BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Wally Downes admitted his AFC Wimbledon side were second best all over the pitch in Tuesday night’s 3-0 home reverse to Fleetwood Town.
The below-par display leaves the Dons rooted to the bottom of the League One table.
And Wimbledon never looked like coming back from Ched Evans’ first-half double. Substitute Ashley Hunter wrapped up a routine win for the Cod Army with a third goal in the closing stages.
Dons manager Downes said: “We’ve been battling and scrapping away from home for points prior to the game against Barnsley on Saturday – we’ve worked hard, been in the games and got stuff from it.
“That’s when we’re at our maximum output and are playing well, when we’re not at our maximum output and we’re not playing well that is the sort of result you’re going to get.
“Anything below the standard they have shown me so far – the work-rate and desire shown me so far – will result in beatings like that.
“It’s the first time I’ve had a sub-standard performance from them and I hope it’s just a blip. I can accept Saturday’s result [a 4-1 home defeat to Barnsley] because they were a good side and we were in the game for a long time.
“But tonight we didn’t compete with them at any level at any time.
“If I’m being kind I’d say I put it on them that this was a game that we should be looking and needing to win at home against a mid-table side – it’s not Barnsley, Portsmouth or Charlton away. If we’re going to get out of the position we’re in we need to be taking it to them, being confident and looking to pick up points at home. Make this a place where we can afford to go away and perhaps lose one, win one and draw one. Tonight the expectation might have been a little bit too much for them.”
Wimbledon could find no response after they fell behind.
Downes said: “We didn’t have a shot until the 60th or 70th minute, it’s disappointing. All-round I thought we were second best everywhere on the pitch. All of our players were outplayed by their players and it’s not often that happens.
“They are talking about it in there.”
Asked if he was confident about adding firepower to his squad, Downes replied: “We’re in a position where, like many clubs in this division, there are Premier League loans available.
“We’ve maybe got a list of seven or eight that we’re looking at. But I’m sure there are 10 clubs in this division looking at those players.
“One of those players doesn’t want to go to a London club because his girlfriend is up north. There’s so many factors. Until something concrete happens, probably late towards the end of the window – when one moves all the balls fall in different holes and you can start making headway.
“At the moment clubs in the Premier League are reluctant to make a decision. If you look at Bournemouth they have got rid of Defoe and they may lose Callum Wilson, they’ve got a good couple of young players there but perhaps they are thinking ‘ooh, do we want to get rid of those?’”
IMAGE BY KEITH GILLARD