AFC WIMBLEDON 2
Wordsworth 32 Pinnock 75
BY LAURENCE LOWNE AT THE CHERRY RED RECORDS STADIUM
Hard on the heels of Saturday’s win at Wycombe, Wally Downes and Glyn Hodges conjured a come-from-behind victory against a resolute Plymouth Argyle side every bit as desperate for the points.
Without Scott Wagstaff, who hobbled off against Wycombe, the Dons management team opted to continue with Jake Jervis, who did so well on Saturday and was facing his former team.
Striker James Hanson, who had a fitness test before kick-off, only lasted 30 minutes before being replaced by match-winner Mitch Pinnock.
Both sides were set up to attack and there was plenty of willing intent, rather than skill on show.
Lining up for Argyle was Freddie Ladapo, who was given a torrid reminder by Wimbledon fans of his last-ditch U-turn on a move to the club just over a year ago. He was given poor service by his team-mates.
Graham Carey has been a thorn in the Dons’ side before but saying he was nullified would be too kind.
While Argyle had plenty of possession, it is shots and goals that win games and this contest had two crackers.
Wimbledon cleared their lines and the ball fell nicely for David Fox to launch a volley from more than 30 yards out. Speculative but accurate too – it sailed over Tom King in goal in the 23rd minute.
It was Fox’s first goal in some three years. His last one was from about the same distance and against the Dons.
Pinnock was involved in the equaliser. His cross was headed away but fell to the lurking Anthony Wordsworth, who fired a lovely shot from just outside the penalty box into the bottom corner beyond the reach of Macey for a delighful equaliser.
Soon after Jervis tried his own luck from distance, but the shot curled wide with Matt Macey beaten. Appiah had a header hit the crossbar from a Pinnock cross.
Then Andy Barcham was hauled back when through on goal and got clattered by the defender and keeper. Referee Craig Hicks deemed no foul and then a drop ball following treatment for the Wimbledon winger.
Barcham was first up to try his luck in the second half and his curling shot was superbly saved by Macey. Argyle broke free and Antoni Sarcevic will be kicking himself for failing to get his shot on target.
The Dons cranked up the intensity with a sequence of corners. Jervis had a full-blooded shot turned away for a corner by a desperate defender.
Downes made an important change with 19 minutes to go as youngster Tyler Burey replaced the exhausted Jervis – it brought fresh legs and an attacking outlet.
Yann Songo’o made a hash in the centre circle of controlling Wordsworth’s clearance and it put Pinnock free with Macey in no-man’s land. The summer signing advanced a few yards and superbly chipped the big Argyle keeper in the 75th minute. Wild scenes ensued.
Pinnock broke free and with the overlapping Burey keeping up, played a neat pass to him – Macey did really well to keep the teenager’s shot out.
There were many in line for the man of the match award – Jervis for his incessant running; Pinnock for taking on the roll of foil for Appiah; Appiah for creating space for others and having two great chances; Barcham for his crosses and running and Terell Thomas, who kept it all glued together in defence.
Anthony Hartigan has shone since the managerial change – his quick feet and mind being the link in midfield to keep the ball moving and switching direction constantly.
AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): King 7, Watson 7, Nightingale 7, Thomas 8, Purrington 7, Barcham 7 (Garratt 86), Wordsworth 7, Hartigan 7, Jervis 7 (Burey 71), Appiah 7, Hanson 6 (Pinnock 25, 7). Not used: McDonnell, Trotter, Soares, Kalambayi.