Rovers win on the road again

Sep 21, 2019 | Match Reports, News

Rovers fell behind from a fantastic curled effort from Michael Forss early in the first half but sprung back strongly to take all three points.

Abu Ogogo was picked out for his first goal of the season, as Nichols swept a cross in from the left, which the midfielder dove towards, glancing his effort into the right corner.

In the 2nd half, Wimbledon goalscorer Michael Forss was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Rovers capitalized on their man advantage, taking the lead through a JCH header before Tony Craig secured victory with a header from a corner.

The line-up at kick-off looked slightly different to that of the team which began the game against Gillingham. The obvious changes came through Ollie Clarke and Josh Hare, both out through injuries sustained in the midweek game, replaced by Alex Rodman and Liam Sercombe who made his 100th Rovers appearance Tuesday.

The other change came in the form of Tom Nichols, who replaced Tyler Smith, keeping legs fresh amongst the strike force, with both forwards playing off Jonson Clarke-Harris in fine form.

The game began slowly, with a corner calmly collected by Anssi Jaakkola the only real point of significance before an underpowered back pass from Davies almost allowed Wimbledon in just after the eighth minute, but Jaakkola was able to clear as a striker looked to pounce. Shortly after, a lofted ball found Michael Folivi running between the defense, and he attempted to loop a header towards goal. However, it lacked the height to clear Jaakkola and was easily claimed.

The home side began to most brightly, surging down the left side just after the 10th minute to lash a dangerous cross towards the 6-yard box. It fizzed across the ground and was fortunately deflected clear by an outstretched Rovers leg.

Despite the early opportunities for Wimbledon, Rovers still looked to assert themselves on the ball, demonstrating good link-up play early on without the chances to show for it in the early stages.

Their first real chance came just before 20 minutes as Nichols burst down the right before cutting inside and floating his way back to covering defender. He squared the ball towards Ogogo who smashed a shot which was blocked, it then fell to Sercombe who also had an attempt deflected clear.

Moments later, Wimbledon were up the other end, with the ball coming to Marcus Forss in the center, who was able to set himself on his right foot and curl an effort past the ‘keepers left.

However, Rovers had a response, and it came through the unlikely source of Abu Ogogo on the 28th minute, who had joked in the week about his poor scoring record. Nichols picked the ball up on the left before cutting inside and whipping a dangerous ball towards the box. Waiting, was Abu Ogogo, who stooped low to head his effort into the bottom right.

At this point Rovers really began to progress into the game, taking control of possession and asserting themselves well. However, the next chance would fall to Wimbledon on a breakaway. They flicked the ball out to Guinness-Walker who cut inside in front of Rodman and struck an effort, but scuffed his strike, and saw it roll towards Jaakkola. This chance fell on the 35th-minute mark, and a minute later Wimbledon had another.

Once again on the right side, it was played to Reilly who dummied and worked his way inside. This move felt more dangerous than the previous as Reilly wound up to hit a venomous effort, but Ogogo leaped in front of the ball to make a low block from close range.

As the board went up to signal time added on for the first half, Ed Upson tried to single-handedly propel his side into a lead at the break. Picking up possession in the center of the park, who found himself in space and after a touch, lashed a dipping shot from over 35 yards out. If it had gone in, it would be a candidate for goal of the season, but it narrowly dipped just over the bar meaning the score remained equal at the break.

The 2nd half began with a momentary pause in play as Davies went down with a head injury, but was eventually cleared to play on.

Moments later, Wimbledon had a huge opportunity to take the lead. As a loose pass found Michael Folivi who ran at Tony Craig, he jinked his way onto his right foot and lashed a shot on goal. It beat Craig and Jaakkola, but also beat the post, as it dragged wide to the left.

On the 52nd minute, Ogogo was almost played in for his second! Nichols turned his man brilliantly in the center of the park as the ball was sharply fizzed into him. He spotted the run of Ogogo and attempted to pick him out with a floated through ball, but Trott was out well from the Wimbledon goal to get a last-second clearance in.

Following a corner on the hour mark, Wimbledon countered brilliantly, working off their target men in the strike force to spring a dangerous move. Forss was played in on goal, with only Craig covering. He got his shot away before Rovers’ captain for the day could make the challenge, but Jaakkola made a superb save from close range.

Moments later he was needed once again as Forss forced another great save. The ball deflected to him following a cross, and he volleyed it on goal with great power from inside the box. However, Jaakkola showcased phenomenal reactions to parry the effort clear.

Wimbledon received a massive let-off just afterward, as the hour mark passed, JCH burst through, clear of the defence but for Nightingale, who cropped him down, seemingly as the last man. The defender breathed a sigh of relief as the ‘ref only showed a yellow, rather than a red.

However, Rovers did see a red card soon after. From the resulting free-kick, JCH was brought down once again by a late tackle, this time from Marcuss Forss. Having already been booked, the referee showed yellow then red for what was a silly offence and saw the home side reduced to ten men.

However, Wimbledon still seemed to be the side in control in the second half, with Wagstaff going close with a similar strike to Upson’s attempt in the first half. He picked the ball up in the center, around 30 yards out, and smashed a strike towards goal, which Jaakkola was glad to watch it go over his bar.

A change on the 70th showed the Gas’ intent to go for this one, with Tyler Smith replacing Alfie Kilgour, a clear offensive change, however, as Nichols went down just minutes later, the Gaffer was forced to add another change, with the striker making way for Kelly, perhaps a change back to the former system.

Kelly almost instantly turned provider as he whipped a cross in from the left, which found JCH in a dangerous position, powering a header down into the ground. It looped up off the turf and towards Trott who looked to have a firm grip on the ball, but momentum took him backward and into his own net to make it 2-1 to the Gas.

Late on, Tyler Smith turned spun away from his man in the box and ran towards the left side. He struck an effort from a tight angle, but Trott was able to tip it away for a corner. However, as the ball came in from the corner, Tony Craig was there to latch onto it and header to ball into the net to secure all three points.

The Gas now face Chelsea Under 21’s in the Leasing.Com Trophy on Tuesday…

AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Trott (G), Luke O’Neill, Will Nightingale (C), Terrell Thomas, Scott Wagstaff, Anthony Hartigan, Marcus Forss, Michael Folivi, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Ryan Delaney, Callum Reilly.

Subs: Nik Tzanev (G), Kwesi Appiah, Adam Roscrow, Max Sanders, Paul Osew, Joe Pigott, Anthony Wordsworth

Rovers: Anssi Jaakkola (G), Alex Rodman (Rollin Menayese 82′), Alfie Kilgour (Tyler Smith 70′), Tom Davies, Tony Craig, Luke Leahy, Abu Ogogo, Liam Sercombe, Ed Upson, Tom Nichols (Michael Kelly 72′), Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Subs: Jordi van Stappershoef (G), Rollin Menayese, Michael Kelly, Cam Hargreaves, Kyle Bennett, Victor Adeboyejo, Tyler Smith.

Attendance: 4268 (531)