With quarter of the season already gone, D3D4 looks back at how the Wombles have started the League One campaign…
It was always going to be a difficult season for AFC Wimbledon. the summer saw some of their key players move on and there was very little traffic coming the other way that suggested that adequate replacements had been found. Among those to go were Dominic Poleon and Jake Reeves to Bradford. Tom Elliott also left to Championship new comers Millwall. Neal Ardley did bring in Cody MacDonald and Kwesi Appiah from Gillingham and Gillingham respectively but no one was fooling themselves that those that had left weren’t going to be missed.
The season started away at Scunthorpe and Wimbledon played very well against the much fancied Iron. Nadjim Abdou grabbed a goal in the 1-1 draw in what was a more than decent point to kick off the new campaign. The next three games in August saw a 1-0 home defeat to Shrewsbury, a 2-0 defeat on the road at Fleetwood and an impressive 2-0 win at home against Doncaster with Appiah and Barcham grabbing their first goals of the season. At the back Wimbledon were looking tidy if not impenetrable and Barry Fuller was leading the team by example.
September began with a 1-0 defeat away at Blackpool followed by a 2-0 loss at home to Portsmouth. Goals were already clearly a problem for Neal Ardley’s men and it was a theme that continued throughout the month. a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Gillingham was followed by the result of the season so far for The Dons. No one gave them a chance at Ewood Park but another Kwesi Appiah goal saw them hold on for a 1-0 win.
That would be the last goal they would score in September as a 2-0 home defeat to bitter rival MK Dons was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Southend and then an uninspiring 0-0 draw at home against Rochdale. October started no better as a trip to Oxford saw them beaten 3-0 meaning they had only scored 5 times in the opening 12 matches. Defensively there are some positives to take as with only 14 goals conceded Wimbledon have actually let in less than two of the sides in the top six but unless they can find some more goals it is hard to see them improving on their current position of 21st in League One.
Andy Barcham is probably their best player so far and a lot of their best play goes through him. They have looked good at the back but need to get more out of Appiah and Cody MacDonald, who is yet to score, if they are to pick up some more points.
Most surprising player?
Barry Fuller has been solid so far despite getting no younger and has led by example. He was excellent against Blackburn in their shock 1-0 away win at Ewood Park.
Performance against expectations?
Many predicted a season of struggle and that is exactly what they have had so far with goals as hard to come by as the word ‘Dons’ on a home ticket or programme against their bitter rivals. It is hard to see how they are going to solve their scoring woes but they have surprised people in the past so it is not beyond them to get a few good results especially if the defence remains solid.
words James Richards