Four takeaways from AFC Wimbledon’s 1-1 draw against Gillingham – they have found successor to George Dobson

A last-minute own goal from Paul Kalambayi gave 10-men Gillingham a point at Plough Lane and broke Wimbledon hearts.

The Dons thought they had won it through Ollie Palmer, who headed home in the 85th minute after meeting a Luke McCormick cross to send a packed out Plough Lane into raptures.

However, after giving away a cheap foul on the edge of the area, Gillingham found an equaliser at the death after a shot cannoned off Kalambayi and looped over the motionless Nik Tzanev.

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

THE TRIO OF PRESSLEY, ASSAL AND MEBUDE IMPRESS BUT DONS LACK CUTTING EDGE

The raw speed which Dapo Mebude possesses struck fear into the Gillingham defence from the first minute. Playing off Aaron Pressley, Mebude would dart behind the backline and allow the Dons to go long and create havoc amongst the opposition.

When the ball was arrowed towards Pressley, the on-loan Brentford forward would instantly look to set free one of the onrushing Mebude or Ayoub Assal.

As for Assal, who has become a prominent figure under Robinson, he hung on the shoulder of the last defender, waiting to pounce on any through ball.

The trio recorded seven shots on target in the first half but lacked the cutting edge to find a way past Jamie Cummings.

The second half was a similar story. Before the pair were substituted, both Pressley and Mebude tested the Gillingham keeper but lacked conviction in their efforts to find the breakthrough.

Palmer broke the deadlock in the 85th minute, but the Dons were left to rue their missed chances earlier in the game as the visitors equalised right at the death.

GEORGE MARSH – THE NATURAL REPLACEMENT FOR GEORGE DOBSON

The 22-year-old (pictured), who joined in the summer on a free transfer from Spurs, was handed his first league start this evening in a Wimbledon shirt, and the holding midfielder didn’t disappoint.

Marsh set the game’s tempo, forging a coherent relationship with Alex Woodyard in the centre of the pitch and breaking between Steve Evans’ side with pinpoint passes. Marsh remained calm under the Gillingham pressure, looking for pockets of space to drive into rather than punt the ball out and lose possession.

Marsh, who recorded a pass success rate of 79 per cent, showed his determination to track back and recover possession four times in the 90 minutes.

WIMBLEDON STOP THE GOAL LEAK

Despite agonisingly conceding in the last minute, the Dons had conceded three goals in their previous three home games at Plough Lane.

Tzanev made two crucial saves before half-time to ensure the home side went into the break level, getting down well to his left to smother Ollie Lee’s shot from point-blank range and throwing his body in front of Ben Reeves’ effort.

DEPTH COULD PROVE FRUITFUL 

Wimbledon’s decent strength in depth could be the deciding factor when the league enters its crucial period in the hectic festive schedule.

Robinson made seven changes from the side that drew 3-3 with Bolton last time out. In came Aaron Pressley, Dapo Mebude, George Marsh, Henry Lawrence, Paul Osew, Paul Kalambayi and Dan Csoka for their first starts of the season.

With the squad yet to gel together and Jack Rudoni and Nesta Guinness-Walker missing this evening, Robinson’s team still has plenty of factors that need bedding in.

PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD

 


 

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