Four takeaways from AFC Wimbledon’s 1-0 defeat by Milton Keynes – Reckless moments condemn the Dons to third straight defeat

A mistake from Nik Tzanev and a Nesta Guinness-Walker red card saw AFC Wimbledon suffer their third defeat in a row.

Mark Robinson made two changes from the side that lost 2-0 to National League side Boreham Wood in the third round of the FA Cup last time out – Cheye Alexander and Will Nightingale replacing Paul Osew and Henry Lawrence.

Here are Edmund Brack’s four takeaways from the match.

ALEX WOODYARD DOMINATES THE MIDDLE AS DONS START WITH ENERGY

When the Wimbledon captain has his chest puffed out and his dominating style of play on show from the first whistle, you can tell that Mark Robinson’s side are well and truly up for the occasion.

In the early stages, the Dons were snapping into challenges, the forward players were closing down the hosts, and they defended in numbers when needed.

There was a purpose to Wimbledon’s attacking advances.

They came close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute when Nesta Guinness-Walker, who was finding the freedom of Stadium MK down the left-hand side, flashed a cross along the face of goal.

DONS SHOOT THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT AS THEY GIFT MILTON KEYNES THE OPENER

There did appear to be an air of ‘no-nonsense’ to Wimbledon’s defensive structure before the opener – Will Nightingale was making his first start since the 1-1 draw with Burton Albion in October and immediately rekindled his relationship with Ben Heneghan at the back.

However, with 28 minutes on the clock, Wimbledon demolished the foundations of their impressive start with Nik Tzanev’s moment of carelessness.

Playing the ball around at the back as they looked to carve their way through the Milton Keynes press, Tzanev played the ball into the feet of Mohamed Eisa. The Sudanese forward spotted Scott Twine, who had the simple task of setting up Matt O’Riley for the opener.

While the Kiwi has saved the Dons multiple points throughout the season, it was a sucker punch that knocked all of the confidence and swagger from Wimbledon’s play.

GUINNESS-WALKER RED CARD KILLS THE GAME

It was another moment of recklessness from Guinness-Walker that handed Milton Keynes the numerical advantage in the contest and all but ended Wimbledon’s ability to get back into the game.

It could be argued that Guinness-Walker won the ball during his challenge that led to referee Anthony Backhouse issuing the left-back with his second yellow of the evening – but the 22-year-old should have known better than to give the referee that option in a match of this magnitude.

His dismissal nullified the game plan, as Luke McCormick was sacrificed for Paul Osew so the Dons could return to a flat back four.

The Wimbledon players had to work even harder off the ball against a side gunning for promotion and were unable to venture out of their own half to really test the hosts.

A MONTH WITHOUT A GOAL – FIREPOWER IS NEEDED 

It’s now over a month since Jack Rudoni headed past David Stockdale in front of the travelling Wimbledon fans at Wycombe to score Wimbledon’s last goal.

While they have had games postponed at the last minute and lengthy breaks that killed their momentum, which was picking up pace in December, Wimbledon have been unable to display their former attacking brilliance.

The Dons have only registered five shots on target in their past three outings – three against Oxford, one on target against National League side Boreham Wood and one on Tuesday night.

Despite the red card killing any attacking advances and ability to carve their way through Milton Keynes on Tuesday, creative spark Ayoub Assal was unable to get on the ball and torment their defence.

Jack Rudoni showed the most guile to try and find the equaliser and had two penalty shouts towards the end of the match, but there was never a constant menacing threat from the Dons.

 


 

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