Promotion-chasing Latics leave Wimbledon with all three points
By Charlie Stong at Plough Lane
AFC Wimbledon 0
Wigan Athletic 2
Two goals in the space of three minutes early in the second half gave high-flying Wigan Athletic a deserved win over AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium this afternoon.
First Paul Kalambayi turned a cross into his own net, then James McClean settled matters with a fierce drive from outside the box.
Wigan, who were sitting in fourth place, three points off top spot but with two games in hand over leaders Plymouth before the game, made all the early running in what was a physical encounter in south-west London.
Max Power side-footed a volley over the bar from a left-wing cross and Callum Lang fired a shot wide when composure was required.
Then Will Keane flicked on a left-wing cross from captain Tendayi Darikwa, but Ben Heneghan was perfectly placed on the line to clear.
The Dons’ first chance came after 11 minutes when Jack Rudoni headed over from an Ayoub Assal corner.
Lang snatched at another glorious chance for the visitors after 20 minutes, firing over from a similar right-side position from which he missed his first chance.
Wimbledon were slowly coming into the contest – Ayoub causing problems for the Latics’ defence and Aaron Pressley seeing a looping header saved by Ben Amos.
Anthony Hartigan then curled a free-kick across the face of the goal. The slightest of deflections would have taken it past the Wigan goalkeeper but the ball evaded everyone.
Wigan could have been ahead on the stroke of half-time when Darikwa’s cross was deflected away by the fingertips of Nik Tzanev as two Latics forwards waited to nod the ball home.
But the visitors did take what was a deserved lead five minutes into the second half – their extra quality showing when a low cross form the right was turned into his own net by Kalambayi.
Wigan almost doubled their advantage immediately when McClean’s drive was cleared off the line.
But he was to get another chance within seconds. Lang squared the ball to him, McClean took a touch to his left, then hit a beautiful drive into the bottom corner for 2-0.
The Dons didn’t give up and responded with a couple of forays up the field. But they lacked quality and the actual chances were still falling to the Latics – Lang forcing a save from Tzanev which just about kept the home side in the game.
Somehow Will Keane then managed to smash the ball into the ground and over the bar from no more than two yards out with 10 minutes left when it should have been 3-0.
But the howling miss, in front of an open goal, made no difference to the outcome, and the Latics held on to continue their League One promotion push.
AFC Wimbledon: Tzanev, Woodyard, Alexander (Lawrence, 75), Hartigan, Assal (Chislett, 75), Rudoni (Osew, 81), Guinness-Walker, Pressley, McCormick, Heneghan, Kalambayi
Wigan Athletic: Amos, Watts, Naylor, Whatmough, Power, Wyke, Keane (Humphrys, 90), Lang (Edwards, 75), Bayliss, McClean (Massey, 77), Darikwa
Referee: Ollie Yates