Wimbledon 0 v Southend 2
Wimbledon produced one of their most lacklustre displays of the season as they meandered to a home 2-0 defeat against Southend United on Saturday (25 March).
The Dons’ performance saw them fail to trouble visiting goalkeeper Ted Smith without a shot on target throughout the match, and the ironic cheers from the home fans that greeted the final whistle and the end of the turgid display told their own story.
Manager Neal Ardley didn’t hold back in his criticism of the players during a post-match interview for DonsPlayer.
“What we got was flat, abject, and a lack of desire,” he said. “It was a lack of competitive edge, a lack of responsibility, and people passing the buck.
“When all those qualities are lacking, it can make you look the worst team in the league.
“I want the players to be embarrassed by it. I feel like I had more passion and go in me on the side than the team did on the pitch.
“That hurts and it is embarrassing. It has not happened too often in my time, but it has happened today. I want the boys to go home and feel it because I want a response from them.”
The tone for the afternoon was set early on when James Shea was forced to produce a good save to deny Anthony Wordsworth.
The visitors took the lead in the 35th minute when Nile Ranger meandered past several half-hearted Wimbledon challenges in the box before casually slotting home from a narrow angle.
The second period mirrored the first with negligible Wimbledon impact and a solitary goal for the visitors.
It came in the 64th minute when Ranger’s shot fell into the path of Simon Cox and he unleashed a blistering shot into the back of the net to help maintain his side’s play-off push.
Even the replacement of ineffectual pair Lyle Taylor and Tom Elliott failed to spark Wimbledon into any sort of potency.
And the visitors nearly wrapped it up when Theo Robinson broke clean through but fired against the post.
The Dons will be hoping to produce the sought-after response when they entertain Rochdale on Tuesday 28 March before starting April with a Fool’s Day visit to strugglers Port Vale.
Wimbledon: Shea, Robinson, Nightingale, Charles, Francomb, Meades, Reeves, Soares (Parrett 68), Taylor (Poleon 83), Elliott (Barnett 82), Barcham. Subs not used: Fitzpatrick, Kelly, McDonnell, Egan.
Booked: Taylor 70.
Southend: Smith, Demetriou, Ferdinand, Thompson, Coker, Atkinson, Wordsworth, Leonard, McLaughlin, Ranger, Cox (Robinson 76). Subs not used: White, Timlin, Fortuné, Amos, McGlashan, Inniss.
Goalscorers: Ranger 35, Cox 64.
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March 27, 2017