Midfielder fails to convert chance at crucial stage
AFC WIMBLEDON 0
BY LAURENCE LOWNE AT THE ABAX STADIUM
This was never going to be a fluent game for Wimbledon, with discipline more important than style.
But the best chance possibly fell to the wrong player on the night in the first half.
Mitch Pinnock, playing with confidence after his goal on Saturday, found Liam Trotter free in the six-yard box and unmarked. Rather than control and shoot, the former Millwall midfielder chose to try and backheel the ball wide of the goal.
Both Andy Barcham and and Anthony Wordsworth expressed their dismay at the attempt.
If taken it would have put Wimbledon 1-0 up. The moment came back to haunt then. There is an interesting point here – did either Barcham, Wordsworth or any other Dons player shout to let Trotter know he had more time before pulling the trigger?
It is doubtful, since it has often been noted how quiet this team is on the pitch. It is something the new manager must address.
Vocal sides are usually winning sides. It is a reflection of confidence, and Peterborough were a very vocal side.
Interim manager Simon Bassey made a couple of changes to the side that beat Southend United on Saturday with Joe Pigott starting in place of Kwesi Appiah and Andy Barcham replacing Scott Wagstaff.
Peterborough were in the ascendancy from the off, rightly so as a side near the top of the League One table. Love him or hate him, you have to acknowledge that Steve Evans sets up his sides up well and they passed the ball well on the pristine pitch at the Abax Stadium in wet and windy conditions, which eased as the evening wore on.
For long periods the Dons stayed tight, frustrated the home side and looked to break quickly.
The best chances fell to Trotter and Joe Pigott, but more about those soon.
It was clear why Peterborough are one of this season’s front-runners, they have pace throughout the team and players prepared to shoot from most angles and distances.
Two players in particular stood out for Peterborough while one frustrated. Marcus Maddison and Joe Ward were stand out performers – Matt Gooden was not.
Maddison has a knack for winning penalties and Ward, who has come through non-league football, is known for his pace and trickery as a wide player and previously turned out for England C.
Maddison was a thorn in the side of Wimbledon the whole night and proved he is more than just about winning free-kicks in dangerous positions by scoring the solitary goal of the night – a worldy. He last scored eight months ago.
Cutting in from the touchline midway through the second half, he strolled into position and slammed home a shot from almost 30 yards out. Dons keeper Joe McDonnell never had a chance.
It was a cracking goal and made up for the numerous misses from Godden although the excellent goalkeeping of McDonnell, who frustrated the aforementioned with outstanding saves on three occasions, was a factor too.
McDonnell was also equal to many accurate crosses from Joe Ward, punching, catching and pushing away those that came in.
Ben Purrington had a cracking game at left-back and if he had not been on form, then Ward would probably have had an even bigger impact.
Loanee Purrington has been one of the few defensive successes of the season.
Trotter’s missed opportunity was later compounded by Pigott, who to be fair had scraps to feed on most of the evening. He robbed defender Rhys Bennet and nipped into the penalty box, went past the home sides Aaron Chapman in goal and was poised to shoot. Unfortunately defender Ryan Tafazolli got back and blocked his shot on the goal-line.
There was a lot of huff and puff from Wimbledon, but not enough to score goals and win points.
The defence were very good and McDonnell put in a man of the match performance.
Attention turns now to a trip to FC Halifax tomorrow in the FA Cup second round with a 12.30pm kick off – sleep will be at a premium for Dons supporters.
AFC Wimbledon (4-5-1): McDonnell 8, Oshilaja 6, Nightingale 6, McDonald 7, Purrington 7, Pinnock 7, Trotter 5 (Appiah 73, 4), Soares 5, Barcham 4 (Jervis 68, 4), Pigott 7, Wordsworth 6 (Hartigan 63, 6). Not used: King, Watson, Thomas, Egan.