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Match Reports

Match Report: AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Walsall

28 March 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Walsall

28 March 2023

The Saddlers suffered defeat on the road as goals from Will Nightingale and substitute Ali Al Hamdi secured AFC Wimbledon all three points.

Michael Flynn made two changes to the side which gained a point at Blundell Park last Saturday against Grimsby Town. Hayden White and Andy Williams came into the starting XI in place of Jacob Maddox and Brandon Comley who weren't involved. There was a spot on the bench for Joss Labadie who recently returned from a long-term injury and for Joe Low who rejoined the squad after representing Wales U21s during the international break.

The hosts made a bright start to proceedings and almost opened the scoring after seven minutes of play. A neat one-touch passing exchange towards the edge of the box eventually shifted from left to right, with Kasey McAteer free in space inside the area to strike an effort towards goal but it trickled just wide of the post.

Minutes later and Johnnie Jackson’s side were left questioning how the ball didn’t nestle into the net. Ethan Chislett did well to manoeuvre his way into a position to deliver a floated cross into the box and Alex Woodyward rose highest to head fiercely at goal, but Owen Evans produced a magnificent save to deny the Dons captain from close range.

The hosts continued to ask questions of the Saddlers backline and Armani Little rued an opportunity on 14 minutes. The midfielder retrieved the ball on the edge of the box after good work from Woodyard on the right-hand side but he blazed his effort wide of the mark.

Flynn’s side grew into the game after this and had their first chance at goal on 22 minutes when Tom Knowles picked up a loose ball just outside the area and took aim with a curled effort on his weaker side, but it was too high as it flew over the bar, much to the annoyance of the Saddlers number ten.

Another chance occurred on 35 minutes for the visitors. Donervon Daniels sent a high ball into the box from the lef-hand side and Conor Wilkinson met the ball ahead of his man and Nathan Broome managed to get down low to his left to pluck his header away from goal and out for a corner, which in turn came to nothing.

Both sides continued to try and find that all important breakthrough but were kept out by solid defensive lines as the first half drew to a close.

The opening minutes of the second half were even with little to report on in regards of clear-cut opportunities.

Oisin McEntee produced a nice turn on the edge of the box from a flick on by Manny Monthe on 57 minutes and manoeuvred his way into space before testing his luck at goal but his effort lacked conviction as Broome collected with ease.

Shortly after up the other end, Wimbledon took the lead on 59 minutes. Little’s corner from the right was met by Nightingale who powered his header into the back of the net.

Flynn made three changes shortly after as Hayden White, Andy Williams and Knowles were replaced by Yann Songo’o, Matt Stevens and Taylor Allen on 67 minutes in a bid to get back in the game.

The hosts would however grab a second on 74 minutes as pandemonium from a corner saw the ball eventually bundled home by substitute Al Hamdi.

Wimbledon did have the ball in the net again shortly after the restart but Chislett was deemed offside during the build-up.

Further changes were made for the Saddlers moments later as Liam Kinsella and McEntee were replaced by Labadie and Douglas James-Taylor.

As the game faded away into eight minutes of stoppage time, Dons keeper Broome denied Wilkinson once again following a looping header from the forward and the hosts preserved their clean sheet and secured all three points at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.


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