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Match Reports

Clinical Dons earn deserved win at Accrington

Goals by McCormick and Assal continue our fine recent run

7 December 2021

AFC Wimbledon made it four matches unbeaten in style tonight with an impressive 2-0 victory at Accrington.

On a night that wasn't really conducive to good football with swirling wind and rain at the Wham Stadium, the Dons made light of the conditions, scoring two fine goals in the second-half. Though chances were at a premium on the night, Wimbledon were clinical when the chances materialised with Luke McCormick and Ayoub Assal both taking their chances superbly. The 2-0 victory was fully deserved and that now makes it four matches unbeaten for Robbo's boys. The 189 travelling Dons got exactly what they deserved too for making the long trip on a Tuesday night.

Mark Robinson selected an unchanged starting line-up after the Emirates FA Cup victory versus Cheltenham with Ollie Palmer deemed fit after a scan revealed no damage to his quad. There was a familiar face in opposition with Harry Pell, who had a two-year spell with the Dons, facing us for the first time since his departure in 2015. The hosts came into this match on the back of two successive victories, but the Dons had won two out of the last three in all competitions. With six points separating the two sides and the Dons having played two games less, it suggested that it was going to be a closely matched affair at the Wham Stadium.

The Dons fashioned the first hint of a chance in the ninth minute when Jack Rudoni found space on the left and sent over a cross that Palmer was just unable to get on the end of. In a first 20 minutes when Wimbledon defended well to stop Accrington gaining any momentum, there was a chance for us when Luke McCormick got in behind, but he delayed the chance to shoot, and his flick into the box failed to find anyone in yellow. McCormick was certainly showing plenty of sharpness in attack with his runs in behind and the offside flag just intervened before he could get on the end of a lovely ball by Nesta Guinness-Walker.

In the blustery conditions at Accrington, Wimbledon were certainly the better side in the first quarter of this match and there was a great chance for us to take the lead in the 27th minute. Anthony Hartigan delivered a superb corner from the right that Accrington failed to clear and the ball fell nicely for Palmer but he shot over from close-range. In terms of possession it had been fairly even in the first half an hour, but Wimbledon had the better chances. A fine move down the left ended with Palmer and Rudoni combining effectively to set-up Assal, but his goal-bound shot was deflected just wide.

After scoring five here on Saturday, albeit against the 10 men of Fleetwood, Accrington were not allowed to find any attacking flow by a Dons side that were resolute in the first-half. The home side’s only real chance came in the 40th minute when a free-kick from the right picked out Harvey Rodgers in the box, but he headed wide from close-range. However, the Dons responded by going on the offensive and Ben Heneghan had a goal-bound shot blocked. Though it had been a first-half of few chances, the Dons had squandered two or three really good opportunities to take the lead and the half-time score of 0-0 perhaps felt like a missed opportunity.

There was an early chance for the Dons after the restart with the ball falling nicely for Jack Rudoni, but his shot was saved by Accrington keeper Tony Savin. Shooting towards their fans behind the goal, Accrington finally exerted a spell of pressure. With the wind behind them, Accrington forced Robbo's boys towards their own goal - and a great chance followed. After Nik Tzanev had a made a good save at his near post the ball was crossed back in by Michael Nottingham to find Rodgers at the back post, but he headed wide with the goal gaping.

Though the Dons had largely been forced to defend at the start of the second-half, Heneghan and Dan Csoka stood firm at the heart of our defence. The all-important breakthrough followed in the 58th minute as Wimbledon took the lead in style. Paul Osew sent over a lovely cross from the right that picked out McCormick and he took one touch before striking a superb low finish that left Savin with no chance.

As we approached the midway point of the second-half the Dons were making light of the windy conditions. Far from settling for just a one goal lead, Robbo's boys went on the attack, forcing a succession of corners to stop the hosts building any momentum. The advantage was doubled in the 77th minute when Osew's shot was deflected into the path of Assal, who slotted home clinically. The 189 travelling Dons celebrated wildly as their team closed in on three deserved points. Nik Tzanev made two good saves in the latter stages, but the away victory in Lancashire was achieved with the minimum of fuss as the Dons earned a win that continues our rise up the League One table. 

AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Dan Csoka, Alex Woodyard, Anthony Hartigan, Ollie Palmer, Ayoub Assal, Jack Rudoni, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Luke McCormick, Ben Heneghan, Paul Osew.

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