TIRED DONS SET FOR A STRUG­GLE

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Becky Grey

NEAL Ard­ley is con­cerned AFC Wim­ble­don will strug­gle this sea­son af­ter they were beaten at home for the sec­ond time in a week.

Alex Rod­man scored the only goal of the game as Shrews­bury left London with all three points and left Ard­ley ques­tion­ing his side just a week into the new sea­son.

The Dons played 120 min­utes in their mid­week Carabao Cup de­feat by Brent­ford and while Ard­ley was not pre­pared to blame that, he ad­mits his play­ers com­plained of fa­tigue.

Ard­ley said: “I don’t want to use Tues­day as an ex­cuse, but the play­ers said they felt tired. It’s just one game but if I was a fan I’d go away think­ing we are go­ing to strug­gle this year.”

The Shrews went ahead af­ter just five min­utes when Alex Rod­man headed the ball into the bot­tom-right cor­ner past keeper Ge­orge Long.

The vis­i­tors kept up a pun­ish­ing at­tack, with Whalley play­ing a cen­tral role in driv­ing the ball through the mid­field and keep­ing the AFC Wim­ble­don de­fence on the back foot.

Paul Hurst’s team dom­i­nated possession early on, with Rod­man and Shaun Whalley fir­ing a bar­rage of shots at Long, but the Sh­effield United loa­nee coped with the chal­lenge. “I’m de­lighted with three points away from home and they’re well de­served,” said Hurst.

“The goal was a mo­ment of qual­ity from Shaun with the cross and it got us off to a good start.

“I don’t know if I’m get­ting a bit pro­tec­tive, but we’re two games into the league sea­son and peo­ple seem to be ques­tion­ing whether we’re go­ing to score goals and I don’t re­ally un­der­stand that.

“There are 44 games to go, it’s a long sea­son and it’s early days, but we’ve got our feet on the ground.

“We played good foot­ball and got for­ward, the sec­ond half was a bit dis­ap­point­ing but I have to give Wim­ble­don credit for chang­ing tack and mak­ing it a bit more dif­fi­cult.”

The Dons cer­tainly put up a stronger fight in the sec­ond half, and looked to be in with a chance of equal­is­ing from a Dean Par­rett free-kick, but the cross was too high for the Wim­ble­don for­ward line.

In the end, Ard­ley’s team strug­gled to keep up with the pace af­ter their mid­week cup de­feat.

“We were nowhere near any­thing today, the boys looked flat, tired and ap­pre­hen­sive and we be­came very dis­jointed very quickly,” said Ard­ley.

“The best team won on the day and we were poor at ev­ery­thing, we didn’t have any zip, I thought we were sec­ond best for most of it.

“The bot­tom line is that if we are sec­ond to balls and our move­ment isn’t good, it doesn’t matter what sys­tem we are try­ing to play, we’re go­ing to lose games of foot­ball. “But it is very rare to have most of your team turn up and play poorly and

that hap­pened today.”

AFC WIM­BLE­DON: (4-4-2): Long 9, Fuller 6, Kennedy 6, Robin­son 7, Oshi­laja 5, Par­rett 6, Fran­comb 6, Ab­dou 5 (Egan 72 6), Ap­piah 4 (Tay­lor 46 6), McDon­ald 6, Bar­cham 5 (Kaja 77 6) Subs not used: McDon­nell, Nightin­gale, Sib­bick, Har­ti­gan SHREWS­BURY: (4-3-3): Hen­der­son 7, Sadler 6, Whalley 9, Ogogo 8, Morris 7 (John-Lewis 70 6), Dodds 8 (Adams 81 6), Brown 4, Bolton 7, Nolan 4, Nsiala 6, Rod­man 8 (En­nis 90 N/A) Subs not used: MacGil­livray, Gna­houa, Jules, Shielis

PIC­TURES: PSI/Matt Red­man

BEATEN: Don’s Dean Par­rett WHY SO GLUM? Shrews­bury’s Alex Rod­man has just scored the win­ning goal be­lieve it or not!

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