AFC Wimbledon arrive at The Valley on Saturday in fourteenth place with twenty points from fifteen games but their away record suggests that Charlton will have to work hard to break them down. Twelve of their twenty points have been gained on their travels with wins at Fleetwood, Swindon and Rochdale and draws at Northampton, Burton and Milton Keynes. They have only lost twice - narrowly (0-1) at Hull in October and at Gillingham (1-2) last time out.
The fixture has a record of throwing up familiar faces and we believe that there has never been a league game between the two sides in which the AFC Wimbledon team didn't include a Charlton old boy. The first encounter at The Valley (September 2016) saw Charlton take an early lead through Ademola Lookman but AFCW - including Barry Fuller and Ly*e T**l*r - came from behind with two late goals to win 2-1. The following year (October 2017) the deadlock wasn't broken until the 78th minute when a Ricky Holmes goal proved to be the winner against a team that also included Deji Oshilaja.
The December 2018 match was memorable for Naby Saar's first minute sliding tackle that saw Charlton down to ten men for the remaining 89 minutes. First on the scene to remonstrate with Naby was Scott Wagstaff, and the visitors' defence included Tyrone Thomas and Ben Purrington. The away fans were giving L*le Ta*l*r plenty of abuse but he returned the compliment after her scored on the hour. A late Mark Marshall effort sealed the 2-0 win. Joe Pigott appeared 4o times for Wimbledon that season but he didn't play in that game.
He should, however, be leading the line for them on Saturday as he has been a crucial figure for them this term with nine goals and four assists already. Amazingly, he is now twenty seven and must be admired for forging himself a League One career (35 goals in 107 games) since dropping into the National league with Maidstone for the 2017/18 season. He scored the first goal back at Plough Lane at the end of October and has netted in the team's last four games. He started the ball rolling with an early penalty in The Dons' last game against Bristol Rovers but the visitors came back to win 2-4 with a brace from Brandon Hanlon and an assist from Erhun Oztumer. It's a small world.
There has been some vocal criticism of Lee Bowyer recently. His post-match comments, his man management, his selections and the team's playing style have all come under scrutiny despite the fact that we are still in a play-off position. Saturday's game is unlikely to be a pretty affair but the crowd of two thousand will be expecting a positive statement from the team and may well express their displeasure if things aren't going well. Our record of one point from three games in front of spectators doesn't inspire confidence but the team are going to have to overcome their inhibitions if they are going to prevail in the next two games.
The club have listened to feedback from supporters after the Milton Keynes game and arrival times have been reduced a little. We hope that egress from The East Stand will be better managed.
If you don't have a ticket you can watch the game on Valley Pass here. This will be a new multi-camera production fronted by Scott Minto: