BY DANIEL MARSH
AFC Wimbledon recorded their third straight win under Glyn Hodges with a resounding 4-1 victory at Southend United.
Marcus Forss put the Shrimpers to the sword with his first senior hat-trick before Ryan Delaney headed home for the Dons, Southend replying with a solitary Timothee Dieng effort on a grim afternoon at Roots Hall.
The weather on the Essex coast may have been wretched but the action was anything but, especially for those of a Wimbledon persuasion.
The Dons made the most of a dominant opening to proceedings and had a two-goal advantage after just 11 minutes at Roots Hall courtesy of a double from Finnish hotshot Forss.
The introduction of Scott Wagstaff at right wing-back has played a key part in the Dons’ recent resurgence, and his promising foray down the flank released Forss inside the Blues penalty area – he made no mistake, prodding low into the far corner.
Just six minutes later, both Forss and Wimbledon doubled their return for the afternoon. A Dons corner was recycled, with centre-half Terell Thomas seeing a strike pushed away at point-blank range by Mark Oxley. Unfortunately for Oxley and Southend, the ball fell kindly for Forss who poked home to the disgust of the home fans at Roots Hall.
However, if this was a dream start for Glyn Hodges’ men, they were awoken sharply just a couple of minutes later.
Southend responded by getting down the flanks, with Nathan Ralph’s floated delivery powered home by Tim Dieng to lift the home side.
Both the hosts and Wimbledon continued to press forward, but it was Southend who looked the more likely in the run-up to the interval, with efforts from Stephen McLaughlin and Isaac Hutchinson both blocked by the Dons backline.
Just seven minutes after the interval,Wimbledon were back in the ascendancy to effectively kill off the game.
Delaney was bundled over from a Dons corner, leading to Forss sealing his trio of goals with an emphatic penalty, slamming the ball into the top right-hand corner.
The hosts failed to muster anything coherent in response in a lacklustre showing, who were condemned to more misery courtesy of Delaney – his towering header sealing the points in the 72nd minute of a superb Wimbledon away performance.
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD