Saturday 21st August 2021
(8th) Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon (10th)
Sky Bet League One
Stadium of Light
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets are now available online via SAFC here.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
There were reasons to be positive in the aftermath, but our midweek defeat at Burton Albion did not follow the script. It should have, we had the possession, we had the chances and if we’d had the rub of the green at the end with a decision that was so close that VAR would have had to have taken their time, we’d have left the Midlands with at least a point.
Lee Johnson has some tough decisions to make this afternoon - does he stick with the side that, on reflection performed so well at the Pirelli Stadium, or does he decide to shuffle his pack to freshen things up.
Nathan Broadhead and Alex Pritchard came off the bench in an attempt to find a breakthrough after we’d fallen behind on Tuesday and will no doubt be itching to grab a place in the starting XI, as will Frederick Alves, who joined from West Ham United in the build up to the fixture at Burton.
Only two weeks since Lee Johnson found himself with limited numbers as we kicked off against Wigan at the Stadium of Light, he now has a number of tempting options at his disposal to get the Lads back to winning ways.
After AFC Wimbledon’s incredible rise (as described here by co-founder Ivor Hellor on the Roker Rapport podcast back in January) to the third tier of the English Football League in 2017 after starting out in the Combined Counties League Premier Division back in 2002, the Dons now find themselves beginning a fifth successive season in League One.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing during those four seasons, however, with the highest position achieved being 15th, which occurred in the first season after promotion from League Two. Since then it’s been finishes of between 18th and 20th in League One, and with the new era getting underway at Plough Lane, they could well be aiming higher than survival this time out.
It was an emotional afternoon last Saturday as 9,000 packed into the new purpose-built stadium to return AFC Wimbledon to their spiritual home for the first time in 30 years. After going down 3-1 to Bolton Wanderers early in the second half, there was an early sign of the potential impact of their homecoming as they fought back to gain a point in a 3-3 draw.
Manager Mark Robinson followed Glyn Hodges into the job in an initial caretaker capacity back in January following a 2-0 home defeat to rivals MK Dons, which left the club in the relegation zone. Having been employed with the club in various capacities since 2004, Robinson knows what the club is all about and after collecting 5 points from 9 so far will be looking to build on their good start this weekend.
League One Form...
The bookies fancy us to get back to winning ways at 7/10 while the draw is 5/2 and AFC Wimbledon are a long 9/2 to take all three points back to the big smoke.
In terms of a final score, a 1-0 home win and a 1-1 draw are the shortest odds at 11/2, closely followed by 2-0 and 2-1 home wins at 13/2. If you’re thinking we might take a little bit of the frustrations from midweek out on the Dons, we are priced at 11/1 to run out 3-0 winners and 25/1 for a 4-0 rout.
The bookies price a 1-0 away win at 12/1 and a more convincing 2-0 at a less convincing 25/1, with a goalless draw at 10/1.
Last Time We Met... at the Stadium of Light
Tuesday 15th December 2020
Sky Bet League One
Sunderland 1-1 AFC Wimbledon
(Wright 62’ - Pigott 76’ (pen))
Sunderland: Burge, McLaughlin, Sanderson, Wright, McFadzean (Willis), Leadbiter, Dobson (Gooch), Diamond Embleton, O’Brien, Grigg (Curry) Substitutes not used: Patterson, Neil, Taylor, Younger
AFC Wimbledon: Trueman, McLoughlin, Seddon, Thomas, Henghan, Csoka, Longman, Woodyard, Pigott, Reilly, Rudoni (Chislett) Substitutes not used: Tzanev, Alexander, Guinness-Walker, Nightinggale, Hartigan, Palmer
Played for Both...
David Connolly was a major part of Roy Keane’s title-winning side in 2006-07, ending as top scorer. The Republic of Ireland international played for the original Wimbledon between 2001-2003 and ended his career with AFC Wimbledon in 2015.
Our top goalscorer from last season had a loan spell at AFC Wimbledon when he joined in 2014 from Middlesbrough, scoring three goals in seventeen games. He’s currently at his new club Wigan, looking to open his scoring account at the DW.