AFC Wimbledon 0-3 Sunderland: Wyke’s hat-trick condemns The Dons to another defeat
 (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Story of the match:

The Black Cats got off to a flying start at Plough Lane. Aiden O'Brien darted down the right-hand side on a marauding run, cutting the ball back for Charlie Wyke just inside the penalty area. Wyke, eager to get one over his former club, took one touch to compose himself before poking the underneath Sam Walker for his 11th of the season.  

The Dons, who have failed to pick up three points in the league since their 2-1 win over Peterborough United in early December, grew in confidence.

Ryan Longman danced his way through the Black Cats’ defence before watching his shot deflect into the arms of Lee Burge. Longman then turned provider, setting up Jack Rudoni for a long-range effort that sailed agonisingly past the post.  

Following a flurry of chances for both sides, Wyke nearly doubled his tally and Sunderland’s lead on the 40th minute. Aiden McGeady was allowed time and space in the middle of the pitch to exquisitely pick out Max Power, who had made his way forward from defence. Power drilled the ball along the face of goal, crying out for someone to tap it home. Wyke, in acres of space, blazed his effort over the bar and spared The Dons’ defensive blushes.  

Second half: 

In the second half, Ryan Longman continued to chip away at the stubborn Sunderland defence. He received the ball, under pressure from two on-rushing defenders, before turning both and setting his sights on goal. He skipped past Max Power and flashed his right footed effort inches wide of the goal.  

Wimbledon’s top scorer with 10 for the season, Joe Pigott, then went close with a bullet header that flew over the crossbar.  

Although The Dons needed to find a way back into the game, they were struggling to break down the resolute, resilient defence that Lee Johnson has cultivated in his short time in charge of the North-East side.  

After soaking up the pressure, Sunderland killed the game off with three minutes of normal time remaining. Grant Leadbitter arrowed a corner into the box for Charlie Wkye to volley with venom past the helpless Sam Walker.  

Moments later, on the 91st minute, Wyke rounded off the perfect afternoon for himself.

The dilapidated Dons, without hesitation, allowed Wyke to break through the defence. He delicately chipped the ball over Walker to take all three points, and the match ball, back to the Stadium of Light.  

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The Dons continue to ebb and flow  

This defeat leaves Glyn Hodges’ side firmly immersed in the relegation battle. Having now failed to pick up a league win in their last seven games, Wimbledon will have to start finding the back of the net if they are to pull themselves out of the rut.  

An impressive midweek 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers in the Football League Trophy was seen as a catalyst for improvement and a performance that Hodges could build on in the league. However, The Dons could only muster two shots on target and averaged around 39% possession at home this afternoon.  

Sunderland starting to turn a corner under Johnson 

After a rude awakening from a 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic in his first game in charge of the Black Cats, Lee Johnson’s side have now gone seven undefeated and find themselves climbing up the League One table.  

Boasting the joint best defensive record in the league, under Lee Johnson, Sunderland have assembled a defensive solidity to the team, blended with a core group of experienced players.

It’s a group of players that poses the knowledge and prowess to get the former Premier League stalwarts back to the glitterati of the top-flight.   

More to follow...