Dons doing damage to themselves as Scunthorpe gratefully accept goalscoring gifts

AFC WIMBLEDON 2

Trotter 49 Appiah 55

SCUNTHORPE UNITED 3

Morris 8, 32 Ugbo 52

BY SAM SMITH AT THE CHERRY RED RECORDS STADIUM

It is a damning indictment of AFC Wimbledon’s home form that there now exists a worrying trend of the Dons being the architects of their own failures.

At the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday, the South Londoners bought the gifts, carefully wrapped them up and presented them to a Scunthorpe side who barely had to work for the three goals they scored.

And it has been the same story for much of the season. Last month Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole was given the capacity of the penalty area to fire in a late winner after Neal Ardley’s side had led for most of the game, against West Ham in the EFL Cup they went ahead but proceeded to go down to 10 men after just 18 minutes and the Hammers eventually dismantled them.

But new lows were reached against Scunthorpe. It took just eight minutes to be breached, Josh Morris took advantage of Tom King’s lack of concentration and whipped a right-wing free-kick over the Wimbledon goalkeeper’s head and underneath the crossbar.

Trotter opens the scoring for the Dons

Dons fans would perhaps be more inclined to accept the failure to win any of their five home games this season if there was not such a continuous stream of errors.

There is also a strong sense of injustice. Andy Barcham whizzed around James Perch down Wimbledon’s left and his cross appeared to strike the hand of Charlie Goode, but referee Charles Breakspear refused to give the first of several Wimbledon penalty shouts.

Breakspear would go on to receive the wrath of the Wimbledon fans on plenty of occasions, not least when Joe Pigott was cleaned out while leading a counter-attack – only for the official to bizarrely wave play on.

But Wimbledon’s fundamental problem lies within. The back four was caught far too high up the pitch just after the half-hour mark and two simple, unchallenged passes in midfield saw Morris through on goal and he slotted his second strike beyond King.

Barcham and Colclough battle for the ball

The last time Wimbledon won at home was April 10 against Charlton. The last player to score a winning goal for the Dons at home was Lyle Taylor, now banging them in for the Addicks.

And perhaps this is part of the problem. Seven of the starters from that victory against Charlton are no longer at the club. This is effectively a brand new team, a far younger squad still learning things about each other. Maybe it will take a while longer than expected for them to blossom.

That inexperience was encapsulated in the 10 minutes after half-time, which proved to be the most crucial 10 minutes of this whole fixture.

Liam Trotter headed home two minutes into the second half and momentarily Wimbledon had all the momentum. An equaliser and even a winner were within the grasp of the Dons.

Kwesi Appiah saw two efforts go amiss before Scunthorpe were unforgivably allowed to restore their two-goal lead. Ryan Colclough beat Ben Purrington far too easily down Scunthorpe’s right and he crossed for Ike Ugbo to prod home from six yards.

Appiah heads home the second

Wimbledon had gone from potentially turning this game around to throwing it away within a mere matter of minutes.

They tried their hardest to get back into the game. Had they kept Scunthorpe’s goals down to just the two they would have had an excellent chance.

Their only hope was recent history repeating. Scunthorpe had led 3-1 at home to Rochdale last week and ended up being pegged back to 3-3, but this is a Dons side whose only league goals this season before Trotter’s header had all been scored by Pigott. Goals have scarcely been regular.

Appiah’s excellent header gave Wimbledon the slightest hope, and they came close to adding a surprise third when Deji Oshilaja had an effort cleared off the line.

There is more than enough evidence to give credence to the argument that Wimbledon will improve, that they will soon get that elusive home win. But it will not come while they insist on creating the opposition’s success.

Wimbledon (4-4-2): King 4, Watson 5 (Sibbick 90), Oshilaja 5, McDonald 5, Purrington 5, Wagstaff 5 (Jervis 67, 6), Soares 5, Trotter 5, Barcham 5 (Pinnock 63, 6), Pigott 6, Appiah 5. Not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Garratt, Wordsworth.

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