No chance of complacency creeping in despite AFC Wimbledon’s sparkling form

BY DANIEL MARSH

Mark Robinson insists there will be no complacency from his AFC Wimbledon side – despite them edging ever closer to League One survival.

Two goals in as many minutes, via a Joe Pigott penalty and Alex Woodyard, were enough to cancel out a strike earlier in the second half from Josh Ruffels. James Henry was dismissed for Oxford after a deliberate handball in the area before the hosts fought back.

It’s a result which means Wimbledon have won four games on the spin for the first time ever since their arrival in League One back in 2016. They are five points above the relegation zone, effectively six due to goal difference, with a game in hand against 22nd-placed Rochdale to come next week at Plough Lane.

But the Dons head coach was adamant that being so close to their goal of survival won’t see his side take their foot of the accelerator.

“It’s just not the way I work,” Robinson said. “Words like complacency – it’s just foreign to the way I work and the way the players will eventually work. Whether we’ve had a great season and we’re safe, that’s the mentality this football club has got to have. As I’ve said, we have to start looking forward and not behind, and that’s what I’m determined to see happen.

“They’re a very good side so it was different. We started the game well, they edged the first half there’s no doubt about that but we finished strongly. Bizarrely, I thought we came out in the second half really well and they scored against the run of play. We looked a threat. The lads have shown great character because it was a different kind of win against a very, very good side. We’ve got to be really pleased.

“Getting the equaliser is the turning point – I’m not sure the red card is if I’m honest. Stats will tell you that [playing] 10 men means very, very little. As I said, I thought they were the better side first half and we were the better side second half, even when it was 11 v 11. I don’t see the 10 men as a massive turning point, the lads earnt that through coming out in the second half and putting in a good performance. It was the same against Ipswich, they went down to 10 men because of how we were playing and they got frustrated.”

Despite Wimbledon’s positive result, all the teams around them bar Bristol Rovers picked up wins to keep the pressure ramped up ahead of the final run in.

But Robinson doesn’t believe his side need to be reminded of the fortunes of other teams for them to stay focused ahead of the crunch clashes that remain.

The Dons boss added: “The perfect way to keep their feet on the ground is what we do day in and day out and building a culture where these things don’t matter – you come to work every day to be the best you can be. That’s the best way. That’s our environment and that’s how we work.

“They’ve all pulled out great results, but we’ve got to keep winning. As I’ve said, I believe we can go anywhere and win, and that’s what we’ve got to keep doing. There’s no point looking at results around you, we’ve got to keep going everywhere and believing we can win and that’s what we’ll keep doing.”

PHOTO: KEITH GILLARD

 


 

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