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Match Reports

Dons suffer first league defeat of 2020/21

Ryan Longman had given Wimbledon the lead

3 October 2020

AFC Wimbledon were beaten for the first time this season in regulation time after Ryan Longman had put the Dons in front.

It all looked so good when Longman fired home in the 18th minute, but Accrington turned the match on its head before the break with two quick-fire goals and it ended in a 2-1 victory for John Coleman's men. Defeat was harsh on Wimbledon, but the visitors simply displayed more efficiency in front of goal to earn the points. Having only been beaten so far on penalties at Oxford, it was Wimbledon's first defeat in 90 minutes this season.

With the Dons having played so well in victory at Fleetwood, it was no surprise that Glyn Hodges selected an unchanged starting line-up for this match. Wimbledon came into this game aiming for a second successive league victory against an Accrington side that had not managed to build on their opening day win versus Peterborough.

Full of confidence after that impressive win on the Fylde Coast, the Dons started brightly. A fine move involving Steve Seddon and Jaakko Oksanen on the left ended with Luke O’Neill picked out in a central area and he struck a powerful effort in the 10th minute that was well saved by the keeper. The Dons established decent possession early on, but the visitors looked dangerous when they broke out of defence. Paul Kalambayi showed good defensive awareness to stop Accrington from finding a way through in the 15th minute. When Accrington did find a way in on goal, Connal Trueman stayed alert. The on-loan Birmingham City keeper, who had played so well to earn a clean sheet against Fleetwood, was forced into a good save to turn away Matt Butcher’s shot from outside the area.

The Dons marched into the lead in the 18th minute with the flourishing partnership of Joe Pigott and Ryan Longman clicking into gear. Following a fine Dons move, Pigott’s superbly struck shot crashed against a post, and Longman followed up sharply to put Wimbledon in front. It had been a very promising start for the Dons, but building on the platform provided was no easy task. A good response followed by Accrington with the visitors gradually working their way back into the match. Joe Pritchard struck a shot off target as the men from Lancashire attempted to work up a head of steam.

As we reached the latter stages of the first-half it needed Trueman to stay alert to keep Wimbledon in front, the keeper coming off his line well to stop Ryan Cassidy in his tracks after he had got in behind. However, there was not much that Trueman could do to stop Accrington equalising in the 41st minute. The Dons failed to deal with a routine free-kick from the right with a chance to clear it missed and Ross Sykes struck an emphatic effort into the roof of the net. The visitors grabbed the initiative before the break when Matt Butcher was allowed time to try his luck from outside the box and his fine effort left Trueman with no chance.

On the balance of play, a half-time deficit was harsh on Wimbledon, but Accrington had been ruthless in snatching the lead, pouncing on any opportunities they were given. The Dons could take encouragement from showing plenty of fluency in attack and more of that was going to be needed in the second-half to get back into this game.

The second-half opened with a good response from Wimbledon. Longman, who was a constant threat throughout, caused havoc in the box and Callum Reilly latched onto a loose ball, before striking a shot that was well saved by Toby Savin. Seddon’s subsequent shot from the follow-up flashed over the crossbar, but it was an early signal of intent from the Dons. Seddon also struck wide before the hour, as Wimbledon’s wing backs started to get further forward, McLoughlin doing the same on the other side. A fine cross by Seddon then almost picked out Pigott, but an Accrington defender got there first.

Glyn Hodges made a change with 14 minutes remaining as Ethan Chislett was introduced for the injured Terell Thomas. It almost earned reward immediately as Chislett came close to latching onto a Joe Pigott flick, but keeper Savin just got there before him. Wimbledon came even closer when Shane McLoughlin cracked an angled drive against a post, an effort that really did deserve a goal, and Longman struck the rebound wide.

Though Wimbledon had dominated in the possession stakes after the break, it had not been easy to fashion chances against a well-drilled Accrington defence. Despite pressing forward in the final stages, Accrington held firm and now the Dons will need to bounce back, starting with an EFL Trophy match at Leyton Orient on Tuesday night.

AFC Wimbledon: Connal Trueman, Luke O’Neill, Alex Woodyard, Terell Thomas (Ethan Chislett), Jaakko Oksanen (Anthony Hartigan), Shane McLoughlin, Ryan Longman, Paul Kalambayi, Callum Reilly, Joe Pigott, Steve Seddon.

 


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