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League One - AFC Wimbledon vs Fleetwood Town Preview & Prediction 5th April 2021



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AFC WIMBLEDON VS FLEETWOOD TOWN 05.04.21


Following an emotional return to their spiritual home last November, the Dons home form has been abysmal, collecting a meagre three wins at their reincarnated base.

This was not how things were meant to play out, and it would be a crying shame if, when a full quota of supporters are permitted to return next season, they are subjected to witnessing their side ply their trade at a lesser level. Such a torrid run of results has the Wombles incredibly precariously placed, currently sitting in 21st, a solitary position and point above Wigan Athletic, who occupy the first of the relegation spots.


On Friday, Wimbledon travelled to Home Park to do battle with Plymouth Argyle, falling to a 1-0 defeat, meaning it's now just one win in nine contests for Mark Robinson's side. In sun laden Devon, Argyle gained the advantage after just 11 minutes. Crystal Palace loanee Sam Woods executed an audacious back-heeled finish, converting Tyrese Fornah's cross at the near post in sumptuous style.


It was almost two on the half hour mark, Niall Ennis seemingly having done enough, only to see his effort repelled in last-ditch fashion off the line from Cheye Alexander. The reprieve breathed new life into the Dons, Argyle goalkeeper Michael Cooper forced into almost immediate action. He first athletically thwarted Ryan Longman's soaring strike, before pulling off an astonishing stop to deny Will Nightingale's close-range attempt from the resultant corner. Further opportunities came and went for the visitors, Ethan Chislett miscuing from inside the area, prior to Ollie Palmer's rasping thunderbolt. Ben Heneghan found himself unmarked in the dying embers, only to see his headed effort sail over the bar, as Argyle refused to relent, holding on for maximum points. Fleetwood Town look set for a season of midtable obscurity at best, marooned in 16th place, 15 points shy of the drop zone, but also ten points adrift of the play-off picture.


Swapping Joey Barton for Simon Grayson, the Cod Army have largely been rejuvenated, going unbeaten in nine of thirteen contests since the Yorkshireman's arrival. This run has incorporated impressive scalps of Doncaster Rovers, Lincoln City and Ipswich Town. However, they have suffered back-to-back home reverses at the hands of Swindon Town, and most recently, Peterborough United. Granted, it was a narrow 1-0 defeat up against formidable opposition in Peterborough United, Posh leading scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris stealing away Town's share of the spoils with a last-gasp free-kick that drifted inside the post. Clarke-Harris almost opened the scoring after 12 minutes, Fleetwood goalkeeper Alex Cairns utilising every inch of his 6" frame to deny the terrific talisman.


The Cod Army took their time growing into the contest but eventually mounted a response half an hour in. Ged Garner could only direct an effort safely into the palms of Christy Pym from yards away before Wes Burns flashed over the bar when it looked easier to score on the stroke of half-time. Fleetwood built upon their strong finish to the half after the interval. Sam Finley's bolt from the blue stung the gloves of Pym, coupled with Danny Andrew's effort rattling the bar. The hosts paid for their inefficiency and were put to the sword by League One's deadliest scorer, Clarke-Harris now with a resounding 26 strikes to his name. With Fleetwood's season as good as done, one could view this as an ideal opportunity for the Dons to collect a vital three points in their quest to secure survival. That being said, Wimbledon have won just once in nine outings, whilst the Cod Army are unbeaten in three away trips, winning two of those fixtures.


Team News Both managers come into this one enjoying the privilege of fully fit squads to choose from. Head to Head The Dons recorded a surprise victory on the road when these sides last met in September. The Londoners reacquired the services of Steve Seddon on another loan deal from parent club Birmingham City, and the left-back marked his return emphatically. Fluidly linking with teammate Joe Pigott having embarked upon a surging run, he latched onto a give-and-go before dispatching past Alex Cairns in the Fleetwood goal for a 40th minute lead. Wimbledon were under the cosh for large parts of the contest, goalkeeper Connal Trueman in fine fettle to thwart efforts from Callum Camps and Josh Morris. The Cod Army continued to ramp-up the pressure in the second-half, Danny Andrew hammering the crossbar, prior to Camps being denied by Trueman once more, Morris also saw an effort drift narrowly over.


Ultimately, a combination of fortune and fine goalkeeping proved a recipe success for the visitors, as they clung on to a precious three points against all odds. The two clubs first did battle in October 2012, a 1-1 draw at Highbury. Since that initial encounter, results have been varied. Of the 14 meetings, the Dons have recorded five victories, as have the Cod Army, the remaining four duels ending all square.



 

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