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AFC Wimbledon (A) match preview

8 March 2019

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Rovers head to the capital for the third time this season when they face AFC Wimbledon in Sky Bet League One on Saturday.

Rovers will be looking for a win following last weekend’s dramatic ending against Charlton Athletic, drawing 1-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium after Mallik Wilks’ equaliser.

Wimbledon will be looking to do the same after their goalless draw on the road at Shrewsbury Town last Saturday.

Brief history of AFC Wimbledon

Wimbledon play at the 4,850-capacity Kingsmeadow stadium, which has been their home since the club’s re-formation in 2002.

They are nicknamed either the Dons or the Wombles, with the name Wombles coming from the TV show/book series of the same name, which were found on Wimbledon Common.

Wimbledon were formed as a result of the original club being moved to Milton Keynes, with disgruntled fans choosing instead to keep the club in London and creating a phoenix club which began life in the Combined Counties League Premier Division.

They quickly rose up through the non-league system, taking just seven years to reach the Conference. They sealed their fifth promotion in just nine seasons in 2011 to reach the EFL for the first ever time in their history, defeating Luton Town on penalties at the Etihad Stadium in the Conference play-off final.

This is their third consecutive season in League One, making it into the third tier in 2016 via the League Two play-offs after defeating Plymouth Argyle 2-0 at Wembley Stadium thanks to goals from Lyle Taylor and Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Who’s the gaffer?

Wally Downes is the man in the opposition dugout, having taken charge of the Dons at the beginning of December following the departure of Neal Ardley. Downes re-joined the club after 30 years away, playing well over 200 times for Wimbledon and often being seen as the main instigator for the ‘Crazy Gang’ culture at the club which saw them rise from the Fourth Division to the First Division.

Downes has overseen 19 games whilst in charge of the Dons, winning six, drawing four and losing nine, leaving him with a win percentage of 31.58 per cent.

Ones to watch

Mitch Pinnock

The former Arsenal youth player joined from Dover Athletic over the summer. After seven years with the Gunners and a further four with Southend United, Pinnock dropped down into non-league with Bromley, Tonbridge Angels and Maidstone United, before making his first move to Dover. He joined Kingstonian during the early part of 2016, before re-joining Dover that summer, and after 12 goals in 65 league games from midfield, he signed with the Dons ahead of this season. He scored his first goal in a Wimbledon shirt in the 90th minute of their 1-0 win away at non-league outfit Haringey Borough in the first round of the FA Cup, also scoring in the last meeting between the two sides at the Keepmoat Stadium back in November.

Joe Pigott

The Dons forward scored a hat-trick away at Rochdale last month, scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot deep into added time at Spotland. Pigott began his career across South London at Charlton Athletic, also spending time on loan at Bromley, Gillingham and Newport County before two successful switches away from The Valley at Southend United. Pigott scored the goal that sent the League Two play-off final to penalties in 2015, before going on to score the Shrimpers’ first penalty in a 7-6 shoot-out win over Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley Stadium. After half-a-season in non-league with Maidstone United, he was signed by the Dons in January 2018, scoring four minutes into his debut in a 2-0 win over Blackpool five days later.

Scott Wagstaff

Another former Charlton man in the Dons’ squad, Wagstaff spent 15 years at The Valley before his departure to Bristol City. Wagstaff helped the Robins to a League One and Football League Trophy double in 2015, spending a further season at Ashton Gate before his move to Gillingham. After two years with the Gills, Wagstaff moved to Kingsmeadow at the start of this season, and he recently scored two goals in the Dons’ 4-2 victory over Premier League side West Ham United in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Who’s the ref?

Paul Marsden will be the referee when the two sides meet on Saturday, and you can read more about him here.

Last time out

Rovers secured victory late on at the Keepmoat Stadium in November, coming from behind to win three points. Mitch Pinnock scored the opener before an Ali Crawford stunner 11 minutes later. Tommy Rowe came off the bench on his return to injury and he struck the winner, scoring low from 20 yards out to seal a 2-1 victory for Grant McCann’s men.

Tickets for Rovers’ next Sky Bet League One game at home against South Yorkshire rivals and fellow promotion hopefuls Barnsley on Friday March 15 are still available via the Club Doncaster Box Office. Purchase yours now by visiting in-store at the Keepmoat Stadium, by calling on 01302 762576, or online at tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk.


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