Lack of goals continues to hamper Wimbledon’s efforts to climb table

PLYMOUTH 1

Ladapo 75

AFC WIMBLEDON 0

BY LAURENCE LOWNE AT HOME PARK

The telling point for both these teams is a lack of goals scored. Just nine by each in 12 League One matches.

It is a challenge for Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley and his opposite number Derek Adams to solve over the coming weeks and months. Failure to do so, will see a season of struggle.

Ardley made just the one change from the midweek defeat at home to Bradford City with Andy Barcham restored to the starting 11 and Mitch Pinnock taking his place on the bench.

Plymouth had not won a league game this season going into Saturday’s fixture and that could have continued to be the case if Jake Jervis had dispatched a shot from a yard out, rather than hitting keeper Matt Macey to put the Dons ahead with less than 20 minutes remaining.

Jervis, on loan from Luton Town, was given a warm welcome by Argyle and it was great to hear the respect after 31 goals in 127 outings for the Devon club.

At the end of the match, he wandered over to family and friends to have a conversation or two and the ball boys lined up to give him a line of high fives as he left the pitch with applause ringing out around the stadium.

It was a lovely touch. But maybe not one that would have happened if he had put his old paymasters to the sword.

Home Park is a wide pitch and Plymouth used that late in the second half. Wimbledon appeared to be very narrow at times, but made better use in the second half as crosses were put in by Scott Wagstaff and Barcham.

Home Park has been a happy hunting ground in previous seasons, except when referees have made strange decisions, such as a perfectly good goal being disallowed last season.

There are characters in the Wimbledon team – Wagstaff, Deji Oshilaja, Kwesi Appiah, Barcham, Joe Pigott, Joe McDonnell, who is settling into the goalkeeper role and  Jervis. There are two more on the bench who fit this role too – Anthony Wordsworth and Mitch Pinnock. The former is full of endeavour and an ability to shoot from distance and the latter has a touch of skill and accuracy of delivery on corners, crosses, free-kicks and thrown-ins.

Pigott had two goal-bound shots blocked in the first half as the home team threw bodies in the way and skewed another narrowly around a post in the second half. Oshilaja had a goal-bound header cleared for a corner and Jervis managed not to hit the target with the goal gaping.

Plymouth had their success from a corner, quickly taken and crossed in by Graham Carey for Freddie Ladapo to head home unchallenged from a few yards out. This is the same Ladapo who was going to sign for Wimbledon only to perform the latest of U-turns to opt instead for Southend United in January 2018.

It was not a great day to be a Dons supporter and now table-topping Portsmouth come visiting on Saturday, when a full house will be making lots and lots of noise.

What a great time it would be to secure a win.

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): McDonnell 7, Watson 5 (Appiah 83), Oshilaja 5, McDonald 5, Purrington 5, Trotter 5, Soares 5, Barcham 5 (Wordsworth 83), Wagstaff 6, Jervis 6, Pigott 6. Not used: King, Nightingale, Hartigan, Pinnock, Garratt.

IMAGE BY PAUL EDWARDS

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