DONS HIT BY GULLS

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay  Photo: © Michael Fisher

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay Photo: © Michael Fisher

AFC WIMBLEDON 0 TORQUAY UNITED 2

This was my first visit of the 2013/14 League 2 season to Kingsmeadow. The day was sunny but cold and the pitch seemed in good condition as the two teams came out from the dressing rooms.

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay  Photo: © Michael Fisher

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay Photo: © Michael Fisher

It looked like our mascot Haydon might get a call-up to the first team in the absence of Harry Pell who called in sick with a stomach bug. Certainly the Dons could have done with his enthusiasm in the first half, when there were times that the defence seemed asleep.

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay  Photo: © Michael Fisher

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay Photo: © Michael Fisher

Going into the game the Dons were in 14th place in the table while Torquay United were one from bottom. The visitors also had a new manager Chris Hargreaves. The West Country club was once managed by Irishman Frank O’Farrell in the 1960s.

AFC Wimbledon mascot Haydon the Womble  Photo: © Michael Fisher

AFC Wimbledon mascot Haydon the Womble   Photo: © Michael Fisher

The visitors took the lead after 29 minutes through defender Krystian Pearce and doubled their advantage before the break when on-loan striker Jayden Stockley scored two minutes before the break. That last 15 minutes of the first half was some of the worst football I have ever seen from AFC Wimbledon from my vantage point in the Paul Strank stand.

Nongshim Stand looking well  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Nongshim Stand looking well Photo: © Michael Fisher

Dons’ manager Neal Ardley was forced to ring the changes during the break and made a double substitution. He introduced wingers Chris Arthur and Kevin Sainte-Luce in place of Alan Bennett and Luke Moore. That meant a switch back to a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation from the 3-5-2 preferred by the boss in recent times.

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay  Photo: © Michael Fisher

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay Photo: © Michael Fisher

Playing towards the Nongshim Stand, Sainte-Luce provided just what the fans behind that goal were looking for when he powered down the right and was sent sprawling by Kevin Nicholson, who received a booking for the challenge. Callum Kennedy sent over a cross that Torquay keeper Michael Poke parried before a Dons’ player could get a touch. Wimbledon finally started to exert a spell of pressure just before the hour, but the visitors’ defence held firm.

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay  Photo: © Michael Fisher

AFC Wimbledon v Torquay Photo: © Michael Fisher

The attendance was good – 4,339. Of those, 402 made the trip from Torquay and they were the ones who went away happy that their side had secured three valuable points. For Neil Ardley, it’s back to the drawing board. He certainly wasn’t happy with his side’s performance.

Will Antwi looks for the ball: AFC Wimbledon v Torquay  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Will Antwi looks for the ball: AFC Wimbledon v Torquay Photo: © Michael Fisher

WIMBLEDON

Today (Saturday) I am making my first visit of the 2013/14 season to Kingsmeadow in London. My club AFC Wimbledon are taking on Torquay who are languishing one from bottom of League 2, just above Northampton. I hope the Dons will build on their success of last week which followed a run of close defeats or draws. AFC Wimbledon are 14th in the table at the moment. On the way from Birmingham last night (Friday), the train stopped momentarily at Milton Keynes Central station but thankfully it was soon on its way out of Franchise town!  I lunched in the hospitality suite before the game.
AFC Wimbledon 0 Torquay United 2
A very disappointing first half (last 15 minutes of) but better signs with a different formation in 2nd half. Good support for Torquay (400). They managed to make their presence felt and went away very happy with three points secured. A small section of Dons fans booed the team as they went in at half time having conceded two sloppy goals in the 15 minutes before the break. Very bad defence let in the second goal certainly. Back to the drawing board by manager Neil Ardley and a consideration of a fresh formation as the first half line-up did not work (albeit with the late withdrawal of Harry Pell).