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By Adam Harwood at the Cherry Red Records Stadium
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
League Two: AFC Wimbledon 0 Southend United 4
AFC Wimbledon must be sick of the sight of Southend United after their fourth successive defeat to the Shrimpers came in humiliating fashion at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
The Dons, who ironically produced a better display for long periods than they showed in their weekend draw with Aldershot, must be dreading their trip to rivals and League One highflyers Milton Keynes after conceding three second half goals to the Shrimpers, all of which from set pieces.
Wimbledon were unlucky to go into the break one down, however. They shaded the first half with an excellent performance that did much to dispel the ghosts of their woeful display against the Shots. Jake Reeves could have put them ahead as early as the sixth minute, having time and space to run at the Southend defence before unleashing a slightly too powerful shot which clipped the crossbar on its way over.
The Dons dictated much of the first half play winning a succession of corners that caused a few frantic moments in the visitors defence. But Southend, marshalled by the superb Ryan Cresswell at the back, dealt with every cross that Wimbledon could produce while having a few half chances themselves – the best falling to Tamika Mkandawire who shot straight at home keeper Neil Sullivan from just outside the box.
The first goal came out of nothing. After another Wimbledon attack was repelled, Southend broke over the top of the Dons defence, the ball breaking ahead of home defender Will Antwi to Gavin Tomlin who looked suspiciously offside. No matter. Tomlin was not quickly closed down by Antwi and unleashed an accurate shot into the bottom corner that lacked power, arguably a younger keeper than Sullivan would have been able to repel.
Having been highly unlucky to go into the break one down, the Dons sought to show more grit and resolve in the second period. But while they continued to huff and puff around the edges of the Southend penalty area, it was the visitors who provided a masterclass in the art of set pieces.
Firstly, on the hour mark, a Kevan Hurst corner eluded everyone before reaching Cresswell at the back post, the 24 year old having the simple task of nodding into the corner from an unmarked position
Worse was to come five minutes later. Soon after Hurst wasted a golden opportunity to make it three, shooting straight at Sullivan from a one on one situation, it was his ball in from a free kick that gave Tomlin another free header for his second of the game.
While the Dons kept going, there was little quality in attack – the best chance coming from a Hew Johnson ricochet from a Sean Clohessy clearance. And the inevitable fourth came with three minutes to go. From another corner, Barry Corr had time to control the ball and fire into Sullivan’s bottom corner.
The result was easily new manager Neal Ardley’s worst since taking charge six weeks ago. While the national media is making the most of their forthcoming trip to Milton Keynes, its league points the Dons really need – and fast.
AFC Wimbledon: Sullivan, Osano, Meades, Long (Djilali), Mambo, Antwi, Reeves, Harrison (Strutton), Midson, Fenlon (Johnson), Francomb
Attendance 3,752 (582 from Southend)