We must be brave: Mark Bowen urges AFC Wimbledon to dig deep in relegation fight



Posted Saturday, April 16, 2022 by PA

We must be brave: Mark Bowen urges AFC Wimbledon to dig deep in relegation fight

AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Bowen warned his players need to be more mentally resilient if they are to avoid the drop following a tough 3-1 defeat at relegated Crewe.

The Dons’ winless run was extended to 24 games after the Railwaymen hit back at Gresty Road with second-half goals from Mikael Mandron, Chris Long and substitute Bassala Sambou.

It had looked promising for Bowen’s men when Sam Cosgrove beat Alex keeper Dave Richards with a stunning 20-yard drive into the corner for a 19th-minute opener.

But they looked a side lacking confidence after the break as bottom club Crewe scored twice inside three minutes before adding a third on the counter attack.

In his fourth game in charge, Bowen said: “It’s a bad defeat but we could have been two or three up in the first half.

“We didn’t start well in the second half and the goal we gave them was poor. Most of the old frailties came back and the players lost a bit of belief. They started making individual mistakes and the second goal was just poor defending as we weren’t in a lot of danger.

“It was the manner of the defeat that really disappointed me and surprised me. When we conceded the first there was such a reaction from the players that is because it’s so long since they’ve won a game.

“That mental thing impacted on us and it all seemed to change when we conceded the first.

“That’s four games [I’ve been in charge of] and we should have won every one, but haven’t won any. We have got to be brave and have the mental strength for what will now be three huge games.”

Crewe’s fightback meant that interim boss Alex Morris was able to enjoy success in his first game, five days after replacing the sacked Dave Artell.

Morris said: “The players responded to so many different situations from going 1-0 down and then not going 2-0 down. We got to half-time without the game getting away from us and stuck to our plan.

“We got two goals in quick succession and the complexion of the game changed.

“We worked hard and deserved that bit of luck and we went on and got a second. The 3-1 scoreline was about right.

“That win was for everyone, all those who work at the stadium and training ground. But ultimately it was for the supporters who have been so, so patient and have stuck with us.

“The support we received was tremendous a week after getting relegated. All they want to see is a real pride and desire from the players to wear the badge with pride.”

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