Memorable week for Dons as fans raise £5m towards Plough Lane return and Glyn Hodges’ side take a point at League One leaders

ROTHERHAM 2
Crooks 60 Ladapo 81
AFC WIMBLEDON 2
Sanders 30 Appiah 90+3
BY DAVE HUNT-JACKSON AT NEW YORK STADIUM

AFC Wimbledon capped a memorable week as they snatched an unlikely point.

Kwesi Appiah’s injury-time penalty after man of the match Joe Pigott was fouled late on saw the South London side move seven points clear of  the League One drop zone as they added to Tuesday’s impressive result against promotion chasing Ipswich.

Pigott is neither a targetman nor suited to the role of lone striker, but that didn’t stop him running himself into the ground for the Wimbledon cause and his team-mates followed suit.

Conditions, as the Dons had to deal with Storm Dennis as well as Storm Rotherham, were tough to say the least but Glyn Hodges’ side are made of stern stuff.

There is much of the old Crazy Gang spirit about this group and while they conceded two poor goals and were run ragged for much of the match, their effort and commitment was there for all to see and for the 248 travelling fans to admire.

Hodges was a feisty player and he is also a feisty manager, spending more time berating the fourth official than in his technical area. His side have a bit of that edge as well as some of the talent which the manager had in abundance.

Jack Rudoni continues to impress and Max Sanders grabbed a wonder goal to open his account with Wimbledon. With Callum Reilly, Shane McLaughlin and Scott Wagstaff in fine form, Hodges may struggle to fit Anthony Wordsworth back in when fit.

Of course this week was less about on-field heroics than off-the-field ones as the Plough Lane Bond was less than £100,000 short of its £5million target by the time Appiah’s penalty hit the net.

This was a remarkable feat in barely a month by a group of supporters who continue to refuse to let their club die or cede control of their destiny.

It was somehow fitting that the return to Plough Lane, against all the odds, was confirmed in a week where the Dons, in typical Wimbledon style, bloodied the noses of the league leaders. The original Crazy Gang were renowned party poopers and this incarnation are looking to emulate them while eyeing a party of their own.

There are signs that as the Dons return to their spiritual home they will take with them a Wimbledon team reminiscent of the last side to grace a Plough Lane pitch.

Plenty of homesgrown talent and plenty of fighting spirit – and fans that insist on nothing less.
That, after all, is the Wimbledon Way.

AFC Wimbledon (3-6-1): Day 8, O’Neill 6 Reilly 7, Bech Sorensen 6, Thomas 7, Wagstaff 7 (Pinnock 73), Rudoni 8( McDonald 90), Osew 7, Sanders 7, McLoughlin 7 (Appiah 83), Pigott 8. Not used: Trott, Guinness-Walker, Roscrow, Hartigan.

PICTURES BY SEAN GOSLING

 


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