Shrewsbury 1 v AFC Wimbledon 0
AFC Wimbledon failed to threaten an upset as their relegation worries continued with a predictable 0-1 defeat at promotion-chasing Shrewsbury Town on Saturday (24 March).
Manager Neal Ardley reflected afterwards: ‘I thought we probably deserved a point from the game. There was not much in it, other than perhaps a 10-minute spell at the start of the second-half when they got a bit of momentum up and we were up against it. Unfortunately, they have got their goal and that margin has gone against us.
‘The rest of the performance was exactly what I expected,’ he said on the club’s iFollow Dons channel. ‘We had our moments too, but we've come away with no points.’
The home side twice could have taken the lead but George Long saved Gareth Whalley’s free-kick and then Alex Rodman’s 30-yard effort was also saved by the goalkeeper. But Wimbledon weren’t out of it and had two chances of their own, but both Andy Barcham and Liam Trotter failed to significantly test Craig MacGillivray as they shot straight at him.
The home side upped their tempo after the interval and the pressure culminated with them taking the lead in the 55th minute. The Wimbledon defence failed to deal with Luke Hendrie’s cross and it fell kindly for Stefan Payne who converted from close range.
That was an end of the clear-cut goalscoring opportunities although both dies had a handful more half chances, the Dons’ coming following good work by substitute Egli Kaja who did his best to inspire his team mates with a run that culminated with Lyle Taylor’s backheeled effort that MacGillivray saved at his near post.
The Dons now face a six-pointer against fellow strugglers Fleetwood Town at Kingsmeadow on Good Friday before a tricky trip to Doncaster Rovers on Easter Monday.
‘I believe we can stay above that [relegation] line anyway,’ Ardley said. ‘I believe we have the players in there. We have to stay physically and mentally strong. Last week we probably nicked a point, but this week we deserved a point and we didn’t get it. We have home games coming up, we need to push, and try to do our best.
‘I'm not going to put pressure on the boys. They need to just go and play football and I need to give them the freedom to do it. We need to give them the game plan to do it and I'm sure if we give them that they will pick-up enough points.’
Shrewsbury: MacGillivray, Hendrie, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles, Whalley (Thomas 78), B. Morris, Nolan, Rodman, C. Morris (John-Lewis 92), Payne (Lowe 89). Subs not used: Gnahoua, Jones, Eisa, Rowley.
Goalscorers: Payne 54.
Booked: B. Morris 56, 86, Beckles 61, Nsiala 90.
Sent off: B. Morris 86.
AFC Wimbledon: Long, Fuller (Pigott 71), Oshilaja, Nightingale, Meades, Francomb, Abdou (Kaja 82), Barcham (Parrett 68), Trotter, Forrester, Taylor. Subs not used: Robinson, Soares, Kennedy, McDonnell.
Booked: Parrett 74, Taylor 88.
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March 26, 2018