Wally Downes refusing to get carried away – as AFC Wimbledon make belief grow of a great escape

BY DANIEL MARSH

AFC Wimbledon manager Wally Downes refused to get carried away following the Dons midweek triumph over Peterborough United.

The hosts sealed back-to-back wins for just the third time this season with Joe Pigott’s late spot-kick, a result which also saw a third clean sheet on the bounce, with the Dons backline successfully marshalling one of the league’s most potent attacking trios.

But Downes remained level-headed when questioned on his confidence that Wimbledon may now be in a position to pull off a spectacular escape from the League One drop-zone.

“Well…we’re in a tough position. We’ve just got to keep plugging away and getting the results – what will be will be.

“It’s not as though you can sort of plan and strategize that perhaps if we get a point here and then we’ve got a tough away game and we can get a point there, and get them home and get three – no. We’ve got to win every game. We’ve got to approach every game like a cup final and try and certainly win the first half if we can, if we can’t [then] win the second half but, in the end, we’ve got to win the games.”

Downes’ sensible summary should stand the Dons in good stead for a massive run-in, where they take on four of the current bottom eight in their final nine games. Safety is within reach after cutting the gap from nine points to four – five effectively due to an inferior goal-difference – since the start of March.

After an even first half, Peterborough upped the ante in the beginning of the second period, and Downes’ substitutions paid dividends to turn the tide back in favour of the hosts.

Dylan Connolly, James Hanson and Shane McLoughlin all joined the action from the bench, with Connolly acting as the catalyst for the game’s defining moment after winning the late penalty in an eye-catching cameo.

“Yeah, well that’s when we had to make the change,” explained Downes when discussing the visitors’ strong spell at the beginning of the second period.

“Get James on, get Dylan to inject some pace on the wide and then Shane came on late on and added a little bit of extra quality in midfield, I thought the three subs really worked well for us.”

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