BRISTOL ROVERS 1
Clarke-Harris 43 pen
AFC WIMBLEDON 2
Forss 70 Pigott 84
BY LAURENCE LOWNE AT THE MEMORIAL STADIUM
Hard on the heels of Wimbledon’s unsatisfactory performance and 0-1 defeat at Tranmere Rovers last Saturday came this tough fixture away to Bristol Rovers.
Wimbledon manager Glyn Hodges made one change to his starting line-up as he gave youngster Jack Rudoni his full debut in midfield in place of Mitch Pinnock, who took his place on the substitutes bench.
Much like the home game in September – which Wimbledon lost – a referee took centre stage as he gifted Rovers a lead as he ruled some sort of challenge was a clear penalty just before half-time and in the eyes of home supporters made up for disallowing an earlier goal for a foul.
That dubious penalty gave impetus to Wimbledon to get themselves back into the game and take control in what became a very one-sided second half orchestrated by Max Sanders in midfield aided by the ever-running Rudoni, who belied his years and made a massive impact.
With Sanders and Rudoni running midfield, both wide players, Shane McLaughlin and Nesta Guinness-Walker were able to put in a variety of crosses, which Marcus Forss and Joe Pigott (pictured above) capitalised upon by scoring a goal each.
The latter saw a mass exodus of home supporters before the final whistle, something which new Bristol manager Ben Garner would have been unhappy about. He has a tough mountain to climb.
Hard work, focus and support in numbers in and around the penalty box paid dividends for the Dons with the numerous crosses asking questions of the Bristol defence, which they were unable to answer.
Credit as well to the defence, who held firm in the first half and created the platform in the second for the Dons to channel their aggression and anger for a positive outcome.
The 352 Wimbledon supporters who made the journey were rewarded in an excellent way. Their number matched the formation used – 3-5-2.
Oxford United visit Kingsmeadow this weekend as Wimbledon seek to continue their home run and add more points to the total.
AFC Wimbledon (3-5-2): Trott 7, O’Neill 6, Thomas 7, McDonald 7, Guinness-Walker 7, Sanders 8, Reilly 6, Rudoni 7, Forss 8 (Pinnock 90+2), Pigott 7. Not used: McDonnell, Hartigan, Delaney, Wood, Biler, Osew.
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD
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