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Season Countdown: Paul’s goal lifted the Dons out of drop zone

An important month on and off the pitch for Wimbledon

8 September 2020

As part of our countdown to the new League One season, we today recall a match that ended with three precious points in the battle to avoid dropping down to non league.

19. Rochdale

The Dons have generally done well against Rochdale during a rivalry that now stretches back more than four decades. Here we recall a game early in Neal Ardley’s time at the club when the Dons had to dig deep for victory.

Saturday 5th January 2013: League Two

Rochdale (0) 0

AFC Wimbledon (0) 1 McCallum 56

Recording back-to-back league wins for the first time that season, Paul McCallum’s side footed goal early in the second half at Rochdale was enough for the Dons to move out of the League Two relegation zone. After victory with a last minute goal at Torquay the previous Tuesday, supporters were hoping their side would enjoy a happier 2013, but the outside view of the Wimbledon team at Spotland was reflected in the post-match comments of the home manager.

“It was one of my worst games in football,” John Coleman said. “We have let in a stupid goal and had a man sent off for two silly challenges. No disrespect to Wimbledon, but that team has conceded 46 goals and were bottom of the league and we tested their goalkeeper just once. It does not add up.”

Just three months into his new job, manager Neal Ardley knew he needed reinforcements if relegation was to be avoided. “I was knocking on doors, calling in favours for the whole month, but no one wanted to come as players did not want a relegation on their CV,” Neal said recently, as he recalled that January. “We needed captains, people who were mentally strong. I was trying to get in both Alan Bennett and Gary Alexander, but at about 6pm on deadline day both deals seemingly went dead. By midnight we had signed both and their contribution was crucial to our eventual survival.”

AFC Wimbledon: Sullivan, Osano, Cummings (Midson 46), Mitchell-King, Antwi, Meades, Long, Yussuff, Ajala (Kiernan 89), L Moore, McCullum (Prior 69).

The picture above shows Mat Michel-King clearing the ball at Spotland.

Dons v Dale (1977 to 2019)

Season

Comp

H

A

1977-78

Div 4

5-1

0-3

1978-79

Div 4

3-2

0-0

1980-81

Div 4

4-1

0-2

1982-83

Div 4

3-0

2-0

1987-88

FL Cup 2

2-1

1-1

2012-13

Lge 2

1-2

1-0

2013-14

Lge 2

0-3

2-1

2016-17

Lge 1

3-1

1-1

2917-18

Lge 1

0-0

1-1

2018-19

Lge 1

1-1

4-3

2019-20

Lge1

3-2

 

Total W11 D6 L4

This series is written by Stephen Crabtree, the editor of the Historical Don. To sample a copy contact him at stephecrab@aol.com .

 

 


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