbledon had a half chance when Parrett swung in a corner that Charles met, but his header flashed over the crossbar. Though Scunthorpe continued to press forward, Wimbledon defended resolutely and it was no real surprise when Neal Ardley’s men grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck. Following a quick breakaway after a Scunthorpe attack, Poleon showed superb skill to beat his marker on the left, before crossing well for Parrett, who just got there before Murray Wallace to turn it home. It was a great platform to build on for Wimbledon as Neal Ardley’s men deservedly marched into a 1-0 lead on the hour. Neal Ardley made a change immediately with Tom Elliott entering the fray for Taylor.
Scunthorpe attempted to hit back through a shot from Stephen Dawson just wide, but Wimbledon still looked comfortable in defence and it was 2-0 in stunning style 21 minutes from time. Jake Reeves picked out Poleon and he looked up and struck a superb effort from 20 yards that flashed past Luke Daniels, the Scunthorpe keeper left with no chance.
It seemed that Wimbledon were cruising to victory, but Josh Morris changed all that by striking a free-kick that deflected in off the wall. However, Scunthorpe struggled to build sustained pressure as Wimbledon held firm and the final whistle signalled a job well done from Neal Ardley’s men. It had been an excellent away display, certainly rivalling those impressive wins on the road in October, and the victory promises to breathe new life into Wimbledon’s season.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Will Nightingale, Paul Robinson, George Francomb (David Fitzpatrick), Jake Reeves, Dominic Poleon (Dannie Bulman), Tom Soares, Andy Barcham, Dean Parrett, Darius Charles, Lyle Taylor (Tom Elliott).
Pic credit: Simon Davies, Pro Sports Images.