BY LAURENCE LOWNE
Wimbledon manager Glyn Hodges juggled his side around, playing with just one recognised centre-half Terell Thomas – predicting that Swindon Town would play lots of balls on the ground around the penalty box – and so it proved.
A game of few chances saw both defences in the ascendancy. Connal Trueman was the busier of the two keepers and kept a clean sheet. That ensured Joe Pigott’s 28th-minute goal from a Luke O’Neill cross saw Wimbledon travel back along the M4 with all three points.
That close-range goal from the former Charlton youngster certainly silenced the crowd. Once Swindon had conceded they turned off the crowd noise coming out of the speakers, with it not returning until 10 minutes later when they won a corner.
Trueman’s man-of-the-match performance showed that lots of the coaching from Ashley Bayes is paying off with his swift reactions counting lots. A recent video where Bayes puts his keepers through their paces really focused on quick feet and hands.
Trueman has improved his distribution with throws from the edge of the box, especially during the first half and used the biting strong wind to good effect often putting Pigott, Ryan Longman and Shane McLoughlin clear with the opportunity of one player to beat.
Daniel Csoka made his full league debut. He was put under pressure in the first period but the left-back was resolute.
In the second it was opposite full-back O’Neill who felt the force of Swindon’s Diallang Jaiyesimi, who had the innate ability to fall over when the opposition came within social distancing rules. The referee, to his credit, did not award free-kicks for the antics.
Jaiyesimi knew how to beat a player, and not only did he put in a sequence of excellent crosses, but also a couple of stinging shots from outside the box. He is a player to watch, and Swindon would miss him, if he were to leave before the transfer window closes on Friday. Interestingly he was born in London and was only released by Norwich City this summer.
With Ethan Chislett restored to midfield alongside Jaakko Oksanen, Wimbledon did have a lot of attacking options, but it was deep lying Alex Wooodyard, who made a number of surging runs into the opposition half.
If Swindon had scouted the Dons recently it may well have confused his team and their tactics.
It rather suggests Hodges has a number of different game plans, easily switching from a direct style to a passing and pressing formation. This bodes well for the season, since the players appear comfortable with this approach.
Once in the lead it became a disciplined display for Wimbledon, rather than the high-scoring fixtures at Northampton and home to Plymouth Argyle.
This measured approach secured three points, and rightfully so, since this was a complete team performance.
Truman made many run of the mill saves in the first half and brave ones in the second stanza as Swindon peppered his goal – plus puts lots of pressure on at corners packing the penalty box.
Star Man: Connal Trueman who is growing into his role of a keeper with safe hands, recording his second clean sheet in another 1-0 away win. The thanks from players and team management at the end of the game spoke lots.
Best Moment: Persistence by Wimbledon players to keep to the plan. First Shane McLoughlin put in a cross towards Joe Pigott, which the Swindon defenders half cleared. Within seconds Luke O’Neill did the same from an almost identical position, and this time Pigott swept the ball home.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.