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AFC Wimbledon match report
14 April 2015 22:58 Post ID: #71205
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A frustrating draw against AFC Wimbledon at Home Park actually strengthened Argyle's play-off position.

A win would have just about sealed our play-off place, although a draw and losses for our play-off rivals actually put the Greens in a good position.

It's another game were we play well for one half, this time it was the second half, if only we showed the same urgency and pressure for the first half as we did in the second half then we would have won.
Wasteful finishing and good goalkeeping denied us, Lewis Alessandra should have bagged a hat-trick but for a combination of good saves, poor finishing and bad decision making, he really should hit the target from 12 yards out.

We were not helped by a weak referee who allowed Wimbledon to waste time from the first minute to the last, the Wombles keeper James Shea took an age to take every goal kick, checking his left boot every time, the ref did speak to him in the first half but allowed him to carry on doing it for the whole game. We must have lost 10 minutes of the game courtesy of the keeper!

For the first half the whole atmosphere was flat, the players looked anxious and the feeling around the stadium wasn't like a play-off game, more like a mid-table end of season match.
With nothing to play for Wimbledon gave us a game, they played the better football, neat and tidy passes while we looked for the long ball each time.

Too often Tarieq Holmes-Dennis would have acres of space in front of him except he would stop, pass inside or back to Peter Hartley who hit the ball long and possession was lost.
That said, despite the huffing and puffing we did create chances, Bobby Reid had a long range shot well saved and Alessandra had a shot go just wide.

At the other end Ade Akinfenwa caused problems with his strength, his touch is good for a big unit. The Wombles also had shots fly just wide or were blocked, there seemed to be an unusual amount of corners for both sides.

It was different for the second half because we closed down Wimbledon and pushed further up the field, Bobby Reid was now seeing a lot more of the ball and was our bright spark.
Alessandra had two shots well saved and from another attack he got into a good position and opted to pass instead of shoot. So frustrating!

The breakthrough finally came and it was from another Bobby Reid corner, having not had much luck from corners all season we are now scoring for fun from them.
Reid's corner was flicked on by Curtis Nelson at the near post and there was Anthony O'Connor at the far post to tap in. 1-0.

Bobby Reid had a shot fly over the bar and Alessandra had another effort saved.

Disaster soon after because Wimbledon undeservedly pulled level and it was similar to the goal scored by Mansfield.
The shot from Ade Azeez was saved by Luck McCormick but Azeez reacted the quickest and thumped in the rebound. 1-1.

We reverted back to first half Argyle - nervous, edgy and full of mistakes - for 10 minutes after that equaliser.

Zak Ansah replaced Reuben Reid who at that point was looking dangerous but it seems he can't finish a game. The substitution didn't really have an effect.

We wasted several more chances before sub Olly Lee had the best chance in the closing seconds of the game but his weak shot was easily saved.

It's not easy being an Argyle fan because we seem intent on reaching the play-offs the hard way, we can't just win games and make it easy, the fans have to go through the mill first!

Why don't we put a full 90 minutes together? We were a much better team for most of the second half and yet looked like frightened rabbits for the first 45.

I hope we don't regret Alessandra missing so many chances, he played very well outside of the box with his workrate and quick feet, it's inside the penalty area, where it counts, that we need him to step up. To be fair we are playing we one and a half strikers at the moment and if Reuben isn't scoring the gamble isn't working.

Bobby Reid was our best player, full of tricks and twists, O'Connor and Dom Blizzard were solid beside him.
Holmes-Dennis plays so well in bursts and then has 10 minutes where he is very average.
The right-side of Bobby Reid linking with Gethin Jones was far more productive than the left side.

Our Jekyll team can be thrilling, attacking and can beat any League Two team while our Hyde team can be dull, lacking in ideas and be beaten by some of the worst sides in League Two. The two sides of the team are not just on display from game to game but from half to half and yet here we are, still in with a very good chance of the play-offs.
It's strange.

What can be said about the team is that there is no lack of effort or commitment for the cause, even when things are not going well the team has character.

Overall, an entertaining game and a point towards our target but it really should have been so much better.

McCormick 7, Nelson 7, McHugh 7, Hartley 7, Jones 7, Holmes-Dennis 6, B Reid 8, Blizzard 6, O'Connor 7, R Reid 6, Alessandra 6, Ansah 5, Lee 5.
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