Cardiff 1 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon fell at the first hurdle in the Capital One Cup as they lost 1-0 at Cardiff City on Tuesday night (11 August).
The Dons haven’t won in this competition since returning to the Football League in 2011 and were facing a tough task against Cardiff, recently in the Premier League.
But the Dons took the game to the hosts as they sought an equaliser to Cardiff’s goal, which came just before half-time, with substitute Tom Elliott coming closest when he hit the bar.
Boss Neal Ardley chose to start in a 4-4-2 formation, only reverting to the 3-4-3 that he has favoured in recent matches as they chased the game, with the return of popular defender Will Nightingale particularly welcomed by supporters.
Nightingale and his defensive colleagues were put under early pressure as Cardiff sought to get a quick breakthrough, with on-loan Newcastle winger Sammy Ameobi setting up Eoin Doyle and Aron Gunnarsson firing in an effort that were both off target.
But the Dons started to come into it as the half progressed and produced a slick passing move to create the best opportunity of the first period as Callum Kennedy, Sean Rigg and Lyle Taylor all combined to create an opening for Jonathan Meades against his old club, only for the midfielder to shoot wide.
Wimbledon fell behind on the stroke of half-time, shortly after James Shea had turned away an Ameobi effort. This time he was left grasping as George Francomb gave away a free-kick 20 yards out and Craig Noone stepped up to launch it directly into the back of the net and put Cardiff 1-0 ahead.
The game opened up as Wimbledon chased a second-half equaliser, with Bayo Akinfenwa and Taylor both having efforts off target, while Ameobi and Noone did likewise for the hosts.
And the Dons stepped up the tempo even more around the hour, almost snatching the equaliser when Francomb took a quick throw-in and Meades crossed only for Taylor to steer his effort off target.
Taylor was off-target again following a Sean Rigg cross, but it was substitute Elliott who came closest following a triple substitution as he headed a Francomb corner against the woodwork.
Shea had to be alert at the other end to deny Kenwyn Jones, but it was the home side who went through to the next round when the final whistle blew.
The Dons have a chance to renew acquaintances with Crawley Town when they visit the Sussex club on Saturday (15 August) before hosting big-spending Cambridge United at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday 18 August.
Cardiff: Wilson, Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Da Silva, Noone, Gunnarsson, O’Keefe, Ameobi (Harris 73), Doyle, Revell (Jones 68). Subs not used: Ralls, Mason, Moore, M. Kennedy, Ajayi.
Goalscorer: Noone 45.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Robinson, C. Kennedy, Francomb (Barcham 69), Bulman, Nightingale, Meades, Akinfenwa (Elliott 69), Rigg, Taylor (Azeez 69). Subs not used: Reeves, Fitzpatrick, Osborne, McDonnell.
Booked: Meades 26.