Wimbledon 2 v Gillingham 0
Wimbledon cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory against Gillingham at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (1 October) courtesy of first-half goals by Dom Poleon and Dean Parrett.
The Dons were surprisingly never forced out of second gear against the Gills, who had enjoyed a good start to the season but forced James Shea to make just two comparatively straightforward saves all afternoon.
Tom Elliott missed two early half chances – created by Andy Barcham and then Jake Reeves – as the Dons spent protracted spells of the opening period camped in the Gillingham half.
But Gillingham had a hand in falling behind in the 20th minute. During a rare foray into the Wimbledon half, they were repeatedly closed down and forced to retreat before early substitute Rory Donnelly played a woefully under-hit back pass into acres of space in his own half.
Poleon couldn’t believe his luck as he reacted quickest to canter forward, pick up the loose ball and ghost around Gillingham keeper Stuart Nelson before slotting into the empty net.
Despite their territorial advantage, the Dons failed to add to their tally although they came close as another Gillingham back pass fell to Elliott, only for Nelson to save this time.
But on the stroke of half time the Dons got the second goal that their dominance deserved. Paul Robinson was hauled to the floor in the penalty area when facing an attacking corner, and Parrett stepped up to coolly stroke the ball home from the penalty spot.
There was still time before the interval for Poleon to fire off target, and although Gillingham came forward more positively in the second half it was still the Dons who created the better goalscoring opportunities.
First Robinson headed narrowly wide from a Parrett free kick, and then Elliott did likewise. The closest that Gillingham came was from a Donnelly free-kick that flashed into the side netting.
Gillingham’s misery was complete in the final minutes when Donnelly was shown a straight red for giving the home crowd the finger, performing an encore in the direction of referee Darren England as he left the pitch.
‘We tried to go hard from the start and I felt we were worthy of our goals,’ boss Neal Ardley told the club’s website afterwards.
‘[In the] second half it was a case of “We’re going to be professional, we’re not going to give them a sniff.” We’re not going to apologise for that; we’re going to say that it’s a job well done.’
The Dons travel to Oxford United on Sunday 9 October (kick-off 12:15 pm) before hosting Swindon Town on Saturday 15 October.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Charles, Robinson, Meades (Kelly 83), Parrett, Beere (Bulman 73), Reeves, Barcham, Poleon (Taylor 66), Elliott. Subs not used: Whelpdale, Barnett, McDonnell, Robertson.
Goalscorers: Poleon 20, Parrett (45).
Booked: Parrett 61.
Gillingham: Nelson, Ehmer, Pask, Oshilaja, Konchesky, Osadebe, Byrne, Oldaker, Knott, Dack (Donnelly 14), Emmanuel-Thomas (List 45). Subs not used: Hessenthaler, Hadler, Dickenson, Stevenson, Wright.
Booked: Osadebe 27, Konchesky 72.
Sent off: Donnelly 89.
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October 8, 2016