AFC WimbledonSport

Jack Rudoni’s role a masterstroke by Dons head coach – as League One survival prospects boosted by 1-0 victory over Gillingham


AFC Wimbledon have turned a corner in recent weeks following the emergence of Mark Robinson as their new head coach.

It was only fitting that the winner in the former Dons academy chief’s first home game since his appointment – 1-0 against Gillingham on Tuesday – came from a player that he’s worked so closely with over the years in his previous role.

Jack Rudoni has stood out consistently since breaking into the Dons senior set-up last Christmas, but in recent weeks he’s shown signs of delivering an end product on a more consistent basis.

It’s now two goals in three games for the tricky teen, who gave Connor Ogilvie an absolutely torrid evening in SW19.

Deploying Rudoni on the right-hand side of a supporting trio behind Joe Pigott could prove to be a masterstroke – his ability to effortlessly chop inside on his preferred left foot was a constant issue for the Gills’ backline.

The lively Gillingham bench would have been sick of the sight of Rudoni long before he curled a corker beyond Jack Bonham in the final moments to settle a tense game.

Both sides had their moments in a tight affair. The Dons were impressive in the first half and Ethan Chislett blew a golden chance to net the opener – Rudoni’s floated cross caused havoc in the visitors penalty area, but Chislett blazed wildly over from six yards.

Tuesday night’s shutout was the first clean sheet Wimbledon have kept this year, and only their fifth all season in League One.

It was deserved too. The Dons backline has come in for criticism this term but they put in a gritty, dogged display with some stellar defensive work to deny a bruising Gillingham frontline any real sniff of goal.

The recent change in approach has paid dividends on the ball too. There was a real bravery in Wimbledon’s desire to get on the ball in a more controlled manner. That measured approach led to the later winner with a well-worked overload on the right.

Robinson has overseen two wins in his three league games in charge. Wimbledon have failed to win back-to-back League One games in more than 18 months. Putting that hoodoo to bed at the weekend would go a long way to soothing relegation fears as we head into the business end of the season.

Jack Rudoni had Conor Ogilvie on toast all night. The shift to a wide right position has the potential to allow the Dons youngster to impose himself on games more.

Rudoni’s late winner was a beauty – a quick shimmy before bending a super strike past Bonham and into the top corner.

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