Blackpool 1 v AFC Wimbledon 0
AFC Wimbledon’s miserable 2017 continued as they lost 1-0 at Blackpool on Saturday (2 September) and had midfielder Jimmy Abdou shown a straight red card.
Neal Ardley’s shot-shy men produced just one attempt on target the whole afternoon and paid the price early in the second half when their Achille’s heel struck again: a goal conceded down the right flank.
The disappointment of that moment of déjà vu was compounded a minute later when Abdou went in with the studs of both feet showing and was promptly shown a deserved red card.
Neither side imposed themselves on a tepid first period. The highlight was Wimbledon’s sole effort, which came a minute before the break when Cody McDonald seized George Francomb’s flick and cleverly turned inside his man to bear down on goal. But Blackpool keeper Ryan Allsop stood up well and got firm hands to McDonald’s shot.
At the other end, George Long had already been called into action to save Jimmy Ryan’s deflected effort, but overall there was little to cheer for either set of supporters.
Blackpool took the lead when Sean Longstaff picked up the ball midway into the Wimbledon half, surged away from Liam Trotter, cut inside Paul Robinson’s half-hearted challenge and then fired home.
Even with the numerical advantage Blackpool did little to impress, although Long was forced to save from Kyle Vassell. But Wimbledon rarely threatened to get back into the game, even following the introduction of on-loan Glasgow Rangers midfielder Harry Forrester.
And it was the home side who ended on a high, with Viv Solomon-Otabo ‘s effort cleared off the line by Barry Fuller, Long saving from Nathan Delfounesco, and Solomon-Otabo firing against the post.
Afterwards manager Neal Ardley sounded nearly as demoralised as the club’s supporters. He told the club’s iFollow Dons channel: ‘As a group we need to be better if we are going to do anything we want to this season.
‘We cannot come away to any place – whether it is Blackpool or anywhere else – and not carry a threat. We need to have more about us. We need to play with more quality, be fitter, stronger and more dynamic.’
Dons fans will be hoping Ardley’s words finally materialise into fulfilment rather than promise, starting when they entertain Portsmouth at Kingsmeadow on Saturday 9 September.
Blackpool: Allsop, Turton, Tilt, Robertson, Daniel, Longstaff (D’Almeida 74), Ryan, Cooke, Solomon-Otabor, Vassell, Delfounesco. Subs not used: Williams, Mellor, Taylor, Clayton, Wilmer-Anderton, Quigley.
Goalscorer: Longstaff 52.
Booked: Tilt 69.
Wimbledon: Long, Fuller, Kennedy (Forrester 63), Robinson, Oshilaja, Francomb (Parrett 76), Trotter, Abdou, Taylor (Appiah 68), McDonald, Barcham. Subs not used: Nightingale, Sibbick, McDonnell, Hartigan.
Booked: Francomb 41, Trotter 67, Robinson 93.
Sent-off: Abdou 53.
By Rob Crane
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September 4, 2017