AFC WIMBLEDON 1 BLACKPOOL 0
By Dan Marsh
AFC Wimbledon picked up their first ‘home’ win of the season with a 1-0 triumph over nine-man Blackpool in their final game at Loftus Road before their return to Plough Lane.
Callum Reilly’s first goal of the season was enough to see the Dons return to winning ways against the visitors who ended up with just nine men on the pitch.
Both Ethan Robson and Daniel Ballard were dismissed with straight red cards after Reilly’s strike midway through the first half.
The Dons haven’t enjoyed the best of results during their temporary tenancy at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, failing to record a league win in three previous attempts. Blackpool arrived in West London with a torrid away record, failing to taste victory on the road in a staggering 21 matches.
It was the hosts who broke the deadlock after 13 minutes – and they found their breakthrough in style. Reilly found himself with the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area after good work from Shane McLoughlin. The midfield man smoothly cut inside of his marker to bend home a smart left-footed finish.
Skipper Joe Pigott has been a threat from set-pieces and he went close midway through the opening period as the hosts pushed for a second.
The Dons didn’t find another goal before the break, but they did receive a boost of sorts just before the interval. Blackpool were reduced to 10 men, with Robson dismissed following a poor tackle on Reilly.
Wimbledon went in search of a second goal to kill the game off straight after the restart, with Ethan Chislett going close before Pigott was superbly denied by Chris Maxwell in the visiting goal.
The visitors had their moments despite their numerical disadvantage, but the game was effectively put beyond their reach in the final 15 minutes. Ballard was the second Blackpool player to be given his marching orders after an aerial collision with McLoughlin.
The Dons have made a habit of throwing away points from winning positions so far this season, but they made the most of their two-man advantage to see the game out and record their first victory at their temporary home – and their last there – ahead of their emotional return home to Plough Lane on Tuesday.
See Friday’s South London Press for interviews with manager Glyn Hodges, commercial director Ivor Heller and former chief executive Erik Samuelson about the Dons’ return to their spiritual home.
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