REPORT: Wanderers v AFC Wimbledon

After a monumental effort to clear the pitch of snow and get the game on, it had to be the man from Iceland who set Wanderers on their way to another emphatic victory.

Club staff, stewards and members of manager Ian Evatt’s backroom team all mucked in to get the surface playable and their efforts were rewarded thanks to goals from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, top scorer Dapo Afolayan, Dion Charles and substitute Amadou Bakayoko.

Iceland international Bodvarsson headed home his first goal for Wanderers and his first in the league since December, 2020 to give Wanderers a half-time lead.

And Evatt’s men never looked back from there as they got their play-off push firmly back on track with a dominant performance and fifth successive home win capped by Afolayan’s 13th goal of the season, a sixth in eight games from the unstoppable Charles and substitute Amadou Bakayoko’s late header.

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Following the clear-up operation Wanderers started with four changes to the side that had seen their seven-game unbeaten run ended at Burton in mid-week.

And the refresh looked likely to pay instant dividends in a flying start from the Whites.

Moving the ball slickly on a surface that had been under a blanket of snow just a few hours earlier, Marlon Fossey curled an effort just wide.

And a minute late another excellent move ended with a low cross from George Johnston which Charles couldn’t divert goalwards with a better touch.

Kyle Demspey then sent a long range efforts inches wide as it looked a case of when rather than if Wanderers would go in front.

The tempo then dipped and when Bodvarsson was denied what looked a clear penalty for a trip in the box frustration might have set in.

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But the January signing is a persistent character and after seeing a volley turned around the post by Dons’ keeper Nik Tzanev he powered home a header from the corner that followed to deservedly make the breakthrough 10 minutes before half time.

It was nearly all Wanderers but they still needed a second goal to make life more comfortable and deny the visitors any prospect of a first win in 13 games to ease their relegation fears.

And it nearly came a couple of times early in the second half.

The best opening fell to Charles but after being picked out by Afolayan for once his radar was awry as he dragged his attempted finish wide.

However, it didn’t take long for the combination to click again and this time it did yield an end product as Afolayan made it 2-0.

Afolayan’s ball into Charles at the edge of the penalty area saw the striker surrounded by yellow shirts. But Charles superbly wriggled free to poke the ball back to Afolayan who had continued his run and rounded Tzanev to roll home his 11th league goal of the campaign.

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That felt like game over but just to make sure Charles got in on the act to continue his purple patch.

Bodvarsson’s ball forward wasn’t cut out and January’s League One goal-of-the-month again showed his killer instinct by racing clear to drive the ball inside Tzanev’s right-hand post.

Wanderers then seemingly had a licence to attack at will, captain Ricardo Almeida Santos rampaging up the right wing at one point to deliver a superb cross Charles almost turned into a fourth goal.

Bakayoko then headed an Aaron Morley cross over from close range before Morley went close to his first goal for the Whites with a skidding effort that went just wide.

But, fittingly, Wanderers finished with a flourish and topped up their goal difference to boot as Mossey clipped over a cross which Bakayoko glanced into the bottom corner to add his fourth goal in six games and make it a clean sweep for the front men as the Whites again spelled out their collective strength.

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Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Almeida Santos, Johnston; Fossey, Morley, Dempsey (Thomason 82), John; Afolayan (Sadlier 71); Bodvarsson (Bakayoko 71), Charles. Substitutes: Williams, Amaechi, Aimson, Baptiste.


AFC Wimbledon: Tzanev; Osew, Heneghan, Kalambayi, Brown; Chislett (Cosgrove 75), Marsh, Guiness-Walker; Kalinauskas (Nightingale 63), Mebude; Cosgrave (Ablade 75). Substitutes: Broome, Csoka, Alexander, Williams.

Booked: Marsh

Referee: Rebecca Welch

Attendance: 14,537 (Wimbledon 360)

Read Time: 4 mins