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Dons boss praises in-form striker Pigott – and takes pride in clean sheet record

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Wally Downes piled praise on Joe Pigott after the in-form AFC Wimbledon target-man struck his 13th goal of the season in Saturday’s crucial 1-0 win at Southend.

The Dons are just three points behind the Shrimpers – who are in the first safety spot in League One – after the weekend.

Pigott, 25, has got six goals in his last three matches – although that includes a hat-trick in a 4-3 win at Rochdale.

The ex-Charlton striker followed up his nervy late penalty decider against Peterborough by sinking Southend at the weekend.

“Joe is leading the line really well,” said Downes. “When I first came in I knew Joe was a goalscorer, but it was just about getting him to be a bit stronger up front and he’s been magnificent for the last five or six weeks.

“He’s really led the line well and he is getting his just rewards now. He battled all day and when it’s not the conditions for forwards then sometimes you have to work, work, work.

“I was really pleased that he got his goal.”

It is also four straight shutouts for Wimbledon.

“The clean sheets speak for themselves,” said Downes. “The only thing you are given in football is a point and a clean sheet at the start of a game. The longer you retain it the more chance you have of winning the game. That’s what we’ve been doing and long may that continue.

“A lot of fans turned up on Saturday. It’s not very far for them, but it’s a great day out. I am sure they can see that the players are putting the effort in and equally the fans are singing and supporting us superbly. It’s great for both sides.

“I’m very pleased because at this stage of the season it’s not about the football you play, it’s about winning games. It was difficult for both sides, but fortunately we managed to sneak it.

“It was about the team that made best use of the wind. At half-time I was not too pleased with the way we had performed in the first-half. I thought we were trying to play a little bit too much. We gave a few chances to them that we shouldn’t have, but in the second-half we had a lot of mobility in the team and we used the wind better than they did.”

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