Adam Roscrow bagged his first Wimbledon goal in style to spark an impressive victory in the EFL Trophy tonight.
A 1-0 half-time deficit was quickly eradicated in the second-half with Roscrow’s first goal in a competitive game for Wimbledon, before a powerful header by Terell Thomas secured a 2-1 win. It was a highly impressive display by Wimbledon on the night as the Dons dominated for long spells. The manner of victory certainly augers well for the coming season with new signings integrating into a side that promised plenty in the opening game of 2020/21.
Glyn Hodges handed full competitive debuts to a trio of new signings with Connal Trueman, Ethan Chislett, and Ryan Longman all in the starting 11. Two former Dons were in the Charlton starting line-up with Deji Oshilaja and Ben Purrington both in opposition. Playing in a virtually empty Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium – only club directors and media were in the stands – the Dons made a bold start. On-loan Brighton forward Longman was left in space outside the area and he needed no second invitation to try his luck with a shot that was well saved by Charlton keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
Before we had reached the 10th minute, Wimbledon fashioned a really good chance when a move down the right ended with Adam Roscrow striking an angled drive that flashed wide of the far post. The Dons had controlled possession in the early stages with Ethan Chislett and Shane McLoughlin both seeing plenty of the ball in midfield. There was a half chance for Callum Reilly in the 13th minute, but his shot was too close to Maynard-Brewer.
With Wimbledon having started so well, Charlton taking the lead in the 22nd minute came completely against the run of play. Erhun Oztumer, who scored the first League One goal against Wimbledon in 2016 for Walsall, was awarded a free-kick after a challenge on him by Anthony Hartigan. Slightly right of centre and 20 yards out seemed to be ideal for diminutive midfielder Oztumer, who has made a reputation as a set-piece specialist. It was therefore no surprise when he found the back of the net, but it was nevertheless a superb strike into the top corner as Trueman was left with no chance.
The Dons responded well to the setback of falling behind and a lovely move so nearly earned the equaliser. McLoughlin, who showed great energy to get up and down the flank throughout, found space down the right and beat his marker with a smart turn of pace, before his cross picked out Roscrow, but he shot just over the crossbar. Ethan Chislett was enjoying an impressive first-half to his Wimbledon career, the attacking midfielder continually finding space in front of the Charlton defence to start moves. It was his movement that almost fashioned the equaliser when he found Longman in space in behind and his cross picked out McLoughlin, who met the ball with a powerful header, but it was well saved by Maynard-Brewer.
A 1-0 half-time deficit was certainly undeserved for Wimbledon after a first 45 minutes that the Dons had controlled in spells, but there wasn’t long to wait for an equaliser. It came just 12 seconds in and it was a lovely goal too. McLoughlin intercepted a loose pass from kick-off, before darting down the right, and his cross was perfect for Longman, who showed good composure to pick out Roscrow and his finish was clinical, leaving Maynard-Brewer with no chance. It was a fine way for the Welshman to register his first Wimbledon goal in a competitive match and the celebrations with his team-mates afterwards showed what it meant to him.
After restoring parity there was no let-up from Wimbledon and Osew had a shot that was palmed away by Maynard-Brewer. A deserved lead was earned in the 58th minute with a goal that was praiseworthy for different reasons. This time it was sheer power that proved effective as Terell Thomas met Anthony Hartigan’s corner with a soaring header that was past Maynard-Brewer before he could move. Seconds later and Wimbledon had the ball in the net again through Roscrow after Osew had headed across the face of goal, but the flag was up for offside.
With 25 minutes remaining, Glyn Hodges made a double change with Joe Pigott and Archie Procter replacing Ryan Longman and Paul Kalambayi. It was a significant moment for 18-year-old centre-back Procter as he came on for his Dons debut. With 18 minutes left, Maynard-Brewer was called into action again as he reacted well at his near post to push out Hartigan’s well delivered free-kick. At the other end, Ben Dempsey’s shot was deflected over, but Charlton didn’t cause Wimbledon too many problems in the second-half and victory was fully merited on the night. The points were fully deserved in this first EFL Trophy group match and it certainly offers plenty of encouragement for the season ahead with Oxford United up next in the Carabao Cup on Saturday.
AFC Wimbledon: Connal Trueman, Will Nightingale, Terell Thomas, Anthony Hartigan, Adam Roscrow, Ethan Chislett, Shane McLoughlin, Ryan Longman (Joe Pigott), Paul Kalambayi (Archie Procter), Callum Reilly (Adam Woodyard), Paul Osew.