Football: AFC Wimbledon 3 - 2 Rochdale

Date published: 07 October 2019

Rochdale’s poor run of form continued against fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon who netted their first win of the season thanks to three goals in the opening 30 minutes. Marcus Forss volleyed the home side into a second minute lead before full back Paul Osew slotted in from close range. Mitch Pinnock drilled a low shot beyond Robert Sanchez to give the home side a healthy lead going into the break.

Dale were much better in the second half and were unlucky not to take something from the game. Club captain Ian Henderson, who started on the bench after illness at the team hotel on Friday night, came on and netted a brace to set up a nervy finale. Ollie Rathbone struck the woodwork whilst young striker Fabio Tavares was denied by a super save from Nathan Trott as Rochdale fell just short.

Dale’s injury crisis deepened ahead of this game with the news that Jim McNulty could face a sustained period on the treatment table with a back injury whilst Henderson wasn’t risked from the start through illness. With the options limited, Brian Barry-Murphy utilised striker Calvin Andrew as a makeshift central defender alongside Jimmy Keohane who is also not considered to be a regular centre half.

With the makeshift side, Dale will have wanted a steady start and got the complete opposite as AFC Wimbledon, who hadn’t won a single game in any competition this season, scored in under two minutes. A cross from the right was only partially headed clear by Matheson with Forss on hand to lash a volley through a crowded box and into the net.

The home side doubled their advantage 14 minutes later through young defender Paul Osew. As Dale were trying to play out from the back, the Dons won the ball back inside the Rochdale area and when Scott Wagstaff pulled the ball across goal, his fellow fullback was on hand to tap in.

Wimbledon made it 3-0 just before the half hour mark with only their third attack. Some good movement down the right was played into the feet of Mitch Pinnock who hit a low shot through the legs of two defenders and into the bottom corner.

The third goal did wake the visitors up who created a couple of half chances but couldn’t test Nathan Trott.

Ian Henderson was sent on 10 minutes after the break and his presence saw Dale create a plethora of chances. With his first touch, the leading Rochdale goal scorer headed off target.

Fabio Tavares, starting his first ever league game, thought he’d scored his first senior goal only to be denied by an instinctive stop from Trott. Rhys Norrington-Davies’ cross from the left was perfect for Tavares who did little wrong with Trott pulling off a stunning save.

Wimbledon’s Anthony Wordsworth saw a shot cleared off the line by Jimmy Keohane which started a Dale attack resulting in a goal. Ian Henderson and Ollie Rathbone exchanged passes as they moved towards the Dons goal and when Rathbone squared the ball inside the six-yard box, Henderson was quickest to react to prod it in from close range.

Barry-Murphy’s side held the ascendency and should have got another goal back in the 76th minute; Henderson inexplicably turning the ball wide with the goal gaping.

Rathbone came closer to reducing the deficit; his left footed shot crashed back off the inside of the left-hand post, across the face of goal and spun out for a goal kick.

Aaron Wilbraham thought he’d scored his second goal in as many games only to see his close-range effort chalked off by an assistant’s flag.

With five minutes of stoppage time added, the visitors tried to lift themselves once again and got within touching distance deep into the five. Callum Camps’ shot was only parried by Trott with the ball coming back towards Henderson whose deft header looped back over Trott and into the net.

Despite getting a second goal, time ran out for Rochdale and they went down to a 3-2 defeat despite their spirited second half performance.


Rochdale: Sanchez, Matheson, Keohane, Andrew, Norrington-Davies, MJ Williams, Morley (Henderson 56), Camps ©, Rathbone, Wilbraham, Tavares (Ryan 69)
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, Baah, Bradley, Gillam, Hopper

AFC Wimbledon: Trott, Wagstaff, Thomas, Nightingale ©, Kalambayi, Osew, Pinnock (Reilly 90), Sanders, Wordsworth (Hartigan 85), Forss (Folivi 74), Pigott
Substitutes: (not used) Tzanev, Appiah, Stabana, Guiness-Walker

Referee: Mr J Oldham
Assistants: Mr C Wade & Mr S Finch
Fourth Official: Mr G Maskell

Attendance: 4,068 (223 from Rochdale)

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