Déjà Vu As Defensive AFC Wimbledon Lose At Charlton

Charlton Athletic 1 v 0 AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon sank to another defeat as they lost 0-1 at Charlton Athletic on Saturday (28 October) – and while there normally wouldn’t be much shame in losing to the fourth-placed side, the entirely predictable nature of Wimbledon’s performance has increased the speculation surrounding manager Neal Ardley’s future.

The predictability of things must surely have left Wimbledon fans with a sense of déjà vu: from the pre-match comments by Ardley suggesting that the team is playing well and just needs a change of luck; to the appearance on the team sheet of three defensive midfielders; to a dearth of attacking intent as striker Lyle Taylor was left to plough a frustrated lone furrow up front; to the pedestrian style of play; to the eventual goal conceded – all will have been extremely familiar to anyone who has watched AFC Wimbledon in 2017.

Even the goalscorer, Ricky Holmes, was entirely predictable as the winger notched his traditional goal against the Dons. The former Chelmsford man has made a habit out of scoring against the Dons ever since he first featured against them back in Conference South days.

The cumulative effect is that since the 0-0 draw at Oldham Athletic this time last year, Wimbledon have played 23 away league games and won just three, scoring a dismal nine goals. And if they maintain their current goalscoring form, this season the Dons are set to chalk up the fourth-lowest ‘goals per game’ ratio of all time, with just 26 goals set to be scored by Wimbledon players.

Although Wimbledon failed to get an effort on target throughout this match, they did have one golden opportunity when Deji Oshilaja found the ball at his feet following a corner and calmly sidestepped a Charlton defender before blasting over the bar. And they almost got lucky when Charlton defender Chris Solly deflected a cross onto his own bar.

While Wimbledon were thwarted by their own lack of attacking intent, things weren’t much better for the home side. Indeed, Holmes’ goal was the only shot on target throughout the entire match. It came with 12 minutes remaining when Barry Fuller gave away a free-kick just outside the area and Holmes lashed it home across the face of goal.

Dons fans will be curious to see whether Ardley overthrows his ‘defence first’ inclinations when they host League Two Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday (4 November). They then have the dubious pleasure of displaying their talents to a national audience when they play a televised home game against Peterborough United on Sunday 12 November.

Charlton: Amos, Solly, Konsa, Bauer, Dasilva (Sarr 86), Kashi, Forster-Caskey, Holmes, Clarke (Marshall 70), Fosu-Henry (Reeves 86), Magennis. Subs not used: Jackson, Phillips, Aribo, Dodoo.

Goalscorer: Holmes 78.

Booked: Bauer 73, Kashi 81.

Wimbledon: Long, Fuller, Oshilaja, Charles, Francomb, Kaja (Kennedy 70), Soares, Trotter, Abdou (McDonald 81), Barcham, Taylor. Subs not used: Robinson, Sibbick, McDonnell, Hartigan, Egan.

Booked: Francomb 18, Trotter 37, Long 57, Fuller 78.

Att: 12,575.

By Rob Crane

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October 31, 2017