AFC Wimbledon 0 v Portsmouth 2
Goal-shy AFC Wimbledon chalked up their tenth blank in their last 12 matches as they meekly lost 0-2 against Portsmouth at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (9 September).
The match started with a brief encouraging spell during which Andy Barcham posed problems for his former side down the left flank, but soon descended into the stodgy, unimaginative fayre that Wimbledon fans have become accustomed to in recent months.
The Dons’ sole effort on target came midway through the first period when Dean Parrett produced a shot that deflected narrowly wide off a defender’s back – yet the officials awarded Portsmouth a goal kick as reward for Wimbledon’s efforts.
Apart from that effort, the official statistics for the match showed that the Dons had no shots on target and just three more off target.
To compound Wimbledon’s misery, they lost two players to concussion courtesy of Portsmouth players, with Callum Kennedy withdrawn on the stroke of half-time following an apparent elbow in the back of the head and Paul Robinson forced off following a clattering from Christian Burgess, leaving the Dons to play the final 10 minutes with 10 men after all substitutions had been used.
The only consolation for the Dons in the opening half was that Portsmouth were nearly as bad as they were. But the visitors were gift-wrapped the opener six minutes before the break when Barry Fuller shoved over Brett Pitman in the box, the Portsmouth man picking himself up to convert the penalty.
With Kennedy stretchered off at the break, Anthony Hartigan was introduced with the Dons switching to a three-man defence, but the young midfielder played an inadvertent role in Portsmouth’s second, five minutes after the interval, when he sliced a clearance and it fell to Conor Chaplin who made no mistake at the second attempt after George Long had saved his first.
It would have been even worse for the Dons but for Long’s brilliant save in the 68th minute, keeping out a Pitman free-kick. And afterwards manager Neal Ardley seemed nearly as depressed as the supporters, although some may question his implication that all that needs to change is the Dons’ luck.
‘At the moment, everything is a bit of a struggle,’ he told the club’s iFollow Dons channel. ‘Everything is going against us, as far as penalty decisions and goals. Hopefully, if we keep chipping away and we all stick together, we can turn it around.’
Despite their atrocious run of form, the Dons are surprisingly clear of the early-season relegation places, sitting in 18th place. They face what is already looking like an important match against Gillingham – sitting in 23rd – at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday 12 September before travelling to Blackburn on Saturday 16 September.
Wimbledon: Long, Kennedy (Hartigan 45), Nightingale, Robinson, Fuller, Parrett (Forrester 57), Trotter, Francomb, McDonald, Appiah, Barcham (Taylor 58). Subs not used: Sibbick, Kaja, McDonnell, Kalambayi.
Portsmouth: McGee, McCrory, Clarke, Burgess, Thompson, Kennedy (Bennett 67), O’Keefe, May, Lowe, Hawkins (Chaplin 45), Pitman. Subs not used: Donohue, Naismith, Talbot, Close, Bass.
Goalscorers: Pitman 38 (pen), Chaplin 50.
Booked: O’Keefe 14, May 63, Burgess 79.
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September 11, 2017