Match Report by Mandy McLeod
Back to league business today then, although the match was preceded by all the excitement of the JD Matchday academy launch. The match itself however began in rather inauspicious fashion for the Dons who found themselves one nil down just two minutes after kick off. A one-two played swiftly down the left by Greenford resulting in John Hill firing low past Shimell. A bit of a shocker but Dons nearly had a chance for an immediate response with Robbo, industrious throughout the game as ever, just chipping over from a direct free kick. Some end to end stuff ensued after that with some shaky and nervous defending from the Dons balanced out by excellent attacking moves exemplified by Coops who was amongst several with good chances after lovely outfield play. And so, by the end of the first quarter of an hour Dons were level – a corner from the right met by a powerful close range header from Sim Johnston.
After this, things continued in much the same fashion as before, Dons looking classy up front, nervy at the back - particularly against the swift attack and it was during this period that Shimell pulled off his class save of the match - off his line, close range, parrying high to the right to deny Greenford. Meanwhile, in midfield no one could say Dons weren’t fighting for everything. This was much better than the first half on Wednesday evening with the midfield closing down and challenging really well. As the first half drew to a close, the pressure was all Wimbledon, more attacking moves were evolving characterised by a lovely move between Sheerin and Cooper in the 31st minute – Wardy delivered a long throw, flicked on by Joe, controlled by Coops who turned and shot on goal, blocked well by their keeper, Dean Joseph.
So, it really was against the run of play that Greenford managed to go in at half time with their noses in front. In a rare attack late in the first 45, Cornwell chipped wide to Flyn whose cross was met by Hill on the post for his second of the afternoon. So, half time, a goal down but at no time did you feel they couldn’t come back and win this.
Into the second half, and the first thing of note was that their number 6, John Marlow, finally went into the book for a pretty blatant trip. Meanwhile, Sully came into his own in this half with a series of attacking runs down the left. All to nowt early on though when Greenford edged further ahead. Some dire defending coupled with a skilful run and cross by Cornwell conspired to give Flyn an easy far post close range effort. The feeling that Dons could come back from this was still there though and just a few moments later they could easily have had a penalty after what looked like a fairly obvious trip on Cooper just inside the penalty area. It wasn’t to be though, although just seconds later Greenford suffered a blow when Mark Donnolly was given his marching orders for poleaxing Danny Oakins. Nothing came from the resulting free kick but Dons saw their chance to keep up and build on the attacking pressure. Sure enough, 13 minutes into the second half, and it was Wardy who got the goal with a great overhead type of effort off a Sully corner, Dons were fighting back.
Twenty minutes or so in and Ali Russell was introduced into the play. He replaced Kevin Cooper who, whilst he’d played well, had had one of his quieter games. Just a few minutes later and AFC were level. More attacking football had resulted in a series of corners and it was on the third of these that Russell, getting on the end of the cross, hit the post. The ball sprang back to Oakins who blasted in. The winning goal came seven minutes from time. Ali Russell won the ball in the centre of the attack, beat his man and the keeper and slotted it away for a superb winning goal.
This was exciting stuff, as all matches involving AFC are turning out to be. My impression of today’s game was one of fantastic attacking football, lovely skilful moves usually involving Sheerin, Cooper, Sully and the like. The defence still looks shaky although the presence of the very confident Shimell is helping a lot. My last words are for Joe Sheerin, continually given nothing by referees and often marked by two or three defenders, he still manages to produce quality stuff, some of it almost unnoticed. Can’t wait for him to start scoring, he really deserves it.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Joe Sheerin.