AFC WimbledonSport

Dave Hunt-Jackson’s big-match verdict on Doncaster 2 Dons 0 – the numbers don’t lie as drop danger increases for Glyn Hodges’ side


AFC Wimbledon have taken just two points from a possible 30 available – and have not scored in four of their last five League One matches.

Glyn Hodges was determined to stick to his preferred 3-5-2 system in Tuesday’s 2-0 loss at Doncaster, despite only possessing two fit centre-halves.

Leicester City loanee Darnell Johnson was thrown straight into the firing line in place of the injured Luke O’Neill in the only change from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Crewe.

Wimbledon were unlucky not to pick up their first victory of 2021 at Gresty Road – this was a harder performance to assess.

On the plus side was a promising debut from Johnson, the former England U20 international is very good in the air, looks pacey and with decent ability on the ball. He seems to have settled in extremely quickly and could very well be the best of all the Dons centre-halves.

George Dobson looked good again as he replaced Callum Reilly at half-time.

As Hodges observed after the game both sides had efforts deflected – with wildly differing outcomes.

Sunderland loanee Dobson saw his effort hit the post while Taylor Richards’ shot was heading wide before deviating to wrongfoot Sam Walker.

Given that Doncaster are clearly one of the best footballing sides in League One there was still plenty for the optimists to like about Tuesday’s performance then.

Most football supporters are pessimists though – Wimbledon’s are certainly no exception – and there was plenty for them too.

The first goal was another that resulted from a mistake and Wimbledon continue to allow their opponents too much space too close to goal.

For all Joe Pigott and Ryan Longman’s industry up top they were unable to fashion anything more than the Dobson effort. Only Jack Rudoni seemed prepared to try his luck from distance.

The numbers don’t lie – eight goals and two points from 10 games with 27 goals conceded in that time. It almost seems like the failings that led to Terry Brown’s departure are defending and Neal Ardley’s are attacking. There will inevitably be questions asked about the current management team.

The Dons are only a point from safety, in part due to the excellent start to the season but also due to the abject form of their fellow strugglers. All is far from lost. Dobson and Johnson look like above-average January signings and there are players to return from injury.

Hodges said after the match that he intends to stick to a more settled side in future and assuming injuries and Covid-19 don’t intervene too much that might just be the difference needed to improve his side’s fortunes and ensure that by the time supporters are eventually allowed into the new stadium they will still be able to watch League One football.

Darnell Johnson. A very promising debut.

George Dobson’s effort that hit the post was the best of a bad lot.

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