Tag Archives: League Two

AFC Wimbledon 0 Northampton Town 3 13/9/11 – A Match Report

Ok. Not really sure where to begin this piece right now, so I thought I’d just bumble on for a couple of paragraphs until you’re all ready for the meat of the piece. Hope you’re all ok with this. If you’re a busy person I can only apologise and suggest skipping on a paragraph. I normally try to start the really tricky reports with a joke to lighten the mood, but I’m having difficulty coming up with one right now… would ‘the Wimbledon defence’ be too cruel?

I think the majority of us were expecting a problematic start to the season, so last nights result probably wouldn’t have raised too many eyebrows. I’m not going to jump on any bandwagons right now… there’s no point telling you things need to change defensively, we all know that. To be honest, performances have improved. Last nights effort was better than the Aldershot effort, which in turn was marginally more competent that the Port Vale display, itself light years ahead of the horror show on opening day… The real problem is these are marginal shuffles forward, mere pigeon steps opposed to the giant strides we hoped for.

It means in real terms, six weeks later, we’ve barely moved forward at all. We’re still reliant on the failings of the opposition, for our forwards to outscore them. We’re hoping the same three or four players have a decent shift to see us through while the remainder have a decent ten or fifteen minutes here and there if we’re lucky, or fade out of the game altogether. There have been moments when we’ve threatened to come to life, ten minutes here or there. We had one last night, with Northampton down to ten men where I genuinely thought we would tear them apart, but for all the pressure we put on them we barely created one clear-cut opportunity…

Then, much as they did on Saturday we allowed the opposition shooting opportunities… We can’t plead bad luck when we invite these kind of efforts. Danny Hylton’s effort hit someone’s knee and could have gone anywhere,but why did he get the chance to get a shot away? Seb Brown would stop those two Jacobs efforts 98 times out of 100, last night he made a couple of shocking errors, but once more, there was no pressure on the guy getting his shot away. These type of goals are unfortunate to concede, but there’s no element of luck involved… all of them being entirely preventable.

This on its own means every game is an uphill battle from the first whistle and would be bad enough, should we suffer a genuine slice of misfortune as we did last night the task becomes virtually impossible. I’m going to talk about the penalty, although I believe as supporters simply blaming the official is too easy an excuse for failings – these things normally even themselves out over the course of the season, Seb Brown himself mentioned after the game on his twitter feed it made up for Eastlands (I have no idea what he’s talking about – that was NEVER a penalty either!!!). Fortunately you rarely get such blatant miscarriages of justice, which makes last nights decision even more of a talking point… just what was going through his head that made him think that was a penalty?

Yet the fact is that decision didn’t cost us the game. We had more than enough of the ball to get back into it in the second half, and as TB himself said in his post match interview ‘He got one thing wrong, we got plenty of things wrong…’. Although I do remember Seb Brown getting bodychecked while off the ground that the official should have called – two things wrong – but Terry we get the point…

When the penalty was rolled in I bet there were more than one Dons player thinking ‘here we go again…’. It’s fair to say the Dons were more than a bit shaky for the remainder of the half. Scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa is a personal  League Two favourite of mine… I’ve enjoyed seeing the old park football adage that ‘if the opposition have a fat bloke in their side he’ll more often than not turn out to be their best player’ proved correct at every level we’ve played at, right up to the Football League. But the Dons back four just couldn’t deal with him at times, one on occasion McNaughton just bouncing off him, another where nippy Kieran Djilali was trying to nick the ball off him but was prevented by the sheer distance he had to run just to get around him, being two of my personal highlights.

We’ll never know just how much the early penalty affected the side psychologically, it didn’t overly affect them… they switched off on a couple of occasions, Northampton hit the bar, saw a free header flash wide and a brilliant Seb Brown save prevent them extending their lead, but were passing the ball around confidently enough, and the game seemed to swing in their favour following the red card.

Under the circumstances we’re probably fortunate it was right under the referees nose, he couldn’t fail to spot it. As Sammy Moore nicked the ball away on the stretch, McKoy went in over the top and caught him just above the ankle. Pretty straightforward decision, but still Gary Johnson decided to argue it all the way to the tunnel. Maybe there was a bit of desperation behind it, knowing his side would have to do an awful lot of work in the second half to hold their lead.

It took the arrival of Christian Jolley ten minutes into the half before the Dons really found there stride, a twenty-minute spell where an equalizer seemed destined to come sooner rather than not at all… Northampton, short-handed, didn’t have an answer to the width and pace of Jolley and Djilali – but didn’t get sucked in either. Perhaps a little risky to allow a player like Jolley to get into his stride, on three occasions he threatened to repeat his Port Vale effort, cutting in and leaving his man for dead, only once getting a shot away that troubled the athletes training on the track behind the Tempest more than the Cobblers goal, and frustrating by not getting a decent ball in early on the occasions he didn’t shoot.

But Jolley deserves a bit of credit for being one of the few players willing to try to make something happen – Djilali was the other (you get the impression once his team mates learn his game, he’s going to be a fantastic signing), and special mention to Sammy Hatton, who drifted inside before hitting a left foot shot into the keepers midriff, and Sammy Moore, who shanked over when well placed – but at least these guys were trying to make something happen.

Jack Midson was being well marshalled, but worked hard to find space and create it for others, Luke Moore was linking well, the movement and passing in general around the edge of the box was impressive… but there was no final ball, no one willing to have a pop around the edge of the box. As TB admitted, ‘too much fannying around’. Northampton on the other hand weren’t short of players willing to shoot from distance, one in particular – Michael Jacobs – profited twice through being willing to take a gamble and get an effort on target.

He probably won’t look back on either of them as being the most memorable goals he’s ever scored… sweet strikes the pair of them, but both going straight through Seb Brown. We’ve relied on Seb quite a lot over the last couple of years, I’ve long since lost count of the number of points he’s saved us, its easy to forget he is still so young. He’s earned the right to make a couple of errors – if anything we should be thanking him for making them within five minutes of each other, as the second goal had already effectively killed the game.

I’ve talked quite a lot about the Dons deficiencies, what positives can we take from the game? Firstly, it was a bad result, but lets not allow ourselves to be distracted by the scoreline… worse would have been had we come away from that game with a win – and that was a realistic possibility at one point – which would have masked all sorts of problems. We knew this division was going to be tough, we knew we’d come unstuck more than once, but lets not pretend last night revealed anything we didn’t already know about ourselves.

Personally I’m prepared to draw a line under this one for a few reasons. First, I’d rather support a team who is prepared to throw the sink at the opposition, to take a few risks and accept the opposition might end up running away with it, rather than taking a cautious approach. Secondly, even when three down and the game lost the guys didn’t give up, they never stopped trying to grab a goal back, trying to take a little bit of pride out of a bad situation.

Finally, the Dons support. There have been plenty of stories of people who lost it, who called for Browns head, who left after the third goal went in, but I stayed until the final whistle… as did the vast majority of you. I can think of a few clubs where the stadium would have been half empty come ninety minutes under the same circumstances… Fair enough, we moaned like fuck about the performance on the train home, at work next day, on message boards and blogs, but by staying on and supporting our team until the bitter end, sacrificing missing the early train or beating the traffic, we earned that right.

Either that or Kingsmeadow is a really difficult ground to leave early when almost full?!

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Aldershot Town 1 AFC Wimbledon 1 10/9/11 – A Match Report

This time last week an exasperated Micky Adams was travelling back up to the Potteries, having advised the press post game that AFC Wimbledon had used a bit of luck up and hopefully that will even itself at some point in the future… And lo and behold, seven days after a bit of Jolley magic turned a point into three in stoppage time, the cruel hand of fate (or Gareth Gwillim’s knee…) was there to snatch those two points back from us…

Actually there was a great deal of similarity between last week and this, in that on both occasions we were quite fortunate to come away with the result we did. Are we going to be that side? One that spends most of the game on the back foot, somehow surviving thanks to solid last-ditch defending, just waiting for that spell in the game where we look half decent – which could be five minutes, forty-five, half an hour… or not at all. Is League Two really the sort of division where such a side can finish comfortably in mid-table?

The lowdown, for those of you who weren’t at the Recreation Ground… After a quiet start only memorable for an Aldershot effort that clipped the bar, the Dons took the lead with their first (and only) chance of note… a deep Sam Hatton cross finding Max Porter lurking at the far post, his brilliantly executed header beat the keepers despairing dive and nestled in the far corner. This was on seventeen minutes, and the Dons gradually sat further and further back as the game progressed.

Faced with being allowed to dominate possession, Aldershot proceeded in one of two ways. The first involved hitting a deep cross six yards beyond the far post, allowing Jamie Stuart to flick the ball out for a corner… subsequently hit deep six yards beyond the far post for Jamie Stuart to flick away. On the rare occasions the Dons prevented a cross from coming in, the shots would play the ball into the centre where one of their midfielders would kick the ball onto the East Terrace roof.

There was balance to the contest in a way only League Two games can be, one sides deficiencies were cancelling out the others, and with the Dons having their noses in front the travelling fans became more and more confident… as the clock ticked into injury time it seemed time might run out for the home side. But the problem with allowing sides to take pot shots from twenty-five yards is they can go anywhere… while that normally means the roof or the corner flag, it also includes the top corner…

Dons fans brave the open terrace

You might have seen the goal credited to Danny Hylton, which probably had more to do with the Press Association guy who originally credited him with it suffering a momentary lapse of concentration – either that or Aldershot might want to check the carbon monoxide detector in their press box… But allowing him to get the effort in gave it a chance of slamming into Gareth Gwillim’s legs, wrong footing Seb Brown who was already committed to shepherding it around the post…

After nearly signing him last season, you would have thought Hylton might have been fired up for this one… and he was, but not in the way you would expect. In fact his performance convinced the Dons fans we’d actually had a MASSIVE escape. His arrival would have been on a contract, which meant we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to bomb him out when we realised what we had (like we could with Broughton…). Subsequently, Mo wouldn’t have come to the club, the playoffs would have ended in failure, and we’ll still be playing Conference football…

Yet its likely the Dons fans would never have noticed Hylton had it not been for one outstanding piece of attempted cheating. After tangling himself up with a Dons defender, Hylton strode on a few steps, then upon realising he wasn’t going to reach the ball hurled himself to the ground. The incident also highlighted another villain of the piece – the referee. Now normally I get frustrated with referees, as there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground in this type of incident. It’s a penalty or yellow card for diving, they don’t seem to factor in players just losing balance and falling over. Yet in this instance it was so clear-cut the referee was neglecting his responsibilities not showing him a card, only flashing yellow when Hylton got up to hurl a stream of abuse at him.

The official had already got the Dons fans backs up after a first half incident where Sammy Moore was laid out in an aerial challenge – we’ll never know how the game would have played out had Moore stayed on the field, and it says a lot about his character that he carried on until half time. But the game would have followed a different course had the referee taken a harder line on challenges like this. plus it’s not often you see such a sarcastic response from a set of football fans to that of the Dons fans when he finally blew for a foul our way a few minutes later…

Throwback view from the East Terrace...

Ultimately though, the Dons have only themselves to blame. As previously mentioned, we sat deeper and deeper as they game went on. Plus our substitutions were strange to say the least, Jolley for Djilali was pretty much like for like but the newcomer didn’t see much of the ball… earlier Luke Moore was withdrawn for Ryan Jackson, and I think the idea was we’d hit Aldershot on the break. This might have worked if Sammy Moore had been replaced with Lee Minshull, which would have added a little steel in the heart of the field, but instead he brought on Yussuff.

Now Toks did what Toks does, floated around picking up loose balls and looking to build attacks, but never looking like he wanted to put a challenge in. To be fair Ricky Wellard stepped up to the plate, but Ricky isn’t exactly a midfield enforcer, and his eagerness to put a tackle in only lead to his unfortunate dismissal, but his willingness at least earned him a standing ovation from Dons fans… rare for Ricky, and under the circumstances slightly surreal…

Overall, you can’t find yourself leading going into injury time and not consider this two points lost, regardless of what went on for the ninety minutes before. Going forward, those midfield problems don’t look like resolving themselves any time soon, but at least defensively we looked a bit more solid. The new loanee McNaughton performed well considering he’d only joined the squad the day before, but Jamie Stuart was my Dons man of the match. Ending the game bandaged up, he was willing to put his head in where others fear to put a boot.

Two home games in seven days give the Dons a chance to properly entrench themselves in upper midtable, with a tough looking October coming up you get the impression we’ll do well to get points on the board while we can…

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Aldershot Preview

Six games in, we’re finally set for our first League Two game meaningful for reasons other than simply being a League Two game. So meaningful I was planning on updating the League Two File (an occasional series focussing on our divisional rivals) I wrote on Aldershot. But then, earlier this week, a couple of hundred Aldershot fans found the original (or rather one found it, the others followed their link…), so I didn’t bother. But you can still read it here, I’m going to be referring to it now and then in this here preview…

Firstly, is this game a derby? In the …File I suggested neither side consider it a derby, which I’ve since decided was quite frankly bollocks, not only is it Aldershot’s closest fixture, it’s probably ours too – and I’ve seen supporters of both sides describe it as such. Plus derby games are about a lot more than simple geography… the historical experiences and personnel shared between the two clubs give this game meaning above and beyond merely a fixture between two reasonably local sides.

Of course, if this is going to be a real ongoing derby, it’s going to have to have a name… all ‘proper’ derby games have a nickname (how could the media be expected to take it seriously otherwise???) – The North London Derby, the Steel City Derby… so what do we call this one? The North Hampshire/Surrey Derby isn’t that snappy (and may not even be geographically accurate), The A3 doesn’t quite stretch as far as Aldershot before veering off in the direction of Portsmouth, and the A3 Derby sounds like a cab firm anyway…

How about naming the game after the real reason this fixture is getting such a degree of attention from home and visiting fans alike… Mr Terry Brown. I’m not entirely sure the Brown Derby will catch on but in the unlikely event it does, you heard it here first (which would make a change…). Perhaps his good name lends itself better to a trophy, much like the one Derby and Forest play for. In fact… I’m calling it. Tomorrows game marks the inaugural Terry Brown Trophy tie, the winner will become the first holder, and every subsequent fixture, be it league, cup or friendly will decide future winners.

This is the Anonymous Don, not the WUP, so I don’t exactly have the resources to fund an actual, physical trophy that the winning captain can lift after a hard-fought victory. So, for now, this will be a metaphysical trophy, a trophy of the heart…

Whatever your feeling towards the fixture – and its fair to say not all of us are overly excited judging by the way the club has spent the last couple of days hawking round the final eighty tickets of what initially seemed a pretty measly 1300 allocation. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been slightly disappointed with our travelling support this season… Fair enough, we took over a thousand to Crawley for the League Cup on a Friday night, but we should have sold out that stand at Dagenham, £19 a ticket or not. And this game should have sold out from season ticket holders alone, it’s not exactly a long trip, right?

The fact we are struggling to rustle up travelling support is strange when you consider we are selling out Kingsmeadow on a frequent basis… even the Tuesday night game with Northampton looking as though its going to be hard to obtain tickets on the night. Could this be down to the more competitive nature of the division we are in? Even last season you would have expected us to win as many as we lost away from home, and watching your team lose at home is one thing, making the effort to travel is another.

This game was always going to be a tough one, taking into account our pre-existing defensive problems. Now on the eve of matchday we find not only might our top scorer be ruled out with injury, one of our only fit centre halves might have to sit out as well. Bret Johnson struggling with a hamstring injury could see a last-minute loanee pair up with Jamie Stuart, although a few cynics out there might see this as a good thing – not having trained with us he might not know that on winning the ball the done thing is to play a hospital ball to a tightly marked midfielder, and instead slam the ball sixty yards down field.

So how will the Dons line up? With Charlie Ademeno definitely ruled out, if Jack Midson still has two legs its highly likely he’ll at least start… we need someone up top who can hold the ball up, if not its a game of giving the ball to Jolley and seeing what he can do with it (which worked last week…).

Having strung this out long enough to get some team news from the O/S, along with the revelation that our new loan centre half is Callum McNaughton from West Ham, it looks like the new boy will start will Jamie Stuart. With Fraser Franks playing for the reserves for the first time tomorrow and Mat Mitchel-King nowhere near, McNaughton’s arrival for a month will cover us over nicely until we have our full complement of defenders back. How we’ll go in midfield is anyones guess, which is one of the reasons I’ve wimped out on selecting my predicted XI…

One final thought, harking back to whether this game is a derby or not… if there are any doubters out there pondering the importance of the fixture – the scoreline come 5PM tomorrow evening might go a long way towards how you view it in future. After all, I can’t remember too many people getting excited about trips to places like Hampton or Staines until one day we played them and they beat us…

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AFC Wimbledon 3 Port Vale 2 3/9/11 – A Match Report

Sometimes you’re better off not worrying about post-game analysis and just marvel at the game of football you’ve just watched, and yesterdays game falls easily into that category. I’d actually go further and nominate it as one of the best games we’ve seen in the AFC era. We’ve seen some outstanding entertainment over the years, the 5-4 victory over Walton Casuals in the CCL Cup, Horsham in the First Ryman One season, last seasons victory at Eastbourne to name just three – but pound for pound, considering the level of football, yesterday’s game might just trump them all.

As with many high scoring epics, the entertainment levels were partly down to a clash of failings rather than anything… this was the Dons wet tissue defense and frequently absent midfield up against a Port Vale side that started like a train but flagged badly towards the end, whose ability to create chances at will was sadly balanced against their profligacy in front of goal.

We’ve all watched football long enough to know a Dons victory was written in stone as soon as Vale had their umpteenth effort cleared off the line or struck woodwork, we’ve seen it happen to the Dons enough time over the years… And if it wasn’t enough that our debut forward, who wouldn’t have started had Charlie Ademeno not been injured in the warm up, then went on to win the penalty for our opening goal; we then watch as a player who wasn’t even in the squad to start with – who wouldn’t even have been named on the bench had Port Vale not given their approval for the team sheet to be changed – comes off the bench and grabs the winner deep into stoppage time.

After last weeks dire performance at Macclesfield, there was much talk of hard work on the training ground to ensure there wouldn’t be a repeat performance this week, but judging by the first twenty minutes or so you would have thought the squad had taken a week off training altogether… Ok, I know the injury to Ademeno in the warm up meant a slight change in formation, and this probably threw them slightly, but these are still professionals, they should still be capable of adapting at short notice.

The Dons defensive deficiencies detracts slightly from some of Port Vale’s irresistible forward play in the first half, not too many League Two defences would have an answer for some of those moves. In fact our two full backs deserve credit for their heroics on the line, both Hatton and Gwillim preventing certain goals in what was an opening period where last-ditch defending kept Wimbledon in the contest.

I won’t go into detail over what happened… if you didn’t see the Football League Show last night the extended highlights on the BBC website tomorrow should do you, if not the OS report is always more detailed than mine ever are. A few comments thought…

Firstly, our performance yesterday and so far this season, coupled with TB’s post match remarks, reveal our defensive problems won’t be solved overnight, so we’ll have to get used to either winning games 3-2 or losing 0-4 for the next couple of months or so. To be fair, we can’t possibly get much worse than we were yesterday, but I can see the Dons becoming a neutrals favourite this season… there will be goals at either end, and plenty of them.

Under those circumstances it’s fortunate we’re scoring goals, and a great deal of credit must go to Jack Midson for that. After the start he’s had at the club, dare we believe he might actually be better than Kedwell? He’s certainly had a decent start that’s for sure, and is the sort of player who just won’t go wrong as far as either the fans or TB is concerned. His work rate and determination is just unreal, one example of this was seeing him chase down a ball he seemed to have no chance of winning, getting a block in, then getting up and winning a footrace to the loose ball to create an oportunity out of nothing.

On top of this the five goals he’s chipped in almost seems like a bonus. His finish yesterday was an example of his eye for goal, easy in one respect with the keeper getting up following his penalty save, but it bounced awkwardly and Midson had to get over the top of it to avoid ballooning it over. We can only hope he continues both form, you get the impression if he can keep up those levels of work rate the goals will follow naturally.

New signing Kieran Djilali had a decent debut, its good to see someone willing to get the ball down and run at defences. He showed great composure to win the penalty, we’ve seen Dons players get in that sort of position only for them to shoot and either miss or their effort is smothered, Djilali did well to take it round the keeper knowing he was going to bring him down. A little early in the day to tell just how good he’s going to be but so far, so good.

The arrival of Christian Jolley at half time swung the game in our favour. We might be better off telling him he’s not going to play every week, this was probably his best forty-five minutes in a Dons shirt. Again, we expect him to be a little inconsistent as a young player just beginning his League career, but as an impact substitute I don’t think there’ll be a defence in the division that could hold him on his day. He pretty much had the Port Vale left back on a leash as soon as he came on the pitch, could have made the game safe at 2-1 with another mazy run, and showed great composure with his finish – hard to believe it was his first League goal.

Jolley has come so far in such a short space of time it would have been understandable had he needed a little time to come to terms with the higher level, but he seems to have so much confidence in himself you wonder whether League Two will be enough for him… Having come so far in such a short space of time, who’s to say he won’t continue his astounding career progress and leave us behind in the not too distant future?

(Strange that after such a poor defensive display I chose to highlight forwards, but as I said at the start sometimes you’re better off not worrying!)

We saw some memorable scenes at the final whistle… this was the first time many Dons fans had seen their side win in the Football League, remember, and even for those of us who had it’s all a little new… plus you don’t want to start getting deep into September/October without winning at home, it creates unwanted psychological problems that we were all more than aware of.

Ten points in the bag despite still finding ourselves dogged by inconsistency means we probably won’t have any problems this season, and can afford a few defeats while TB searches for the answer to our defensive problems. Yet knowing in advance we’re going to take some hammerings, and actually having to watch them, are two different things. We have a big derby game coming up next week against opponents we have bust a gut to chase up the pyramid, how sickening now we’ve caught them and play them as equals would it be if they thumped us?

Derby games are different animals however, and with TB heading back to his former club for the first time he’ll want to use this free week ahead to ensure we’re at least competitive next week…

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Port Vale Preview

August gives way to September, there’s a chill in the air, proper football weather will be back sooner rather than later as the lure of holidays, beer gardens and barbecue becomes less of a pull for the casual fan, forcing them kicking and screaming back into the warm bosom of their football family. Actually the Anonymous Don has probably had a little too much of the summer excess… Mrs AD has made me go on a low carb diet throughout September in order to be fit and ready when the Minithon comes around again, hopefully I’ll be able to improve on last years cracking time of two days, seven hours and forty-four minutes…

We’ll probably all be better off shedding a few pounds judging by how packed the Meadow was for the Hereford game, and it’s only going to get worse for Port Vale, with home tickets selling out fast. Personally I consider being rammed together with a bunch of strangers in the Tempest as the sign of a club who have progressed beyond where any of us could have hoped to have been nine years on. But would you rather be plodding in the BSS trying to raise funds to build up a stadium we probably don’t have a long-term future in, or reach for the stars and accept the consequences?

What that shouldn’t mean is we use our limited facilities as an excuse for organisational chaos, and by this I mean the decision to make the game all ticket for Port Vale’s travelling support with only one working days notice. I feel pretty gutted our club has put out visiting supporters – we can’t get a reputation for being the Fans Club that fucks other club’s fans over. Fair enough, it was a police decision, and probably the right one considering a close to capacity attendance is likely… but why wait until two days before the game? We knew a large attendance was likely two weeks ago (at least the publicity on the O/S suggested as much…), so why not automatically make games all ticket for visiting fans? Surely its easier to switch an all ticket game to pay on the door than vice versa?

To be fair to the club, they are learning and listening… the decision to add extra toilets at the Tempest End shows this. We can forgive the club for the ticket oversight on this occasion, not used to regularly dealing with large crowds, as long as there isn’t a repeat performance next time a game that threatens the capacity comes along. We can forgive our squad and management team for the Macclesfield defeat – as long as we don’t see a similar scoreline any time in the near future.

As for last weeks ‘performance’, well it’s time to look forward, no point crying over spilt milk and other such clichés. We probably wouldn’t have asked for Port Vale if we had the chance to hand-pick our opponents seven days later, but that’s the fixture list for you. The general consensus is Port Vale should be there or there abouts this season, so we’ll have to earn our points tomorrow afternoon.

Nice to see the visiting manager throwing a few nice words our way, I always regarded Micky Adams as a decent football man (cue someone digging out comments he made praising the franchise when he last managed against them…), but working under the assumption ‘your enemy’s enemy is your friend’ he did enough to earn a warm welcome from most Dons fans anyway thanks to his opening day post match comments relating to Steve Evans. Vale have themselves stuttered of late after a decent start to the season, a couple of draws and a couple of wins before slipping at home to Southend last week, and crashing out of the JPT on pens after finishing level with Tranmere in the week.

As for the Dons, there’s been a lot of talk of ‘working hard on the training ground’ and ‘having points to prove’ thrown about by Dons players in the press this week – just to remind you lads, this is what you’re supposed to be paid to do anyway, but we understand the sentiment. Picking out a Dons lineup could be pretty tricky under the circumstances – on one hand TB doesn’t normally like to make too many unforced changes, on the other the battering we received last week might mean he has little choice, even if defensive options are thin on the ground thanks to those sitting in the treatment room.

Midfield is the key area Brown had options for change, and is perhaps the most important considering the amount of goals we’ve shed thanks to lapses in this area of the field. As I mentioned in the week, I hope TB isn’t afraid to shuffle his pack slightly, he might start by playing people in the position they favour… Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen Max Porter come out in the press declaring he’s a box to box midfielder, and Toks admitting he’d prefer a deeper passing role. So the immediate answer might be to swap them over and see what effect it has.

I think the problem with that holding role is the assumption that it’s a deeper lying role, we need to play someone who can put in a challenge. Maybe it’s simplistic and naive, but it almost seems like we invite pressure on ourselves sometimes… why stick a ball winner in front of the back four when they could be doing much the same job twenty yards up the pitch?

We welcome Kieran Djilali to the squad, giving Brown some extra options in terms of width. With Brendan Kiernan not ready for regular first team action and Ryan Jackson seemingly heading backwards, it’s placed a lot of burden on Christian Jolley to come on and change games… Djilali’s appearance for the development squad yesterday suggests he’ll probably find himself on the bench tomorrow, and the starting lineup for that game has naturally affected my predicted starting line up…

Brown

Hatton

Gwillim

Johnson

Stuart

Yussuff

Porter

Moore S

Moore L

Midson

Ademeno

In other words Porter coming in for Minshull (this is just a hunch on my part, I may be well off the money…) and Ademeno back for Jolley. A difficult call for Brown, so much so I’d probably have more luck predicting who we’ll play in the JPT second round (draw tomorrow morning). So I’ll give that a go as well… I’m going for Southend at home…

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AFC Wimbledon 1 Hereford 1 20/8/11 – A Match Report

Yes! We did it! We actually did it! Pop those champagne corks and soak it up, Dons fans, for yesterdays game is going to be one you’ll want to tell the grandkids about… AFC Wimbledon won a point at home in the Football League for the first time…

I’d much rather my glass was half full right now, as despite the sacrifices I made to the Football Gods in my pre-match preview the game actually went pretty much as I expected. Hereford indeed turned out to be the League Two equivalent of Forest Green Rovers (although this might now be considered an outdated comparison as the real Forest Green Rovers managed to win 6-1 away from home on Saturday…), as the Dons huffed and puffed their way through an error strewn performance that they seemed equally likely to lose as to grab a winner.

I have to admit an element of irritation before the game even kicked off. Despite breaking my attendance at a barbecue a mere ten minutes walk from Kingsmeadow, torrential rain conspired to ensure I was soaked through on arrival. An almost full Kingsmeadow felt packed to capacity as those with terrace tickets that would normally have been satisfied standing in the open corner packed under the roof – this was a good couple of hundred people, and having wandered to my position on the Tempest without having my ticket checked for the second home game in succession I’m pretty certain more than a few ended up somewhere they weren’t supposed to be…

Not that I blame them in the slightest, under the circumstances I would have done the same – the situation not helped by the fact a quarter of the JSS occupants (i.e. the visiting supporters) had been allocated half the capacity. This raises all sorts of issues over stadium management that I’m probably not best qualified to comment on, what I will say is there is a frustrating trend developing where the comfort of terraced spectators within the stadium normally compares with the level of performance on the pitch… so finding myself packed in and unable to move could only mean one thing…

It took Hereford eight minutes to find the net, that was almost ten minutes faster than Bristol Rovers on opening day. Once again, it was completely defendable… A hopeful cross into the box looked absolutely zero threat whilst in the air, yet Brett Johnson hesitated allowing Delroy Facey in, with Seb Brown in a different postcode somewhere over by his far post, the ball slid off the portly hitman’s forehead before rippling the net.

By all accounts Seb admitted blame after calling for Johnson to leave it, not that you’ll find anyone castigating him for it… his recent form has been exceptional and despite this he was rightly named the sponsors Man of the Match after a series of fine saves. Maybe the question we should be asking is why Johnson, as an experienced player, didn’t recognise the danger and step in, despite his goalkeepers call. Harsh criticism perhaps, but this is the Football League we’re playing in. That’s seven goals conceded this season, fair enough they came across five games, but they were seven preventable goals, and we can already count the points we’ve lost because of errors.

Wimbledon looked more likely to go further behind that level the scores immediately after the goal. Ricky Wellard summed up the Dons performance, one minute giving Hereford the ball, the next putting in an important challenge to prevent a visitors opportunity – this inconsistency dogged the home side all afternoon. Yet almost out of nothing, Wimbledon did find the net on twenty-five minutes, Sam Hatton swinging the ball over and Jack Midson getting his head onto it to send it into the roof of the net.

The Dons then had a spell that raised hopes they would go on and win the game. Straight after, Luke Moore had the ball in the net after a Midson shot deflected kindly for him, but was ruled offside. From the opposite end of the pitch it must have been close, the giveaway that Moore had strayed was probably the player himself, a competitive forward he reacted by holding his head rather than questioning the linesman.

Half time brought with it optimism that the Dons would come out fired up by TB and go on and win the game, as had happened at Plymouth in the week, this optimism proved as misplaced then as before the game. While chances were created, they were also presented to the visitors on a frequent basis. Seb Brown earned his MOTM with a few great saves, including one great one-on-one, but the home fans will have left the ground rueing some particularly good chances.

Off the top of my head I’m thinking of three (being tightly packed in isn’t great for note taking…). First, a deep cross found Ademeno at the far post, but his powerful header from an angle was well saved by Hereford keeper Cornell (signed on loan from Swansea mere minutes after my preview was published…). Then, Sammy Moore had a presentable chance to volley the Dons ahead, but his scuffed effort made it easy for Cornell.

The closest the Dons came to snatching all three points was an Ademeno header pushed away by the young Hereford keeper that in all probability had already crossed the line, but with neither referee nor linesman in a position to confirm you can’t really blame them for not giving it – if they had it would have been guesswork. Jamie Stuart seems particularly angry in the press, but the truth is if you want to make absolutely certain of scoring, you have to hit the back of the net… expecting the officials to make judgement calls based on a matter on inches is too much to ask.

Plus making an issue over one incident masks the fact that the Dons didn’t really deserve the three points, beyond actively trying to win the game. Thats not to say Hereford didn’t come looking for three points, their chances largely came about via Dons over committing or simply giving the ball away, but I can’t blame a side that hasn’t managed to chalk up a point settling for what they had rather than risk losing everything. What I will say is if Jamie Pitman ever found himself on Deal Or No Deal it wouldn’t be the most exciting episode you’ve ever watched, but he’ll walk away with a few grand all the same…

But for all the credit you can give Brown for it, you still don’t deserve to win the points simply through being prepared to roll the dice and take maximum or nothing… in fact it’s kind of expected of the home team. What I will say is despite our next opponents destroying Hereford at Edgar Street on Tuesday, I thought to myself on the way to the ground (partially as a way of distracting myself from the soaking I was getting) that next weeks trip to Macclesfield might turn out to be an easier game for precisely that reason, and despite the underwhelming performance I’m going to stick my neck out and stand by it.

In fact we might find ourselves picking up as many points on the road as we do at home this season. Away from Kingsmeadow the Dons are free to counter attack at will against opponents normally looking to be on the front foot in front of their own supporters, whereas at home we don’t always have the nous to unlock opposition defences.

Overall, yes it was frustrating, but there’s no point making excuses for the performance… we’ve already shown enough to convince all but the most pessimistic supporters we’ll finish comfortably midtable this term, and that should be enough. Six points on the road might have had us temporarily wondering ‘what if?’… And we may well find ourselves troubling the playoff picture come May. But everything we have seen so far suggests for that to happen we’ll need to improve – and quickly. The inconsistency we saw yesterday will likely dog us all season, some individuals improve, some won’t, and we’ll do some cosmetic work next summer to improve on wherever we end up this time around.

A downgrading of expectations will follow this result, and it’s needed… if anything the only wish-fulfillment we really need this season is a trip to Old Trafford or the Emirates in the FA Cup, and a subsequent cash windfall that might allow us to rebuild not just the KRE but the JSS as well, allowing us all to watch the Dons in the Football League in a little more comfort next term…

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Hereford Preview

This isn’t the Conference. There are no easy games at this level. Anybody can beat anybody else, anywhere. I know that, you know that. And yet, in the back of our minds, we’re looking at Hereford’s League position, the fact they haven’t gained a point, haven’t even managed to trouble the scoresheet, we’re looking at the goals Macclesfield scored on Tuesday night and noting goalkeeper Russell Hoult had the positional sense of a drunk monkey after a ride on the Waltzer and seems to have a glove deal with Utterly Butterly, and we’re thinking ‘How can we not win this?

And we’re doing this with a sense of regret, knowing we’re surely building ourselves up for a fall… this is Wimbledon after all, we know Wimbledon, we’ve been following them all our lives. No matter how well we might be playing, if there’s a striker looking to break his duck, he’ll break it against us; if there’s a side stuck rock bottom who are only going to win one game away from home all season, we’ll be the victim. That’s how supporting the Dons works…

On top of this, we’ve been in the division five minutes. It’s the curse of back to back away wins, all of a sudden things seem a lot easier than they seem… Don’t get me wrong, we’re all saying and doing the right things – I haven’t come across a Dons fan suggesting we’ll stride away with a two or three goal victory, but lets face it, if it doesn’t happen I’ll be disappointed, and all but the most pessimistic of us will go home and kick the dog/spouse/children.

Now I could be sitting here on Saturday night/Sunday morning (depending on whether I get a social life in the meantime) writing up a convincing victory, in fact it’s probably the more likely outcome. Just not as likely as our subconscious (the bane of all football fans) is allowing us to believe. Those of us who suggested the Dons might be lucky to get four points out of our opening league fixtures (and I am one) are feeling pretty chuffed right now – we would have taken something from the Bristol Rovers game if we hadn’t been hoist by our own petard, and the aforementioned maximum from our two road games has seen Dons fans focussing on the top, rather than bottom, of the table.

I actually have good memories of Hereford at Kingsmeadow. Back in 1998 I eschewed our opening fixture against Spurs in favour of Kingstonian’s first game in the Conference… In my defence this was during my student days, and I was far more interested in spending time drinking with my friends, and KFC provided a common denominator for a bunch of football loving lads who played for the same club side, followed various teams across London and beyond and who otherwise wouldn’t have seen eye to eye.

The video above documents the day, and will be of interest to Dons fans in just how much Kingsmeadow has changed over the years. Mainly cosmetic, no huge structural alterations, but these were the days when the Main stand barely held 600 and didn’t extend as far as pitchside (you can see supporters standing in the paddock, with the benches on this side of the field), the Tempest didn’t have a terrace, never mind a roof, and there was a strange brick structure right behind the goal at the KRE. And look at the state of the pitch! It might have appeared more like Bournemouth beach in our first couple of seasons, but judging by that video it seems K’s were saving money on a mower by simply setting fire to it…

Interesting days, I remember chatting to a Hereford fan outside the bar at half time, explaining to me how the long journey wasn’t helped by a long trek from the station… Thinking he might have come from Kingston, I pointed out Norbiton station was a few streets away, only to get the confused reply that his party had come via Surbiton – I never got to the bottom of whether this was police advice or an honest mistake… By the way, our current tenants won that one 2-0, it goes without saying a similar scoreline will do very nicely…

A victory will cement the Dons high placing in the early League table, but lets face it, until you get beyond six games its little use beyond a form guide, and three games in its barely that… Hereford might have lost three on the spin, but lets not forget the Dons promotion winning side did that in March last year, and things turned out alright for us. Losing three in a row at the start of the season is panic inducing, but we’ve got a long way to go even before promotion and relegation contenders can be determined… I saw the Hereford-Macclesfield game being described as a ‘relegation clash’ in the media, there’s no guarantee either or both will be struggling in eight months time.

Yet I can see how Hereford supporters might feel a little daunted travelling to a side having scored two goals in each of their four games played. The Dons are slowly but surely getting injured players back… Sammy Moore played a part in the Dagenham and Plymouth games, Fraser Franks is back in training, and I actually saw Mat Mitchel-King for the first time last Saturday (and for a Rio Ferdinand body double, I thought he might look a little more, erm, Rio Ferdinandy?). The Dons have got a few more options, especially in midfield… I kind of expected Max Porter would take the holding role, and in case of injury or loss of form Ricky Wellard would fill in. But now it seems Sammy Moore can do a job there, and thinking about it it makes sense – Moore has both range of passing and tenacious nature to make a success of the position.

When I was a kid playing up front and scoring goals was all the rage, during the late nineties it became fashionable to want to play ‘in the hole’, now it seems every footballer worth their salt wants to be a holding midfielder, even Toks throwing his hat into the ring this week. I’m half expecting to see enterprising coaches stick their most creative player in goal before the decade is out…

I’ve seen a few Dons fans comment that they want to see a settled midfield this season, I can understand why as football logic suggests a regular XI builds continuity, yet I would like to respectfully disagree and suggest our current crop of midfielders, having played together for a while, should be more or less interchangeable. This might not be important right now, but as midweek games and cup ties start piling up, the ability to shuffle his pack with no consequence in terms of strength could prove a real benefit to TB.

Yet this causes a problem for the Anonymous Don in attempting to predict TB’s starting eleven… we now have three players who could potentially play the holding role (Toks is more important causing chaos in the opposition half for the time being…), with question marks also over who is going to get the nod to start up front, and a suggestion Jamie Stuart is struggling with a knock. I’m going to go for the following…

Brown

Hatton

Gwillim

Stuart

Johnson

Moore S

Minshull

Yussuff

Moore L

Midson

Ademeno

If there is any possibility of Jamie Stuart starting, he’s going to start… I just can’t see TB either throwing Bush in or withdrawing Minshull from a midfield role unless his hand has been forced. If Stuart does break down during the game, TB can shuffle the pack knowing there is no midweek game to worry about, and Franks and Mitchel-King are back in full training so will be available soon.

As Sammy Moore started on Tuesday I’ll back him to go again tomorrow, despite still feeling his way back to full fitness. Charlie Ademeno made way for Christian Jolley at half time on Tuesday, and we don’t really know how Charlie is doing fitness-wise, I’ll still back him to start with Jolley reverting to impact substitute. A relatively ‘safe’ prediction I know, but as those injured squad members return, this game is starting to get more and more difficult…

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Daggers Preview

It’s been a strange, depressing week. A week where the painful reminder there are an awful lot of fuckwits in our society, wandering among us on a daily basis, has been splashed on our TV screens… of course, I could quite easily use that very same sentence in a couple of weeks when Big Brother returns (I thought we’d killed that off…). Seriously though, it does make you wonder why we lock up intelligent creatures like monkeys in zoos when these animals are rampaging around among us, simply because they happen to be the same species as us? Let’s free the monkeys and take our kids to see these clowns throwing their shit over each other instead. The added benefit being the newly freed monkeys will benefit the economy, as they genuinely will work for peanuts…

This blog has always attempted to remain politically ambiguous, so I’m hoping the previous introduction will have offended both left and right equally… my right leaning readers will be frothing at the mouth that not only do I appear to be a closet animal rights campaigner, I’m also advocating the release from behind bars of known immigrants to undercut British workers… whereas the more liberal of you are preparing to boycott a blogger who compares what was a predominantly black crowd with monkeys. I’ll leave open the question of whether I’m actually part of the fascist media machine, like the BBC; or some kind of liberal conspiracy, erm, like the BBC…

While South West London has largely been untouched by the civil unrest, the Dons have been affected by looters…although it wasn’t publicised at the time, the club did actually sign Darren Bent on Monday, and stored him in the cupboard under the Strank Stand for safe keeping. Opportunists from the Cambridge Estate then broke into Kingsmeadow on Tuesday night and made off with him… rumour has it the big hitman is now being hawked in the pubs and markets of South London as I write… Seriously, with Jason Euell finally signing for Charlton this week (the tease…), losing out on one experienced front man can be considered unlucky, missing two suggests we were barking up the wrong tree to start with. I wonder whether that young striker Terry said was waiting in the wings is still prepared to sign up, or whether we have to start our search for a goalscorer afresh.

The irony is, with four goals in two games, and three of our forwards off the mark for the season already, the last thing we need is a striker. The Dons head to a Dagenham side desperate for the solid defensive performance that has so far eluded them, knowing the hosts will be the most direct threat we have faced as yet, and looking to capitalise on any errors forced. Like every manager in the division, John Still would have noticed how the Dons young side haven’t quite got to grips with the pace of this division yet, they are going to close down our back four quickly and at every available opportunity. If the Dons want to continue their commitment to playing football from the back, they are going to have to learn to switch on and concentrate for the full ninety.

In terms of any possible changes to the starting eleven, over the opening two fixtures we have looked much stronger following the introduction of three players. One of those is Charlie Ademeno, but having not played a full part in preseason and suffering a heel problem I don’t expect to see him start any time soon, the benefit being we can bring him on against tiring defences and watch him cause havoc, as he did against Bristol Rovers. Chris Bush has given us options when chasing the game in terms of getting himself over the halfway line, but I would expect Gwillim to start ahead of him once more, his experience, and more importantly his knowledge of the Dagenham boys will be vital on the field.

Which brings me on to Lee Minshull. The Dons looked much stronger when he came on last Saturday, and he was my surprise tip for a starting role on Saturday (at least he was until the Herald trumped me… damn journalists and their aversion to guesswork and hunches… they’ll put me out of business, if I had one…). The question is, if he does start, who is going to miss out? The choice is Wellard or Porter, with the former dropping back and filling in for Porter if he misses out. I have a feeling TB will opt for Minshull to replace Ricky as a like for like change, with Minshull getting involved and causing havoc going forward.

So my expected Dons XI is as follows (I’m 100% on this so far this season, stat fans, and looking to extend my perfect record to a second week…).

Brown

Hatton

Gwillim

Johnson

Stuart

Porter

Minshull

Yussuff

L Moore

Midson

Jolley

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AFC Wimbledon 2 Bristol Rovers 3 6/8/11 – A Match Report

Another week in the big leagues, another 3-2 defeat, more suicidal defending… yet clearly nothing to worry about just yet for us Dons fans. If we weren’t scoring goals, that might be a problem, but the upside of conceding preventable goals is by their nature they are, erm, preventable in future… if we hadn’t repeatedly given our opponents the ball in close proximity to our goal, we wouldn’t have lost that one.

I know talk before the game was this was all about the occasion, and the result was irrelevant (to a point), but despite doing everything we possibly could in the first twenty minutes to gift our opponents victory, we would have taken a point after an encouraging comeback had it not been for one moment of madness…

The penalty decision, on first glance – which was from the Tempest end a good hundred yards from the incident – looked pretty nailed on… An arm went up from someone in a Dons shirt, the ball struck it, the ref blew and pointed to the spot. At the time I couldn’t really understand what complaint the Dons players surrounding the referee could possibly have had.

Watching it back from a more favourable angle (and how much of a godsend is the Football League show? No more waiting 48 hours for AFCWTV…), at the moment of impact between the ball and Brett Johnson’s arm, he was in the process of being wiped out by Byron Anthony, including a forearm to the face, and couldn’t possibly have judged the flight of the ball to intentionally make contact. It’s an unbelievably harsh penalty decision, and the Dons can count themselves pretty unlucky.

I suppose under the circumstances we should be grateful that it was Brett Johnson who conceded the penalty, had it been one of our younger players the knowledge they had cost us the game, on such a big occasion for the club, might have taken some time to recover from. I don’t think we’ll have any problems with Brett Johnson, an experienced player like him will bounce back, he’s been our most consistent defender over the past couple of years, hands down (ouch…).

One of the reasons I got the penalty issue out-of-the-way early is, yes, you could probably consider us quite unlucky to go down to such a late penalty, but on the balance of play Bristol Rovers deserved their victory. The squad are going to have a few nightmares over the first two goals when they sit down to watch them this week, but before that Christian Jolley could have given the Dons the lead, racing clear down the left channel, unfortunately knocking the ball too far and giving Rovers keeper Bevan a chance to close him down, the deflection seeing the ball balloon over the bar.

As for the two Rovers opening goals, well the first was a consequence of the Dons dedication to playing the ball out from the back. We got ourselves into trouble a couple of times last season, against the better prepared sides in the division, thanks to the managers insistence on Seb Brown throwing the ball wherever possible, but to be fair its our best chance of developing a move… when Seb is forced to kick long the ball invariably is returned with interest more times than not, Jack Midson can’t win every ball launched forward. This might change if the club employs the services of the target man they are rumoured to have their eye on, but even then, play to your strengths, the back four and midfield are just going to have to get used to finding space quickly when Seb receives the ball – a punt up field to a big lad should be last resort.

Perhaps Seb was a little unfortunate, as he would have got away with his careless throw had it not caught Ricky Wellard a little by surprise, the ball getting caught under his feet and subsequently robbed from his possession. The last person you’d really want the ball to fall to was Scott McGleish, he might be 38 but you never lose the knack of putting the ball in the net, and he was never likely to miss.

If that goal could be put down to nerves and misfortune, the second was unforgivable. Just minutes after giving the ball away you wouldn’t have expected two of our better players in Yussuff and Johnson to contrive to give the ball away on the half way line, allowing the little legs of McGleish to carry him deep into the Dons box. His first effort was well blocked by Browns feet, only for the ball to drop back at the veteran forwards feet for him to clip in for, of all people, Matt Harrold to nod home.

Of all the players we have come up against that haven’t had franchise links, Harrold is one of the least popular after his bullying act on the Dons BSS standard back four in the Wycombe cup tie three years ago. The Dons are now of a standard equal to, or possibly in advance of his ‘quality’, so how galling that it was him who bundled home a goal that at the time seemed to have ended the game as a contest, especially as it gave him the chance to hold four fingers up to the Tempest end… kind of flattering in a way that the Dons are seen as such a threat in this division, but still – it was three years ago. He doesn’t even play for Wycombe any more. What a dick.

The Dons eventually created another chance worthy of note as half time approached, but Midson’s ball through to Luke Moore in a two on one situation got caught under his feet, and once again Bevan was on hand to smother the chance. It seemed our best chance of getting back into the game before the break had gone, but moments later a Christian Jolley charge down the left was crudely halted. Sam Hatton swung the resulting free kick over, Jamie Stuart only needed to guide it beyond Bevan and into the top right corner – Kingsmeadow had some hope again.

During half time I would normally have read my copy of WUP, but I can only presume it sold out (not that I really made too much of an effort to find someone, running late as I was), so was forced to read the programme instead. The bloke in front of me did have a copy, examining every article in fine detail as I read over his shoulder. That was until he got to the Anonymous Don ramble, where he quickly turned the page, an incident which almost provoked a rare outburst of Don on Don violence…, until I realised ‘Of course, he would have read that before the game, probably moments after purchasing his copy…’. Yeah, that’s probably what happened. Probably.

Wimbledon looked so much better in the second half you would have thought Brown had sent a team of lookalikes out in the first, just to confuse the opposition. Despite not really creating any clear-cut opportunities, it was much better football, the Dons looked dangerous going forward and I was pretty confident the equalizer was on its way. Brown took the opportunity to make a couple of changes, the disappointing Porter replaced by Minshull, who immediately provided an extra physical dimension to the Dons game. Moments later Christian Jolley, who had a storming hour or so on the pitch and hadn’t shown signs of fading, was also withdrawn. I can only imagine Brown was just looking for a way of getting Charlie Ademeno onto the pitch, and Jolley was unfortunate enough to get the hook, but any debate over the decision was ended less than three minutes later.

A Dons move seemed to have broken down, but was hopefully hooked back into the Rovers area by Wellard. Minshull got up well to nod the ball down, and Charlie Ademeno was on hand to fire under Bevan and put the Dons back on terms. With twenty minutes left, the hope among Dons fans was we would go on and win it, but it wasn’t all Wimbledon, Seb Brown had to make a couple of fine saves to keep Rovers out. And once again, despite all their possession, the Dons weren’t creating clear chances, and as the game entered its final stages it seemed they might had to settle for a point.

Then came the penalty, and I’m not going to go over it again, but if you are fortunate enough to earn a penalty in a tied game five minutes from time, you’d want it to be struck as well as Virgo hit this. Even if Seb Brown had gone the right way he wouldn’t have got near it, although it was quite interesting in a week where this report was doing the rounds to note which way Seb dived.

The Dons best chance of getting back into the game probably fell to the wrong person, a deep cross found third substitute Chris Bush at the far post, who neither tapped back across goal nor buried it in the net, instead blazing over. The home fans gave the Dons a decent send off on the final whistle, aware this was a pretty decent performance – individual errors aside. Two encouraging defeats so far this season, but Wimbledon really need to start turning these sort of performances into results pretty soon… hopefully starting next week at Dagenham.

It might have only taken us nine years to earn our place back in the Football League, but hopefully it will only take another seven days for our first Football League win…

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League Two Review – 6/8/11

The Dons went down 2-3 at home to Bristol Rovers on our return to League football. Victims of their own carelessness, Wimbledon were 0-2 down on twenty minutes after errors gave McGleish and Harrold (spit) a goal apiece. The Dons first goal back in the League came courtesy of a Jamie Stuart header on 39 minutes, with Wimbledon finding an equalizer with twenty minutes left, Charlie Ademeno putting away Lee Mishulls flick.

Wimbledon were probably worth a point based on their enterprising recovery, but it wasn’t to be, Bret Johnson of all people guilty of handling in the box with five minutes to go, the penalty put away by Adam Virgo. Much like last weeks 2-3 defeat at Crawley there was plenty of positives for the Dons to look back on, if we can eradicate the kamikaze defending we won’t have too many problems in this division, but it goes without saying you can’t expect to take points from any football match you contrive to hand (excuse the pun) your opponents three goals on a plate…

Elsewhere in the division, Swindon went top after a 3-0 victory over Crewe. I can equally see the Paulo Di Canio experiment ending with either a runaway championship or stuttering sixteenth place, but it looks more likely to be the former after todays display.

Outside of Swindon, the day was very much one of single goal victories, meaning our visitors today currently sit in second place by way of goals scored. Title favourites Crawley were held 2-2 at Port Vale, a result that probably won’t draw too much sympathy from Dons fans.

While the Dons have a free week before our trip to Dagenham, the rest of the division will be in Carling Cup action in midweek.

Full match report tomorrow…

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