Peterborough 0 v Wimbledon 1
Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley praised his side as ‘faultless’ following their 1-0 win at Peterborough on Saturday (22 October) that propelled them into the play-off positions.
The Dons made no fewer than six changes from the side that lined up in the previous game against Bury but still dominated this match from start to finish, the only disappointment being the single-goal margin of victory.
‘It was the most one-sided game I’ve ever been involved in,’ Ardley told the club’s website. ‘They were faultless in the way they went about the game plan.
‘The only thing I can criticise them about is the goal difference and we could have won by four.’
As well as five optional changes made to the starting XI, the Dons lost Darius Charles during the warm-up which meant that Will Nightingale stepped in to partner debutant Chris Robertson in the heart of defence.
But their defensive prowess was secondary as the Dons attacked from the start, getting their reward with just 10 minutes on the clock.
George Francomb’s deep corner was headed back into the mix by Jon Meades and Tom Elliott leapt at the far post to head home from close range and put the Dons ahead.
The Dons came close to extending their lead twice in the following minutes, first with Elliott forcing a save from Posh keeper Luke McGee, then from the corner Chris Whelpdale’s effort being saved by McGee and Nightingale’s follow-up cleared off the line.
Whelpdale then shot over the bar, Tom Beere had an effort deflected wide and McGee saved from Meades as the Wimbledon onslaught continued.
Elliott came closest yet just after the half hour when he cantered clear following Barry Fuller’s long pass. Although McGee saved his initial shot, Elliott reacted smartly to connect with the rebound only to see it bounce clear off the post as Posh’s prayers were answered.
It wasn’t until a minute before the break that James Shea was forced into action for the first time, saving from Callum Chettle and provoking sardonic cheers from the home supporters.
Wimbledon sat deeper in the second period, with Nightingale and Meades both given opportunities to show their resolute characteristics in defence as the home side’s ambitions enjoyed a tentative renaissance.
But the match ended as it began, with Wimbledon on the front foot for a protracted period. Twice substitute Lyle Taylor – on for the injured Whelpdale – shot over and Francomb also saw a shot blocked as the Dons pressed.
Elliott’s luck was again out in the 75th minute as he latched on to Jake Reeves’ ball over the top and delicately lobbed the onrushing McGee with the outside of his boot, only for the ball to again hit the post and rebound away from goal.
The impetus continued, with Nightingale heading just wide and Taylor also lobbing narrowly off target.
But in the closing moments it was Shea who secured the win for the Dons, palming over from underneath his bar to deny Andrew Hughes an unlikely equaliser for the home side.
Wimbledon next host Bradford City at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (29 October) before travelling to Bury in the FA Cup first round the following weekend.
Peterborough: McGee, Smith, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Hughes, Forrester (Moncur 72), Chettle (Edwards 45), Da Silva Lopes, Maddison, Taylor, Nichols. Subs not used: Tyler, White, Stevens, Binnom-Williams, Oduwa.
Booked: Edwards 71, Taylor 79.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Robertson, Meades, Nightingale, Whelpdale (Taylor 58), Reeves, Francomb (Bulman 91), Beere (Parrett 71), Barcham, Elliott. Subs not used: Barnett, McDonnell, Egan, Charles.
Goalscorer: Elliott 10.
Booked: Fuller 84.
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October 24, 2016