AFC Wimbledon 1 Swindon 1: Town draw after being denied blatant penalty

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After Swindon Town knocked AFC Wimbledon out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on penalties at the County Ground 11 days earlier, both teams met again, this time in the League and for the very first time at Kingsmeadow writes STFC007.

Having missed the start of an away game in London once due to traffic jams, a trip to London from Wiltshire by car to watch a football match is never one I look forward to. At best half the time is spent getting to the outskirts of London and the other half is spent in frustrating stop-start traffic to get to the end destination.

Today was no different, but there was good news: the sun was out, Swindon Town had sold all their ticket allocation and surely the Swindon team had learned from the mistakes 11 days prior when they failed to capitalise on the large amount of chances they created.

It was my first time at Kingsmeadow where the facilities haven’t been able to keep up with the speed of AFC Wimbledon’s meteoritic rise through the leagues. They aren’t quite Football League standard especially if you consider that there are schools in the Netherlands that have bicycle sheds that are larger than the terraces at The Cherry Red Records Stadium.

After listening to a sponsored play-list consisting of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, the Swindon Town team sheet, when it was announced, created some discussion among the supporters.

Despite Kennedy having a good game at left back in the 4-1 FA Cup demolition of Huddersfield Town, Ridehalgh coming in to replace him was not unexpected, but Risser retaining his place however, was somewhat of a surprise. A tough AFC Wimbledon side surely would require some battle hardened players in midfield and Smith would clearly be a better match to counter this physical thread.

The referee, inconsistent with his decisions throughout the match, allowed from the start several rash challenges to go unpunished, playing into the hands of a physical Wimbledon side; what they were missing in technique and footballing ability, they made up for in endeavour and work ethic though.

During some lively opening exchanges, AFC Wimbledon created the better chances and somewhat fortunate went 1-0 up in the 6th minute. A cross from the left was completely miss-kicked by Risser and a deflected shot by Hatton, which wrong-footed Wes Foderingham, found the back of the net. This scuppered any chance of the loanee goal keeper achieving a 6th successive clean sheet in the League and equalling Peter Downsborough’s 1968/1969 record.

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Town were not allowed to get into their stride by Wimbledon who seemed more eager and quicker to the ball than Swindon.

Town were closed down and put under pressure the moment they were in possession causing simple mistakes when trying to pass the ball to a team mate. This resulted in Swindon’s midfield being often overlooked as the long ball was used trying to find either Connell or Jervis upfront. Despite Connell’s obvious height disadvantage this remained Town’s approach for most of the match rather than trying to re-create the 1st half of 11 days prior when through passing football Wimbledon were made to look a very average side. Ferry was searching for an outlet but had to rely too often on the full backs coming into play which was limiting Town’s options to keep possession and to vary build-up play.

Town though created several chances and if Connell would have been more clinical and accurate with his finishing, Town could have been up at half-time. As it stood, Wes Foderingham with some fine saves, kept Swindon in the match going into the break. Reflecting on the first half during the interval, it reminded me of the Burton Albion away game earlier in September, where Swindon were bullied into defeat.

The second half was better from Swindon. Gabilondo who came on for the somewhat ineffective De Vita before half-time posed more of a thread on the left hand side. A number of blistering runs weaving between players with some good crosses created some of the danger.

The best chance after the interval fell to Connell. After Jervis was hacked down once again, this time at the half-way line, the referee allowed play to continue, a good cross found Connell, whose somewhat weak and miscued shot bobbled eventually against the far post. Luck seemed not on our side, especially after the referee waved play on after a penalty appeal, when Connell was clearly pushed to the ground – both push and player clearly much better suited for the Twickenham stadium up the road.

Esajas replacing Ritchie midway through the second half started to create more space allowing finally an outlet for Ferry to combine with and when Smith eventually replaced Risser, some 70 minutes late, Swindon were starting to apply pressure and becoming more dangerous in search of the equaliser.

When it finally came, there was initially some confusion as to who scored it. The traveling support didn’t care; Jervis took his shot well and was deflected into the goal by Connell. There was now renewed belief and Swindon could have made it 2 not long after, had Flint managed to make contact with the ball as he tried to volley a cross into the net at the far post.

Play was now end to end as both teams tried to force the winner; With 5 minutes remaining Cadis went on one of his trademark runs down the right hand side. Having passed most people that were presented to him, he was about to shoot on goal with only the keeper to beat when his legs were taken out from underneath him by Jake Midson. Instead of the referee pointing to the spot, he decided to award Cadis a yellow card for his efforts to the dismay of most people in the stands, and later disbelief of Jack Midson and Dons boss Terry Brown. This decision though was totally in upkeep with the referee’s performance thus far – well below adequate.

With only injury time remaining, Swindon were now in the ascendancy and their vocal supporters continued to urge them on whilst Wimbledon seemed happy with a point as they tried to run down the clock with a couple of injury treatments.

On reflection, a draw may well have been a fair result, but when the final whistle went I could not help feeling that we had left 2 crucial points behind, confirmed by the match stats later; if only Swindon had been a bit more accurate and clinical with their finishing with the 8 shots off target, we would have left Kingston Upon Thames with all 3 points, and not lost any ground with the teams above us in the table.

However, still plenty of games to play for, still in a Play-Off position and the unbeaten run continues!

Your STFC Man of the Match: Tie for 1st: Wes Foderingham & Lander Gabilondo both with 25% of the vote

6 thoughts on “AFC Wimbledon 1 Swindon 1: Town draw after being denied blatant penalty

  1. Penalty – well maybe but the blatant dive by Connell several minutes before probably persuaded the referee that he needed to be aware of Swindon’s professionalism (AKA…. well, I know what I would call it) and certainly both teams had enough chances to win the game.
    as far as the stadium jibe is concerned, I would rather own my own bicycle shed down the road than be obliged to go to Milton Keynes to park my vehicle.
    Caddis looked like a good player going forward but a right back? never in a million years! Did he actually win anything back there in the first half? I don’t know who thought that would be a good position for him but your dutch analogy leads me to think of a child with his finger in a dike (he is somewhat vertically challenged) but not being able to reach the constant torrent flowing down above his head.

  2. Thanks for an entertaining report. I couldn’t make the match due to a wedding but I don’t recognise the overly physical Wimbledon team you portray. As for the pen, don’t really think that Midson/Brown article is an admission of guilt – infact Brown says clearly it wasn’t a pen. Good luck with rest of season.

  3. Fantastically unbiased match report there! What’s that? Sarcasm doesn’t translate very well when written? Oops, my bad!

    I’d suggest you watch the highlights, Connell went down faster than a cheap whore, as did Caddis!

    At the end of the day, your club probably had the highest budget in the league aside from Crawley. You should be beating teams like us every week!

  4. Totally agree with the view of the ref very poor and inconsistent,tho don’t think Iv heard a Wimbledon side under Terry Brown to be know as bullies!!! The fact of the matter was that we got to every 2nd ball an was quicker to the ball in the 1st half and if it not for the Swindon keeper Afc could have scored 3.
    Tho Swindon had 2very good chances in the 1st half and could have an should have scored I still felt Afc where good value for the lead at half time.
    2nd half to be fair was a much improved Swindon side an wot ever was said seemed to work as Swindon dominated for large spells and i totally agree that Swindon should have had a pen for the takle on caddis but not on Connel but over the 90min I feel a draw was a fair result.

  5. Many thanks for the comments. This site is managed by a Swindon supporter and the majority of contributors are also Swindon supporters, so the views expressed here are in the main from a Swindon perspective.

    @lol: The stadium comment wasn’t a jibe, merely an observation compared to other stadiums in the League and the size comparison with Dutch schools bicycle sheds is factual based on personal experience. If AFC Wimbledon continues to make progress up the League and the support grows, I am sure you will be looking for a bigger place; let’s hope it happens as thus far it’s been a great success story.

    @Devon Don: I didn’t refer to AFC Wimbledon being *overly* physical; With the exception of the Swindon centre back pairing, the majority of the Swindon players were no match physically compared to most in the AFC Wimbledon side. For instance, your left back had quite aphysical advantage over Ritchie.
    Regarding the penalty reference in the article, Brown indeed said: “I honestly didn’t think it was a penalty”, whereas Midson stated: “I did catch him, though it was more with my hip than my foot”, which to me is an admission of guilt.

    @TC: There were 2 Connell penalty appeals; I believe the highlights only showed one which was not the one I referred to. I don’t subscribe to the notion that clubs with a bigger budget should beat teams with a smaller budget each and every time. This is football after all …

    @D: I didn’t refer to AFC Wimbledon being bullies; I said that at half time it reminded me of the Burton Albion game where we were bullied into defeat. We lost that game after being unable to convert the chances we created.

    All the best for the remainder of the season.

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