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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

1-3
21 August 2018 Venue The Cherry Red Records Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Match Reports

AFC Wimbledon 1-3 Walsall

21 August 2018

The Saddlers made it three straight wins in all competitions with a battling victory at previously unbeaten AFC Wimbledon.

A high-octane start saw both teams go close, with the in-form Morgan Ferrier particularly lively for the Saddlers.

One typically powerful run from the ex-Boreham Wood forward was snuffed out by the Dons defence, while strike-partner Andy Cook sent a speculative long-range half-volley wide.

Mitch Pinnock almost put the hosts ahead on 12 minutes, driving at the visitors’ backline and firing a left-footed shot inches wide from 20 yards.

The hosts hadn’t conceded a goal in their previous three league games – but their defence was finally breached on 16 minutes thanks a moment of brilliance from Morris.

Collecting Andy Cook’s knock-down, the winger shifted the ball onto his left foot and hit a swerving, dipping strike which deceived keeper Tom King and nestled into the roof of the net.

The all-action Ferrier was causing major problems; on 24 minutes he drove forward menacingly down the left and drew a smart save from King with a fierce shot from a narrow angle.

Walsall were pushed back in the final 20 minutes of the half as Wimbledon responded strongly, with Dean Keates’ men having to repel wave after wave of attacks.

Anthony Wordsworth went closest with a terrific outside-of-the-boot 25-yard drive which whistled inches wide.

Kwesi Appiah miskicked after Liam Roberts failed to gather a high ball, Andy Barcham fired straight at the keeper and an unmarked Appiah headed Ben Purrington’s cross over.

Pinnock curled a 30-yard free-kick just off target, while Jack Fitzwater, Luke Leahy and Jon Guthrie each made vital defensive interventions as the Dons laid siege on the Walsall goal.

Neal Ardley’s side continued where they had left off after the break – an off-balance Pigott issuing an early warning as he fired wide on the turn.

James Hanson entered the fray on the hour and should have levelled with a free header from a Pinnock corner which he directed over.

But instead Wimbledon found themselves two goals down with 20 minutes left as Nightingale scored a calamitous own goal.

The Dons defender attempted to pass the ball back to his keeper, who had moved wide of his goal, but haplessly kicked the ball into the middle of his own net.

Lady luck was again on the Saddlers’ side as it became 3-0 ten minutes later.

Toby Sibbick smashed his attempted clearance against Andy Cook, with the ball rebounding fortuitously off the striker and rolling into the bottom corner.

Like against Tranmere and Gillingham previously, Walsall’s hopes of a clean sheet were dashed late on as Appiah bundled home an 87th-minute consolation from close range.

But that couldn’t put a dampener on another excellent night for the Saddlers, who have now taken ten points from four league games.

 

Saddlers team (4-4-2): Roberts; Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Leahy; Morris (Wilson 78’), Osbourne, Dobson, Ginnelly; Cook (Gordon 85’), Ferrier.

Subs not used: Dunn, Kinsella, Kouhyar, Sangha, Candlin.

 

Attendance: 3,887 (244 Saddlers fans).

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