Wimbledon 0 v Plymouth 2
Wimbledon were made to pay for not capitalising on their early dominance as they went down to a 2-0 opening-day reverse at the hands of Plymouth Argyle on Saturday (8 August).
The Dons came out of the blocks at a gallop as they laid siege to the Plymouth goal during the opening stages.
But a wonder strike from Gregg Wylde and a deflected Graham Carey goal either side of half-time condemned the Dons to defeat and left them scratching their heads.
The Dons forced four corners in the opening six minutes with debutant Andy Barcham causing the Plymouth defence no end of problems down their right flank.
Bayo Akinfenwa went close following a George Francomb cross, Tom Elliott and Akinfenwa combined to set up a chance for Barcham that Luke McCormick saved, and Jake Reeves setting up Barcham only for the former Portsmouth man to fire over the bar.
But the breakthrough didn’t come for Neal Ardley’s men and, as half chances continued to come and go, the visitors gradually clawed their way back into the game.
James Shea in the Wimbledon goal had been tested just once – turning around a Wylde effort after the frontman was played in by Hiram Boateng – so it was still somewhat against the run of play when the visitors took the lead just before half-time.
Barcham was caught out of position as Plymouth broke down the right, giving Jake Jervis time to assess his options and produce a deep cross beyond the far post. And Plymouth debutant Wylde met it perfectly, producing a stunning volley that rocketed into the back of the net from a narrow angle, giving Shea no chance.
Wimbledon disappointment was entrenched just minutes after the interval when Carey picked up the ball on the edge of the Dons’ box, took a couple of strides and then unleashed an effort. Shea may well have had it covered, but the ball took a wicked deflection off Paul Robinson and swung over the hapless goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
It was all Plymouth now as Wimbledon ran out of ideas. Jervis and Ruben Reid both missed good chances to extend the visitors’ advantage, with Shea also producing a save to deny another Jervis effort.
The Dons continued to go through the motions and did fashion two half chances for Reeves and substitute Jon Meades, but in reality the hosts never really looked like forcing their way back into the contest.
Boss Ardley told the club’s official website afterwards: “For 30 minutes we did everything we had worked upon in training and it was just a case of if we could get that goal.
“They got a foothold in the last 15 minutes of the first half and it was a fantastic goal [by Wylde]. I don’t think we did a hell of a lot wrong.
“But we started slowly in the second half and we never got going. It was the opposite of what the half-time message was.”
The Dons travel to Championship side Cardiff City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday (11 August) before a trip to Crawley Town at the weekend.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Robinson, Osborne, Francomb, Reeves, Bulman (Meades 82), Barcham, Taylor (Rigg 68), Akinfenwa (Azeez 74), Elliott. Subs not used: Kennedy, Nightingale, Fitzpatrick, McDonnell.
Booked: Fuller 90.
Plymouth: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, Reid (Tanner 78), McHugh, Carey (Brunt 87), Boateng, Jervis, Wylde (Purrington 76). Subs not used: Cox, Simpson, Bentley, Bittner.
Goalscorers: Wylde 40, Robinson (o.g.) 49.