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Preview: AFC Wimbledon v Wycombe Wanderers


Wycombe Wanderers bounced back from their New Year's Day defeat at home to ten-man Exeter City with a much improved second half display to beat Chesterfield 2-1 in a League Two clash at Adams Park last weekend.

The early signs weren't promising as a lacklustre first half display saw the visitors take a thoroughly deserved lead and they arguably should have extended it before teenage defender Kortney Hause bundled home an equaliser in first half injury-time to make it 1-1 at the break. The second half was a different story as the Wanderers finally showed the fighting spirit that has been a more regular feature under Gareth Ainsworth and striker Jo Kuffour notched his first goal in his 17th appearance for the Chairboys which proved to be enough to take all three points in front of 3,492 at Adams Park.

It was a reminder, should one be needed, that performance levels needed to be maintained if this team is get results in League Two and the contrast between the first and second half was there for all too see. If the basics aren't there, such as a simple willingness to work hard, close the opposition down and to pass the ball, this is a team that will struggle. However when the basics are there, the individual abilities of the players soon come to the fore and there are several who can make a difference and win games. Not least is the versatile Sam Wood, who put in yet another impressive display after being pushed further forward on the left flank.

Manager Gareth Ainsworth made five changes to his starting line-up last time out with defender Michael Harriman handed his full debut following his recent loan move from Queens Park Rangers. Defenders Dave Winfield and Charles Dunne, midfielder Josh Scowen and striker Dean Morgan were all handed recalls after recovering from recent injuries. Defender Anthony Stewart, midfielder Matt Spring and winger Bruno Andrade all dropped to the bench whilst defender Marvin McCoy and striker Matt McClure missed out through illness and injury respectively. Ainsworth recalled himself to the bench.

It is worth noting that there have been several scouts at Adams Park in recent weeks looking at several of our younger players. It is the versatile Charles Dunne who appears to be attracting the most interest and it is believed there are already bids on the table from clubs in higher leagues. Midfielder Josh Scowen has also impressed but fortunately both players have signed new deals to 2014 and 2015 respectively. Sadly the same can't be said for winger Joel Grant, who has found a new consistency this season, as well as 17-year-old defender Kortney Hause, who has simply been a revelation since making his debut in November. Both players are out of contract at the end of this season.

Following Morecambe's 2-1 win over Dagenham and Redbridge in midweek the Blues find themselves in 18th place in the League Two table but three points this weekend could take them up to the giddy heights of 13th spot. There is no doubt a win this weekend could prove to pivotal to avoiding any kind of relegation battle, especially with a home clash with Dagenham and Redbridge following a week later. Ainsworth's focus will however be solely on the next game and that sees the Wanderers make the relatively short trip to Kingston-Upon-Thames to face fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow. The clash is likely to bring back nightmares of the 1-0 defeat to the Dons back on our 125th anniversary in September. It was arguably our worst ever performance as a Football League club and lead to the sacking of Gary Waddock.

There is a rich history between the Chairboys and AFC's forebears Wimbledon F.C. The first ever meeting between the two clubs came back in October 1921 when goals from W. Smith, Jackman and a brace from Reg Boreham sealed a 4-3 victory in an Isthmian League clash at Plough Lane. The two clubs spent many years playing at that level with the Dons winning the league three years running between 1962-1964 before deciding to turn professional and join the Southern League. That meant the next meeting between the two clubs wouldn't come until February 2001 in a never-to-be-forgotten F.A. Cup fifth round tie.

The first game ended in a 2-2 draw thanks to a second half comeback with goals from Michael Simpson and Steve Brown. It was also one of the first occasions when terminology such as 'second phase of play' was used. The replay at Selhurst Park has since gone down in legend. It also ended in a 2-2 draw after extra time with Dave Carroll cancelling out Ainsworth's opener in the first half before Simmo saw red for a foul on Ainsworth midway through the second half. Martin Taylor then saved a last minute penalty from current Dons boss Neal Ardley after McCarthy was adjudged to have handled.

The Wanderers fell behind right at the start of extra time but snatched a dramatic second equaliser in the 120th minute when McCarthy turned the ball home from six-yards to take the tie to a penalty shoot-out. It was 7-7 when Taylor stepped up to fire his spot-kick past home goalkeeper Kelvin Davis before defender Mark Williams was dealt a quick visit from karma, having taken Andy Baird out of the game (literally) with a brutal challenge earlier in the game, when he blasted his penalty over the bar to send Wycombe through with an 8-7 victory. There were wild celebrations amongst an incredible 4,500 away fans at Selhurst Park as a magical F.A.Cup run was extended to the quarter-finals.

Of course Wimbledon F.C. were to suffer one of the gravest injustices in the history of English football less than 18 months later when a three man 'independent' F.A. Commission made up of solicitor Raj Parker, then Aston Villa Operations Director Steve Stride and Isthmian League Chairman Alan Turvey saw the first two gentlemen vote in favour of relocating the club 70 miles from South London to Milton Keynes rather than see the club go under. Two years later Wimbledon F.C. effectively ceased to exist as the Milton Keynes franchise established itself as a separate club. In that traumatic summer of 2002 AFC Wimbledon was formed as the true heirs to the Dons and just over ten years later they have fought their way back to their rightful place in the Football League.

During that glorious journey they faced the Wanderers just the once, in an F.A. Cup first round tie in November 2008. The Blues were under the guidance of manager Peter Taylor and the side were in the midst of a glorious unbeaten start to the League Two season. The Dons were then a Conference side and the tie was shown live on TV. Over 700 Chairboys made the trip on a Monday night to see the visitors put in a thoroughly professional display to beat their hosts 4-1 in front 4,528 fans. The evening belonged to striker Matt Harrold who notched a hat-trick whilst winger Matt Phillips scored the first goal of his professional career.

Gareth Ainsworth will have to decide whether to make any changes against the Dons this weekend after getting such a good second half performance from his players last time out.

Dave Winfield, Josh Scowen and Dean Morgan all appeared to show no ill-effects after recent hamstring problems. Defender Marvin McCoy and striker Matt McClure are both available again after illness and injury respectively. Midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham will also be hoping to be involved after recovering from a back problem.

Defender Leon Johnson remains sidelined with a knee injury. Defender Danny Foster has been ruled-out for six weeks after undergoing knee surgery whilst defender Gary Doherty faces another month or so on the sidelines as he recovers from surgery on his back. Midfielder Matt Bloomfield will miss at least another month with a pelvic shear whilst full-back Grant Basey has been ruled out for the rest of the season. He continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his anterior cruciate ligaments.

Here's the current list of players availability...

Marvin McCoy (Defender) - available (has recovered from illness)

Jesse Kewley-Graham (Midfielder) - available (has recovered from back problem)

Matt McClure (Attacker) - available (has recovered from a groin problem)

Leon Johnson (Centre Back) - ruled-out with a knee injury (timescale for recovery unknown)

Danny Foster (Right Back) - ruled out with a knee injury (recovering from knee surgery and is set for at least six weeks on the sidelines)

Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - ruled out with a back injury (has undergone surgery and is set for another month on the sidelines)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - ruled out with a groin injury (will be sidelined for at least another month)

Grant Basey (Left-Back) - ruled out with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (continues his rehabilitation following surgery and is unlikely to play again this season)

The Chairboys starting eleven could look something like this (4-4-2):

Jordan Archer

Michael Harriman - Dave Winfield - Kortney Hause - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Josh Scowen - Stuart Lewis - Sam Wood

Dean Morgan - Jo Kuffour

Subs: Lee Harrison, Anthony Stewart, Marvin McCoy, Gareth Ainsworth, Bruno Andrade, Matt Spring, Matt McClure


AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley has faced a tough challenge since replacing the popular Terry Brown as Dons boss back in October. His side slumped to the bottom of the League Two table over the festive season but they have claimed crucial back-to-back wins on the road in the new year, winning 3-2 at Torquay United on New Years Day before beating Rochdale 1-0 last weekend. Those six points have taken them out of the relegation zone and up to 22nd place and they will now be looking to improve their home form. They have picked up just a single point in the last half-a-dozen league games at Kingsmeadow.

Ardley has moved quickly to strengthen his squad this week. Midfielder Peter Sweeney has signed from Bury and left-back Chris Hussey has re-signed today after being released by Coventry City. Both players are likely to make their debuts against the Chairboys. Left wing-back Jonathan Meades and right-winger Tony Ajala will both feature after signing loan extensions this week. Ardley has a trio of doubts with defender Jim Fenlon suffering from a virus. Full-back Warren Cummings strained his hamstring last weekend whilst striker Byron Harrison has been struggling with a ongoing back problem for the last six weeks.

The game will come too early for midfielder Sammy Moore who is also back in full training after recovering from a fractured shin bone. Midfielder Louis Harris is ruled-out after twisting his ankle whilst former Chalfont St. Peter striker Charlie Strutton remains sidelined with a knee injury. Popular ex-Wanderer Will Antwi will line-up against his former side this weekend but he is the only direct connection between the two sides. Striker Jason Prior was once a transfer target of Gary Waddock whilst at Bognor Regis Town.

AFC Wimbledon are likely to line up as follows: (4-4-2):

Neil Sullivan

Curtis Osana - Mat Mitchel-King - Will Antwi - Chris Hussey

Tony Ajala - Peter Sweeney - Stacy Long - Jonathan Meades

Luke Moore - Paul McCallum

Subs: Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz, Pim Balkestein, Brendan Kiernan, Kieran Djalili, Rashid Yusseff, Jack Midson, Jason Prior


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 18th place with 32 points from 26 games and AFC Wimbledon in 22nd spot with 25 points from 25 games.


Wimbledon Home Record.W 2 - D 2 - L 8 - Pts 8.....Ppg 0.67 (Rank-24)

Wycombe Away Record....W 5 - D 1 - L 7 - Pts 16...Ppg 1.23 (Rank-12)


Wimbledon's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Barnet (A)................Drew 1-1

Lg2: Rotherham (H)...........Lost 0-1

Lg2: Oxford (H).................Lost 0-3

Lg2: Torquay (A)..............Won 3-2

Lg2: Rochdale (A).............Won 1-0


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Accrington (A)............Won 2-0

Lg2: Cheltenham (A)..........Lost 0-4

Lg2: Plymouth (A)..............Won 1-0

Lg2: Exeter (H)..................Lost 0-1

Lg2: Chesterfield (H)..........Won 2-1


Wimbledon Goal Stats (30 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 28...Cups: 8.....Total: 36

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 46...Cups: 11...Total: 57

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 10...Cups: 4.....Total: 14

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 20...Cups: 3.....Total: 23

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 4.....Cups: 0.....Total: 4

Failed to score...................Lg: 7.....Cups: 0.....Total: 7


Wycombe Goal Stats (30 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 30...Cups: 4...Total: 34

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 38...Cups: 8...Total: 46

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 15...Cups: 4...Total: 19

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 24...Cups: 8...Total: 32

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 7.....Cups: 0...Total: 7

Failed to score...................Lg: 8.....Cups: 2...Total: 10


Wimbledon's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Byron Harrison........8

Jack Midson.............6

Stacy Long..............4

Charlie Strutton.......3

Three other players have each scored 2 goals.

Eight other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Joel Grant................7

Matt McClure............7

Dean Morgan............5

Gareth Ainsworth......2

Bruno Andrade.........2

OG..........................2

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Kortney Hause.........1

Jo Kuffour................1

Josh Scowen............1

Matt Spring..............1

Dave Winfield...........1

Sam Wood...............1


Wimbledon Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Jack Midson........24 on-target...15 off-target...0 against woodwork

Byron Harrison...16 on-target...16 off-target...2 against woodwork

Rashid Yussuff....16 on-target...11 off-target...1 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......23 on-target...17 off-target...6 against woodwork

Joel Grant...........16 on-target...18 off-target...0 against woodwork

Matt McClure.......11 on-target...14 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Wimbledon...132 on target...121 off target...7 against w'work (Rank-16)

Wycombe.....102 on target...110 off target...9 against w'work (Rank-22)


Most Assists

Wimbledon - Rashid Yussuff..........3

Wycombe - Stuart Lewis...............4


Discipline - All Comps

Wimbledon.....3 Red Cards - 44 Yellow Cards

Wycombe.......5 Red Cards - 49 Yellow Cards


League Form Guide

All Season


Wimbledon...Pld: 25...W: 7...D: 4...L: 14...Pts: 25...Pts per game: 1.00

Wycombe.....Pld: 26...W: 9...D: 5...L: 12...Pts: 32...Pts per game: 1.23


Last Five league Games

Wimbledon........DLLWW - 7 points (Rank-15)

Wycombe.........WLWLW - 9 points (Rank-8)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Wimbledon..........LDLLL - 1 point (Rank-24)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe.........LWWLW - 9 points (Rank-7)


Against Top Half Opposition

Wimbledon....Pld: 12...Pts: 7.....Pts per game: 0.58...(Rank-24)

Wycombe......Pld: 14...Pts: 13...Pts per game: 0.93...(Rank-21)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Wimbledon....Pld: 13...Pts: 18...Pts per game: 1.38...(Rank-18)

Wycombe......Pld: 12...Pts: 19...Pts per game: 1.58...(Rank-15)


Record in the First Half of games

Wimbledon.....W: 7...D: 5...L: 13....Pts: 26 (Rank-21)

Wycombe.......W: 9...D: 9...L: 8......Pts: 36 (Rank-8)


Record in the Second Half of games

Wimbledon.....W: 5...D: 12...L: 8.....Pts: 27 (Rank-22)

Wycombe.......W: 5...D: 10...L: 11...Pts: 25 (Rank-23)


Previous Meetings

2008/09 FAC: AFC Wimbledon 1 Wycombe 4

2012/13 Lg2: Wycombe 0 AFC Wimbledon 1


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Gary Sutton from Lincolnshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2005. Last season he took charge of Wycombe's 1-1 draw at Colchester United. During the current campaign he's issued 5 red and 59 yellow cards in 20 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: AFC Wimbledon 0 Wycombe 2

Len: AFC Wimbledon 1 Wycombe 2




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 10 2013

Time: 3:12PM

 

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