Johnnie Jackson delighted as AFC Wimbledon start with no relegation ‘hangover’



Posted Sunday, July 31, 2022 by PA

Johnnie Jackson delighted as AFC Wimbledon start with no relegation ‘hangover’

New AFC Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson credited a positive off-season atmosphere at Plough Lane as his side claimed their first league victory since December with a confident 2-0 win over Gillingham.

Ethan Chislett’s stunning opener and a second-half header from the outstanding Jack Currie ensured that the Dons triumphed in this fixture between two relegated sides to claim three points for the first time in 28 matches.

“It’s a great club and there’s a freshness about the place,” said Jackson. “You wouldn’t have really noticed much of a hangover because the supporters got behind us.

“There was no getting away from (the winless run) and you could feel the relief among the supporters at the end there. It was great to be able to celebrate with them.

“It’s a clean slate for everybody. You can’t dwell on the past and we can only control the controllables.

“It was a good performance. We moved the ball well, we were brave with our play, we had a good shape and defended well whenever Gillingham came on strongly.”

After a tight opening 15 minutes, Chislett met Lee Brown’s partially cleared corner to spectacularly fire past Gills’ on-loan Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris from the edge of the box.

“It was a great strike from Chissy,” added Jackson. “It’s something I’ve been on at him to add to his game. He’s been practising that a lot as somebody with his ability should be doing that regularly.”

Lacklustre Gillingham improved after the break and saw energetic debutant Jordan Green poke wide from substitute Ben Reeves’ cross within four minutes of the restart.

However, the Dons sealed victory when Currie rushed to meet Nightingale’s looping cross and head past the luckless Morris 19 minutes from time.

“I just said to the players that, at the worst, the game needs to be 0-0,” said Gills boss Neil Harris, who watched from the stands owing to a one-match touchline ban.

“I thought we had a lot of control in the game, but we made two costly errors from restarts – one from a corner, one from a throw. The ball ended up in the back of our net both times.

“I didn’t want to lose our opening game. At the very worst I wanted to get a point and get ourselves off the mark. Had we won 2-0, I wouldn’t have been flying high, so I’m not on the floor today because it is a long season.

“I can’t bemoan the lads too much as there’s nothing in the game. If anything, we were the better team.

“But what we need within the group is a winning mentality. We need a clean sheet mentality and some of them need to step up more than that.”

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