AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Fleetwood Town: McKay’s late goal punishes wasteful Dons
 (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

The Dons have found themselves inspired since Mark Robinson took over from Glyn Hodges. 

Regardless, with games running out, the south west Londoners had to start brightly against their opposition at Plough Lane on Easter Monday, Fleetwood Town.

After losing to Plymouth Argyle 1-0 on Friday, the quick turnaround allowed the Dons to forget their mistakes from their last outing and start quickly out of the blocks this afternoon.  

The consistent press of the Dons dominated the early stages. 

Ayoub Assal was scythed down on the edge of the box on the 12th minute, after chasing down a wayward pass. Joe Pigott took the resulting free-kick but failed to test goalkeeper Alex Cairns early on. 

The attacking intent continued, however, the home side looked lost in front of goal. Assal, Pigott and George Dobson continued to link up well but failed to cultivate any clear-cut chances.  

After a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Championship chasers Peterborough United in the 89th minute on Friday, Simon Grayson kept the faith with the same side who battled valiantly last time out.  

On the 41st minute, Wes Burns had the best effort for the Cod Army, testing Nik Tzanev from 25 yards out. However, the New Zealand international palmed the ball away from any danger.

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The Dons had a flurry of chances as half time approached, with Ryan Longman heading inches over the bar from a Pigott cross, and Jack Rudoni’s shot from the edge of the box cannoning off a melee of players.

Second half

The best chance of the early stages of the second half fell to Jaakko Oksanen.

After clever play down the left-hand side from Nesta Guiness-Walker, the Brentford loanee struck a sweet strike from distance which agonisingly sailed over the bar.  

Ryan Longman was next to test Cairns, but when fed through on goal by Pigott, Longman got his angles all wrong and sent his effort into the afternoon sky.  

Ollie Palmer was brought on to make a nuisance of himself, instantly giving Callum Connolly and Harrison Holgate a physical battle. Nevertheless, when the 6ft 4 striker got past the Fleetwood wall, he was left void of options going forward.

After nearly 45 minutes of football without touching the ball, Nik Tzanev was called upon.

Sam Finley robbed the ball of George Dobson and played through Kyle Vassell.

The forward took once touch to breeze past Will Nightingale, but his shot arrowed for the bottom left-hand corner was thwarted by a flying Tzanev, who smothered the goal-bound shot. 

But Wimbledon’s efforts would be in vain, when substitute Barrie McKay scored the game winner on the 88th minute.  

Tzanev, who had been the hero on minutes prior, had the ball passed back to him by Nightingale. The goalkeeper attempted to bypass the onrushing McKay but only served to hammer the ball into the forward, who had the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net. 

It was a smash and grab of the highest accord. McKay's goal all but secured Fleetwood's League One status for another year, but left Mark Robinson scratching his head, with games running out to climb out of the bottom four.

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Player of the match: Ayoub Assal  

The 19-year-old continues to be a shining light of a season that could easily end in heartache. Brought through the ranks by Mark Robinson, the winger has adapted quickly to League One life.

He combined well with Guiness-Walker on the left side and was a constant throne in the Cod Army’s defence. He drifted into pockets of space and was the creative spark for Longman and Pigott to thrive off.

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While the Dons once again failed to score, with Assal in the side, the south west Londoners are a menacing threat. 

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