I used to like the last ground Wimbledon were playing at as you could stand outside and watch half the pitch for free, in a Marine style. Anyway, we really need to get our promotion push going as everything’s gone flat since the joys of the Lincoln pummeling. The lack of a real striker was evident again on Tuesday but we certainly created plenty of scoring opportunities and that was pleasing. O’Brien looked good in patches and took his goal well so maybe he’ll fulfill the promise that the Millwall fans said he had. The clean sheet was also a positive and I hope Willis will be back in the starting line-up again. Winchester will hopefully play some part in proceedings and he too comes with good references. I’ll be watching the game with my bubble in Sunderland and these one o’clock starts can make for a boozy, snoozy day. Wimbledon have lost five out of their last six league matches and are in a relegation spot so this game is very winnable. Match prediction: 2-1 to us.
There were several changes from Tuesday’s starting line-up with Burge, Willis and McGeady all starting while Winchester, O’Nien and surprisingly Diamond were on the bench. We had the better of the opening exchanges and we took the lead after six minutes when Embleton passed to O’Brien on the right of their box and he crossed low for Wyke to tap in from close range. The game settled down into a rather scrappy affair with both sides managing to press forward but having gone ahead for the second game in a week I was of course hoping we could snatch another. We were giving away too many fouls and Lee Johnson was heard shouting bout this. The commentator again apologized for any swearing we could hear from the dugouts but the language in our room was much worse. We had another good break in the twentieth minute and again Embleton was in the thick of it as we broke down the left and won a corner. We took it short for some reason and it came to nothing for us but allowed Wimbledon to break. They had a good move shortly afterwards that forced Burge to dive and parry the ball. We were getting decidedly sloppy and giving the ball away too much. Rudoni got the first yellow-card of the afternoon for a foul on Wyke, O’Brien has definitely taken a turn for the better and this must surely be down to Johnson’s influence. Just after the half-hour mark Walker in goal had to come out of his area to boot it clear from the advancing Wyke and as we began to look more incisive again Wyke had a decent shot that whizzed just over the bar. Embleton did the same not long afterwards and I hoped we wouldn’t rue not taking our chances as we so often have. It remained 0-1 at the break and we needed another early goal in the second-half to make the win much more likely. Still, so far so good.
Wimbledon started the half much the brighter and had several decent attempts on goal in the opening five minutes or so. We brought on Winiesta for Embleton in a like for like switch shortly before the hour-mark and he certainly looked full of beans. Commentator Danny Collins said that it was difficult to tell which team was pushing for promotion and which trying to get out of the bottom four as there wasn’t much in it and neither side was looking too impressive. Still the clock was ticking away and soon there was just a quarter of the game left. We wasted another short corner and I hoped this wasn’t going to be a regular tactic. It was time we had another sub on in my view as we weren’t doing much upfront at all and Maguire could supply that. In fact it was Diamond who replaced McGeady and I was happy with that. Burge saved our bacon as he dived at the feet of, I think, Longman and was injured in the process.
Wimbledon were definitely looking a lot more dangerous than us and it was going to be a nervy last ten minutes by the looks of things. We wondered what kind of half-time talk Johnson had given as we’d been lacklustre, okay shite, in the second period. Maguire replaced O’Brien with ten minutes left so maybe he’d introduce a bit of sparkle. Wimbledon made a triple change not long afterwards but it was us who got the next goal in the eighty-seventh minute. We finally took a long corner and it fell to Wyke who coolly side-footed it home. That wasn’t the end of the action as Pigott hit the post almost immediately and then Diamond did the same before missing a great chance. In stoppage-time Wyke got his hat-trick when Scowen ran down the middle and passed it to him so he was able to go round Walker and hit the net. It ended 3-0.
A great result but not a great performance. Anyway, for an hour or so we’re up to the dizzy heights of fifth. Bring on Plymouth.