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Wimbledon win the six-pointer, but Ardley targets ‘four more wins’

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley on the touchline. Picture: Tony Marshall/EMPICS AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley on the touchline. Picture: Tony Marshall/EMPICS

By Adam Harwood, at the Cherry Red Records Stadium
Monday, March 11, 2013
9:04 AM

Monday Verdict: AFC Wimbledon 3 York City 2

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The fact that AFC Wimbledon moved up three places and off the bottom of League Two with this narrow win over York City on Saturday underlines just how tight the race to escape the clutches of the Blue Square Premier is becoming.

The Dons, along with Plymouth, Aldershot and Barnet, have been in relatively good form since the turn of the year, and this combination of teams adding to their points tally has seen Accrington, Torquay, and now most certainly York move from the comparative safety of mid-table to join the relegation mire.

And while York looked like a team in trouble on Saturday, producing little to trouble new Wimbledon goalkeeper John Sullivan, signed on loan until the end of the season, the fact that they breached the Dons’ defence twice, thereby needing a late Harry Pell winner to settle a deserved victory for the home team, shows that Wimbledon still retain the defensive frailties that have plagued them all season long. Manager Neal Ardley remains determined to change this.

“We’re hoping to make a signing early in the week to cover a lot of positions, and free up more flexibility in our selection, so watch this space,” commented Ardley immediately after Saturday’s win, which saw Jonathan Meades revert to left back after Chris Hussey pulled out ill on the morning of the game.

“When you are down at the bottom you can get nervous, and the pressure can get to the players,” Ardley added. “You can tend to over-cover, and give away silly fouls around the edge of the box which pegged us back.

“But we tried to stay calm. I’ve got a bunch of players who are giving absolutely everything and we were the better team. A home win was absolutely vital ahead of a tough week coming up, and we’re still looking for four more wins to survive.”

Brennan Dickenson is a doubt for the Tuesday game at Southend after tightening his hamstring late in the game, while Ardley confirmed that Curtis Osano will be out – although he hopes Osano will make an appearance in Wednesday’s London Senior Cup game against Cray Wanderers.

Mat Mitchel-King gave Wimbledon the lead with an excellent half volley early in the first half, but York equalised through a header by captain Chris Smith after lax defending allowed Matty Blair time to deliver a cross from the left wing. Dickenson restored the Dons lead, tapping in after a mix-up in the York defence, but Smith was on hand to head a second equaliser for York from a free kick. Pell’s 79th minute strike, another edge of the area half volley that crashed in off the far post, was enough to secure the points.

AFC Wimbledon: Sullivan , Meades, Mitchel-King, Balkestein, Bennett, Pell, S Moore, Midson, Yusseff (Darko), Dickenson (Sainte-Luce), Alexander

Attendance: 4,341 (529 from York)

Man of the Match: Brennan Dickenson

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