LADY LUCK ON THE DONS’ SIDE

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Tayler Will­son

WIM­BLE­DON boss Neal Ard­ley ad­mit­ted that his side were for­tu­nate to snatch all three points in their nar­row win over Crawley at Broad­field Sta­dium.

A spir­ited sec­ond-half dis­play from the Dons saw them fight back from one goal down against Crawley to earn their first win on the road since Box­ing Day.

A headed goal from Gwion Ed­wards put the home side oneup at the break, be­fore an Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa header early in the sec­ond-half, fol­lowed by an Andy Bar­cham tap in, handed the visi­tors all three points.

Ard­ley, though, thought his side were lucky not to be fur­ther be­hind at the break, af­ter a firsthalf he branded ‘un­ac­cept­able’.

“Af­ter a first-half like that, we were lucky to still be in the game. I thought we were sloppy, lack­lus­tre and just looked dis­jointed – it’s un­ac­cept­able,” he said. “We should’ve been fur­ther be­hind, we were lucky in that re­gard.”

A change in for­ma­tion and tac­tics at half-time proved to work won­ders, though, a move that Ard­ley had pon­dered pre-match.

“I was torn be­tween a 4-4-2 and a 4-3-3. For the half-hour we played 4-3-3 against Ply­mouth, we looked good. But it didn’t work, ev­ery­one could see that. I had a work with the lads at half-time and switched it up. I told them to be more di­rect and play to our strengths, it seemed to work”.

Crawley boss Mark Yates couldn’t hide his dis­ap­point­ment at the loss, but took the pos­i­tives out of match.

“It’s a tough pill to swal­low when you lose af­ter be­ing oneup,” Yates said. “But it’s a tough league and that’s what hap­pens if you aren’t on top of your game for the full 90 min­utes.

“We dom­i­nated the first-half and I was de­lighted. I told the team to keep it up, I didn’t want any­thing chang­ing.

“Un­for­tu­nately we took our foot off the pedal and in­vited the pres­sure on. The goals we con­ceded were sloppy too, that’s also hard to take. It’s sim­ple de­fend­ing and we’ll cer­tainly be work­ing on that. I know what we need to work on and we’ll learn from this”.

The home side started bright and went close twice through Luke Rooney, but Wim­ble­don keeper James Shea saved well.The Dons were find­ing it hard to main­tain any pos­ses­sion and just af­ter the half-hour mark were be­hind. A long ball for­ward from Jake Reeves was met by the head of Ed­wards, who nod­ded past Shea to put the home side one-up.

Early in the sec­ond-half the Dons were level through Ak­in­fenwa, who su­perbly headed home af­ter he was found un­marked at the back post.

The Dons dom­i­nated the half and with just over ten min­utes re­main­ing, they were re­warded. A scram­ble on the edge of the box saw the ball loop goal­wards and to the head of Bar­cham, who made no mis­take and slot­ted home the win­ner into an empty net. This was the Dons’ first win on the road since Box­ing Day, send­ing the 1,297 trav­el­ling fans home very happy in­deed.

STAR MAN ADE­BAYO AK­IN­FENWA AFC Wim­ble­don

PIC­TURES: Pro Sport

ON A HIGH: Ge­orge Fran­comb fires an ef­fort on the Crawley Town goal

DANCE OFF: Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa of AFC Wim­ble­don cel­e­brates his equaliser

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