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Match Reports

Search for a league victory in 2021 goes on after Plough Lane defeat

Wimbledon beaten after two second-half goals

30 January 2021

AFC Wimbledon’s difficult league run continued today with defeat at Plough Lane.

Two goals around the hour mark, the latter heavily deflected, were enough for Milton Keynes Dons to win 2-0 after a first-half when Wimbledon were the better side. Unfortunately, Wimbledon were unable to take the half chances fashioned before the break, and the visitors made the most of their opportunities in the second 45 minutes.

Glyn Hodges made two changes to his starting 11 after the midweek defeat at Doncaster with George Dobson handed an opportunity to make his home debut. Initially, Callum Reilly was the man to make way in the midfield engine room, but an injury in the pre-match warm-up to Alex Woodyard meant that Reilly was drafted into the starting line-up with Paul Osew on the bench. Luke O’Neill was restored to the starting line-up after injury in place of Will Nightingale, who was among the substitutes.

Wimbledon came into this match seeking a first home league win since early December and a good start was made as away keeper Andrew Fisher was forced into a save inside two minutes when he tipped an angled drive from Nesta Guinness-Walker out for a corner. Jack Rudoni attempted to join in the attack as he searched for his first league goal at senior level and he almost mustered it with an angled drive after a corner was only half cleared, but Fisher showed good reflexes to save at his near post.

The visitors offered only occasional threat in the first half hour, their best chance falling to Louis Thompson inside the box, but his shot was deflected just wide. Wimbledon pressed the visitors high, showing plenty of energy to close down their opponents as they attempted to play out from the back. A fine example of this working to good effect came when Guinness-Walker won the ball and Ryan Longman played in Joe Pigott, but his goal-bound shot was blocked. Wimbledon forced several corners in the first-half and O’Neill’s impressive deliveries offered increased threat from set pieces. One of his crosses from the left almost ended in the back of the net when Rudoni diverted the ball goalwards, but it was cleared off the line.

Wimbledon had been the better side in the first-half, but there was a let-off just before the break when a pass back by Darnell Johnson came up short and that provided a chance for Cameron Jerome, but Sam Walker was out well to gather the ball. At the start of the second-half the visitors fashioned a chance for Jerome after a move down their right, but Walker saved fairly comfortably.

As the second-half progressed, the visitors were starting to find gaps in the Wimbledon defence with their passing game clicking into gear and the opening goal followed just before the hour. Jerome found space down the left and his cross picked out Matt O’Riley, who made no mistake from close-range. Less than three minutes later and the advantage was doubled with a goal that came about through a big slice of luck. Substitute Matty Sorinola’s shot from the edge of the area took a deflection, before looping into the air and going in off the far post. After conceding a deflected goal at Doncaster in midweek, it was the last thing that Wimbledon wanted.

Glyn Hodges responded to the double setback by making a treble change with Ethan Chislett, Zach Robinson, and Paul Osew replacing Jack Rudoni, Luke O’Neill, and Nesta Guinness-Walker. Wimbledon definitely needed something different, but it proved tough to turn it around as the visitors defended stoutly. Despite late pressure, Wimbledon were unable to get back into this match, as the search goes on for a first league victory in 2021.

AFC Wimbledon: Sam Walker, Luke O’Neill (Zach Robinson), Daniel Csoka, Callum Reilly, Jack Rudoni (Ethan Chislett), Nesta Guinness-Walker (Paul Osew), Shane McLoughlin, George Dobson, Darnell Johnson, Ryan Longman, Joe Pigott.

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