LADY LUCK ON THE DONS’ SIDE
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
ON A HIGH: George Francomb fires an effort on the Crawley Town goal
DANCE OFF: Adebayo Akinfenwa of AFC Wimbledon celebrates his equaliser