Dons' Defence Scuppers Chances In Bolton Defeat

Wimbledon 1 v Bolton 2

Wimbledon’s League One home debut ended with defeat as their fragile defence again contributed to a 2-1 defeat against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, 13 August.

The result means that the Dons have now let in eight goals from just nine attempts on goal during their first three matches of the new season, highlighting the reason why they have suffered defeat in every outing.

‘We will be all right,’ rueful boss Neal Ardley told the club’s website. ‘We just need to cut out giving teams goals [because] at this level defences will not give you bundles of chances.’

The Dons employed a 4-3-3 formation that produced early promise, with Andy Barcham shooting narrowly off target after a Sean Kelly cross was chested down by Dean Parrett, and the latter then forcing a save from Bolton keeper Mark Howard.

Tom Elliott also headed narrowly off target before the Dons deservedly took the lead just after the quarter hour with an extremely well-crafted goal.

Barcham initiated the move himself, picking the ball up wide on the left and playing it infield to Elliott. The big striker released the surging Jake Reeves who played the ball in to Lyle Taylor on the edge of the area. His deft flick fed the ball through to Barcham who had continued his run and curled the ball into the far corner.

But the Dons struggled to maintain that tempo and Bolton equalised with their first shot on target in the 34th minute.

Gary Madine picked up the ball on the edge of the area and was allowed to skip past one half-hearted challenge before shooting through Paul Robinson’s lunging legs, deceiving goalkeeper Ryan Clarke who allowed the ball to squirm under his body.

Wimbledon pushed forward gamely in the second period, with Elliott missing one glorious opportunity with a header and Taylor shooting wide. But soon after freshening things up in attack by bringing on Tyrone Barnett, the Dons fell behind.

Lewis Buxton was given time down the right flank and Robinson made a hash of dealing with the low cross, the ball ricocheting off his legs and sitting up perfectly for Liam Trotter to convert from close range at the far post.

The Dons responded and finished the game with almost constant pressure but never really fashioned a clear goalscoring chance, although the visitors were lucky to survive a couple of strong penalty appeals.

Wimbledon: Clarke, Fuller, Charles, Robinson, Kelly, Parrett (Beere 76), Bulman, Reeves, Elliott (Barnett 70), Barcham (Poleon 75), Taylor. Subs not used: Shea, Nightingale, Francomb, Fitzpatrick.

Goalscorer: Barcham 16.

Booked: Fuller 85.

Bolton: Howard, Buxton, Wheater, Beevers, Moxey, Trotter (A. Taylor 85), Spearing, Vela (C, Taylor 70), Davies (Clough 60), Madine, Proctor. Subs not used: Amos, Clayton, Wilson, Woolery.

Goalscorers: Madine 34, Trotter 70.

Booked: Davies 54, Clough 84.

Att: 4,619.

By Rob Crane

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August 16, 2016