Tag Archives: AFC Wimbledon

Chelsea and Bristol City Reach Conti Cup Final

Chelsea will face Bristol City in years Conti Cup Final to be played on March 14th. A Pernille Harder hat trick helped Chelsea to a six nil win over West Ham, while Bristol City beat Championship side Leicester thanks to a Kiera Skeels goal.

This will be Bristol’s first ever appearance in the final where they will face holders Chelsea. The final will be played at Watford’s Vicarage Road.

Chelsea 6 v 0 West Ham United

Chelsea took an early lead as Ji So-Yun played Harder in the box and the Chelsea player provided a deft finish after just four minutes.

Chelsea had a second after a quarter of an hour thanks to another Sophie Ingle long range goal. West Ham attempt to clear but the ball dropped to Welsh International Ingle, she brings the ball down and her right, then shoots with her left squeezing the ball under Mackenzie Arnold.

The game was essentially over as Chelsea scored two in two minutes. First Harder got her second as West Ham tried to play out form the back, a poor pass from keeper Arnold allowed Harder to capitalise. Then Beth England scored from Fran Kirby’s cross from the right.

Chelsea kept the pressure on during the second half. Arnold making good saves from Kirby and England. West Ham did have a few chances, the best falling to Adriana Leon. Leon found herself clear in the box but a combination of good defending from Magdalena Eriksson and Ann-Katrin Berger keeping her out.

Fran Kirby made it five for The Blues. Kirby’s attempted lob after being played in by Maren Mjelde, was tipped away by Arnold but Kirby was quickest to it for a tap in. Harder completed her hat-trick four minutes from time with a stunning right footed shot from the edge of the area.

Chelsea Manager Emma Hayes told Chelseafc.com:

“I’m really pleased, getting to finals is no easy achievement and the preparation of the team to keep finding new levels in themselves is a real testament to the work that is put in day in day out from everyone in this environment.

“To dispatch a very good team in the manner that we did with five chances and four goals in the first half is reflective of the confidence that’s in the camp at the moment.

They are hungry, everybody is hungry for trophies and we know it’s ours to lose because of the fact we’re holders of the competition and we’re really looking forward to being back in another final.

“I’m really looking forward to a brilliant stadium and another showcase opportunity for women’s football.

“I’m so impressed by my players, I’m so impressed by the collective and the hunger, the will, the ambition.”

She also spoke about speculation around her and the vacant post at AFC Wimbledon:

“I’ve never spoken to Wimbledon and I’ve never been offered a job by Wimbledon. The whole question that was asked about me is about my own team and let me be clear about this.

“My words were this: It is not a step down to coach Chelsea Women’s team, it’s an insult to suggest otherwise but watching the reaction across the media in the last 24 hours manipulating my words, turning headlines and using inflammatory language to infer that I’ve insulted AFC Wimbledon, far from it.

“What a wonderful club they are, they are local to our community and one that’s dear to everybody’s hearts at Chelsea, so to infer that I’ve insulted them is a misrepresentation across the media and that needs to be made clear.

“I sincerely hope that AFC Wimbledon find the right candidate for their football club and the whole point about them not being able to afford me is nothing to do with money but everything to do with the fact I’m in the best job in the world and no amount of money is going to tempt me away from that.

“We talk of women in football like we are not entitled to the same opportunity and the same access and my final piece on it is that all I want is to normalise the conversation on it so if the entire universe is talking about it then hallelujah, let’s make sure we have it more often and let’s make sure we talk about it without feeling unbelievably threatened that everybody has a place in football.”

Bristol City 1 v 0 Leicester City

The other semi-final saw Bristol City beat Championship leaders Leicester City.

Lachante Paul crafted the best chance after 20 minutes, her shot from the Leicester left going straight into the gloves of Baggaley.

In a tight first half without many great chances Bristol went closest with Charlie Wellings firing a shot goalwards which was well saved by Levell.

Charlie Devlin made a shooting chance for herself after skipping around two Bristol players, but she could only shoot straight at Sophie Baggaley. At half time all square in a close game.

Leicester had the first real chance after the break as Paige Bailey-Gayle forced Baggaley to be at full stretch to turn the ball away from goal. Leicester were able to recycle the ball but were only able to put a shot well over the bar.

Bristol found the break-through after 72 minutes. Ebony Salmon’s cross finding the head of Kiera Skeels whos’ flick towards goal wasn’t held by Leicester keeper Levell and found its way into the goal.

Leicester pressed to get a equaliser but Bristol held on to make the final. Bristol City and Leicester may switch leagues not season but a historic final awaits for Bristol and maybe it could help their WSL survival.

Bristol City manager Matt Bread told Bcfc.com:

“I’m absolutely delighted. It was a tough game – there wasn’t much in it between the two teams,

“I thought we were excellent in the second half, I felt we dominated the game in the sense that we didn’t let them get into their rhythm. We didn’t create many chances ourselves, but semi-finals are won on moments like tonight with Kiera scoring from a set-play.

“The girls have worked so hard yet again across the 90 minutes to make sure they have come away with the win.

“Since coming in the group have been brilliant. I said to them at half-time that they’re the closest group I have worked with in terms of togetherness and it’s fantastic that they have been rewarded with a place in the cup final tonight.”

AFC Wimbledon Suspend Wally Downes…

AFC Wimbledon, currently in the bottom 3 of League 1 have today suspended their first team manager Wally Downes until further notice, for a breach of FA Betting rules.

A Club Statement Read:

Club manager Wally Downes has been suspended from first team duties pending further notice.

The club has been informed that Wally has been charged by the FA for Misconduct under FA Rule E1(b) in respect of 8 bets placed on football matches between 30 November 2013 and 12 July 2019.

Given the seriousness of this breach in FA regulations, the club has decided to suspend Wally with immediate effect, giving time for the club and Dons Trust boards to look at the allegations more closely and make a further announcement in due course.

 

This couldn’t have come at a worse time for AFC Wimbledon, who are in the middle of a bad run of form.

Wally Downes was appointed, in December last year and led them against all the odds to survival in League 1, thanks to a last day draw at Bradford City.

The period in question relates to a time when Downes was employed in India with Kerala Blasters during 2016/2017. And carried on during his subsequent appointment as manager for AFC Wimbledon in December 2018.

Prior to his appointment as manager and during his interview process, Downes was quizzed on comments made which related to homophobia on his Twitter account. Though the board were happy with his explanation of these matters and his Twitter account was quickly deleted.

It remains to be seen what the outcome will be. Downes will most likely be aware of the outcome for Joey Barton, now manager at Fleetwood Town; Joey was charged for the same offence and suspended from all football activities for 18 months.

AFC Wimbledon One Win from Safety…

Incredibly, AFC Wimbledon, written off as dead and buried back in December, when they were bottom of League 1 and 12 points adrift of safety, now, thanks to an incredible run, which culiminated in a victory over Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, saw them rise to the dizzy heights of 19th and 49 points.

The run has been thanks to the now inspired appointment of Wally Downes, who through clever management, and sound, solid work on the leakiest defence in League 1, has guided the club to within 1 point of safety, which can be totally cemented on Saturday with a win, or possibly a draw at Bradford City, themselves already relegated.

Given other teams situtations and current form around them, a point might be enough to secure League 1 status for another season, which would be their 4th in this league.

A win would definitely be enough.

Downes has been clever in his man management, since his appointment by placing the responsibility, rightly so, on the shoulders of the players, saying they had demonstrated standards higher than that he was looking for, which is brilliant because then the players have to keep to those standards, no matter what… & the end result justifies the comments.

Equally, though he hasn’t scored as many goals as he would have liked, James Hanson, has also been managed through a dreadful injury spell and in recent weeks has spent more time on the playing pitch, than the treatment room, and in doing so has provided a great foil for Joe Pigott who has carried on scoring, almost freely, following his own injury troubles.

With these two at the head of a solid looking 3~5~2 Formation, it has proved to be a successful formation, even though it has its weaknesses, compared to a more balanced 4~2~3~1, for Wimbledon and its thanks to this that they have climbed to 19th Posistion now.

Bradford City away, is now their last game of the season and it would be slightly ironic, if James ‘Hans’ Hanson found his scoring boots in that game, to most definitely ensure Wimbledons survival.

That would be a major boost for the Dons, who, would then be moving back to Wimbledon Stadium, as a league 1 club and for the players concerned, would mean they avoid an absolutely unwanted bit of history, by being the first ever AFC Wimbledon team to be relegated as a league club.

Saturday awaits and for the Dons it can’t come quick enough.

 

AFC Wimbledon: Appoint Nick Daws

The name Nick Daws might be familiar to you. Especially if you are a fan or follower of Scunthorpe United (yes the same team who parted company with Stuart McCall yesterday).

Nick Daws has recently been appointed Head of Recruitment at AFC Wimbledon.

When these appointments are made it is usually against the back drop of the manager not knowing anything about it, or if he did, then not being very happy about it and its fair to say that it has been the cause of a few managerial departures.

However, in AFC Wimbledon’s case, it is a case of the opposite being true.

Daws’ appointment was made on the back of AFC Wimbledon trying to broaden their scouting network, following the appointment of Wally Downes back in December. Downes himself has a very good coaching CV, not to mention a wealth of experience, so AFC Wimbledon are fortunate to have him, but for a coach of his calibre, its surprising no one else had offered him a role.

With Nick Daws on board, it means that AFC Wimbledon can now seek to build a ‘profile team’ i.e. one that fits a certain type of player profile. Young fit and hungry, as opposed to the peice meal team which they strung together last year, a team which nearly back fired.

AFC Wimbledon have suffered with inconsistent form, similar to last season, but that has changed in recent weeks and many would still back them to beat the drop.

Daws’ experience will be invaluable, both behind the scenes, which is his primary focus, with establishing a scouting network, but perhaps from time to time on the coaching side, to add his experience to an already well-prepared managment team.

Nick Daws hasn’t managed a football team since leaving Scunthorpe, but his record there was a good one, given that Scunthorpe are known to lose patience with their managers pretty quickly, so for AFC Wimbledon to pick up a coach of his calibre is testament to their board’s desire to push onwards and upwards.

How much do you think Nick Daws can improve AFC Wimbledon?

AFC Wimbledon : Is The Impossible Likely?

AFC Wimbledon, formed just 17 years ago, from the ashes of Wimbledon’s contentious move from Croydon to Milton Keynes, have exceeded all expectations in their journey so far

They had…

No ground, players, management, ball or kit and had to hold trials on Wimbledon Common, against the backdrop of knowing they had been accepted into the combined counties league, yes that far down the football league pyramid.

They are a unique club and one that is well used to adversity.

Fast forward 17 years and numerous promotions later, the club find themselves in the English Football League 1, bottom, with gates of 4,700 as an average, and apart from the playing staff, and commercial team, every other job at the club is covered by a volunteer work force, the majority of who are AFC Wimbledon fans first and foremost, or who have AFC Wimbledon connections.

This current season is AFC Wimbledon’s 3rd in that league and following on from last seasons close call with relegation,  where they put together a run of 7 unbeaten games at the business end of the season to survive, the management team decided to build a profile team, in the hope that this season would help push the club on.

Out went experienced, but by football standards aged players and others who were at the end of their contracts, replaced by promising players from their academy, such as Anthony Hartigan, Will Nightingale, Toby Sibbick and Paul Kalambayi, boosted by the experienced and proven goalscorer James Hansen ..with a point to prove.

Early season expectations looked good as the club climbed to 8th, however, a very poor run of form saw them slip, almost in free fall, to their present league position.

An absolutely hard to watch match at Haringey Borough of the Ryman League, which though AFC Wimbledon won, it was left late to do so and ultimately culminated in the ‘mutual arrangement’ of both Neal Ardley and Neil Cox leaving the club, for pastures new.

Wally Downes was appointed in December, with the club seemingly well adrift at the bottom and odds on favourites to go down very quickly… Doing so, would bring the stigma of being the first Wimbledon team, since re~formation to be relegated.

However, some swift re~organisation and education of the players. plus some shrewd acquistions in the January transfer window, of players such as Steve Seddon, Aaron Ramsdale an England Youth Goalkeeper and Dylan Connolly from Ireland, steadied the ship, together with a switch in formation from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 made the Dons harder to beat.

An encouraging run, has seen the 9 point gap between them and 5th from bottom, halved to just 4 points, the run has seen them wallop West Ham 4~2 at Kingsmeadow and achieve some impressive results against higher placed opposition in the form of Doncaster Rovers and most recently Peterborough United.

With Southend United away up next, who themselves are not in the greatest of form, a win at Roots hall, would put AFC Wimbledon right back in to the mix on 39 points, just 11 off of the ‘supposed’ safety mark of 50 points.

So is the impossible likely?… Well given the steel the team have now, you would think that on the back of a move back to their home borough, that being a League 1 club, would be a good prospect and one not to bet against, combined with the fact that on current form Wimbledon now sit 3rd against Southend’s 23rd placing, it might just happen.