Mark Robinson looks at the positives as Wimbledon down Cheltenham in thriller

Posted Sunday, December 05, 2021 by PA

Mark Robinson looks at the positives as Wimbledon down Cheltenham in thriller

AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Robinson was happy to see his side weather a late Cheltenham comeback as they booked their place in the FA Cup third round with a 4-3 victory.

The Dons led 4-1 after braces from Ayoub Assal and Ollie Palmer but the visitors pulled it back to 4-3 and could have had a replay were it not for late heroics from goalkeeper Nik Tzanev.

“I thought our goals were excellent but we gave them three goals which gave them momentum and a lifeline,” said Robinson.

“Then Nik (Tzanev) has then had to pull off saves but at 4-1 up I thought we had come back brilliantly after the mistake for their first goal.

“For 60 minutes, I thought we were excellent.

“We then made things hard for ourselves but we have to take the positives and there are a lot of big clubs gone out, but we are still in the hat.

“For 60 minutes it was great to watch.”

Cheltenham took the lead inside two minutes through Alfie May, though the Dons were ahead at half-time after two goals in the space of five minutes.

Assal equalised in the 36th minute before Palmer tapped in shortly afterwards, and a further goal from each man gave the home side a seemingly comfortable 4-1 lead.

Cheltenham drew within a goal of equalising after Andy Williams’ strike was followed by a disastrous Ben Heneghan own goal, though Robinson’s men held on to reach the third round as Tzanev saved from Matty Blair and Mattie Pollock.

Despite nearly pulling off an impressive comeback, Town boss Michael Duff was not impressed with his side’s performance.

He said: “Ultimately, we deserved to go out of the cup.

“We didn’t deserve anything. We were not very good. We had chances but they should have been out of sight.

“We were nowhere near what we’ve been recently. You can’t let the last 10 minutes disguise how bad the first 80 minutes were as it was nowhere near good enough.

“We didn’t do any part of the game well, conceded poor goals and the physicality was poor. We didn’t pass the ball. We scored a good goal early, which was something we’d worked on.

“It then seemed like individually everyone just did what they wanted to do and we didn’t compete.

“Wimbledon have good energy and they pressed us and pressed, which we knew they would. It’s unlike us but it was a poor performance.

“There weren’t any positives from our play between the early goal, until the last 10 minutes, from one to 11 it wasn’t good enough.”


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