AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Burton Albion: Michael Bostwick’s goal the difference at Plough Lane
 (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)

With a valuable three points at stake in the relegation battle, it was no surprise that the opening 20 minutes was a cagey affair at Plough Lane.  

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side had the best chance in the opening phase of play, when Jonny Smith broke in-behind Nesta Guiness-Walker and sent a teasing ball along the face of goal.

As Mike Fondop eagerly awaited at the back post, George Dobson burst back from midfield and prevented the tap-in with an expertly timed sliding tackle.  

Jonny Smith continued to be a nuisance to the Dons’ defence and gave Guiness-Walker a harrowing headache any time he picked up the ball and drove forward. However, when Smith did burst past the left-back, he was sparse of options in the box. 

A large part of the recent Dons’ resilience in defence has been the introduction of Darnell Johnson, who had been operating at right-back at the beginning of Mark Robinson’s reign.

The on-loan Leicester City 22-year-old dealt with Fondop and man marking the physical powerhouse out of the first half. 

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With Burton squandering half chances, a visibly annoyed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink became more and more agitated as the half went on.  

The second half

The first real chance of note fell to Lucas Akins, however, the forward could only direct Jonny Smith’s cross inches over the bar.  

Mark Robinson has made it very clear from his first day in the job, that he wants his players to ‘take ownership’ and fight for the shirt. He would have been disappointed by the way Michael Bostwick was allowed to score the opener.  

On the 59th minute, a thrown in from John Brayford landed at the feet of Fondop. The forward created confusion in the Wimbledon penalty area with a dangerous cross.

The ball fell to Bostwick, just on the edge of the area, and the centre back hammered home the opening goal with a perfectly timed shot past Sam Walker.  

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Robinson rolled the dice with a triple change in an attempt to find a way back into the game. One of the changes included 19-year-old, Ayoub Assal, who scored his first goal for The Dons to salvage a point at Bloomfield Road on the weekend.  

While Assal provided some much-needed fresh impetus and an electric turn of pace, he was met by a brick wall of Burton defenders any time he picked up the ball to run at goal.  

Despite making a recent habit of late goals, The Dons failed to produce any chances against the robust Burton side, and fell to another Plough Lane defeat.


The Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink revival picks up pace  

The 2-1 victory over league leaders, Peterborough United, on Saturday, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has given this Burton Albion side fresh ideas, impetus and intent.  

With the wind in their sails, The Brewers bullied The Dons defence in submission. 

With Michael Mancienne anchoring the midfield and the driving forces of Jonny Smith and Lucas Akins both striking fear into Nesta Guinness-Walker and Darnell Johnson; Burton dazzled and danced through the heart of the Wimbledon side.  

When Jake Buxton was sacked in early January, and The Brewers found themselves rock-bottom of League One, you would have been hard-pressed to find even the most optimistic Burton fan who honestly believed they could drag the club off the foot of the table and into the calming dawn of mid-table mediocrity.  

However, Floyd Hasselbaink has revitalised this side and given the club the breath of fresh air that it desperately desired. 

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Michael Bostwick’s goal proved the difference, but the resilient attitude of the side hauled the three points back to The Pirelli Stadium.  

The two teams battled valiantly in the fight of their lives  

In the relegation six-pointer at Plough Lane, it is no surprise that the two sides, who have both been on an upwards trajectory, canceled each other out in a full-blown war on the pitch.  

Attack, defend, attack, defend. The two sides went blow for blow, punch after punch, looking for the all-important knockout strike.  

However, with the resilient nature of both teams both instilled into the core DNA of the sides, it was no surprise of the cagey nature of this evening’s match.  

While they have two games in hand over league rivals, The Dons suffered their 7th defeat in their last eight matches at Plough Lane and they will need to their new home into a fortress if they are to survive the dreaded drop.