By Alfie Burr
Many thanks to Alfie Burr who took up todays reporting duties as Martin puts up his feet and consumes a few more mince pies, but he should be back for our next game, but I’m sure you will agree Alfie is a very able deputy.
Russell Martin made four changes from last week’s loss to Plymouth Argyle. O’Hora, Harvie, Gladwin and Surman started the game and because of a lack of players, Jack Davies and 16-year-old Lewis Johnson got a place on the bench.
The first ten minutes come and go, with Dons having most of the possession and a couple half chances. Dons earned an early corner, the ball bounced around before falling to Scott Fraser who shot to the near post of the Pirates goal, but it’s palmed away well by Stappershoef.
Soon after the Dons had another chance this time from Daniel Harvie with the young Scotsman cutting inside and trying to curl a shot into the far corner, but his shot was blocked and deflected for a corner. As per usual, nothing comes from the corner, but equally nothing much was offered from Paul Tisdale’s team so far in the match, and Russell Martin’s men were definitely dominating.
Dons were keeping possession well in the first half an hour and creating some chances. Harvie and Jerome linking up nicely down the left-hand side. Harvie played the ball through to Jerome with a nice backheel for Jerome to cross the ball into the box, Fraser collected the ball, but his shot was blocked well by the Bristol Rovers defence who were marshalling him closely.
With half an hour on the clock the Dons have had five shots on goal compared to Rovers’ zero. Only one of these shots was on target, but Dons were dominating the game.
With half time approaching Harvie whipped an inviting ball into Cameron Jerome, but the ball whizzed past his head at the back post. Sadly, moments later the Dons were forced to substitute Warren O’Hora off due to injury, with Bailly Cargill replacing him shortly before halftime. With the clock running down there were no more chances really been made by either team each seemingly content to go in level. Then in the three minutes added on from out of nowhere, Gladwin receives the ball on the right side of the box and smashes the ball into the top left corner of the Stappershoef goal. An absolute bullet from Gladwin to score his first goal of the season and no doubt a contender for Goal of the Season.
At half time, the Dons are in total control of the game and have kept Tisdale’s players incredibly quiet. A positive first half performance from us and Russell Martin must have been content but would wonder whether we should’ve been more than one up.
To start off the second half, Gladwin scythed down McCormick and got booked for his trouble, the first player to make it into the ref’s notebook. The Rovers free kick presented a few big chances. Our defence were basically nowhere to be seen and Fisher is forced to make a triple save after fumbling the initial shot before Poole cleared off the line to save our one-nil lead. Great work from Fisher considering he hasn’t been terribly busy at all today.
There’s not much in the next 10 minutes after that early scare from Rovers, but the Pirates came out a lot stronger in the early stages of the second half showing loads more intent. On the hour Rovers get another chance, Hanlan has a shot just in the box from the left-hand-side, but Fisher is down quickly to save once more. Shortly after Rovers get yet another sight of the Dons goal, the ball gets crossed in from the right and Hanlan puts away a half volley from the back post, but the goal is ruled out for offside.
With an hour played Bristol keeper Stappershoef who has been a bit dodgy with his kicking so far in the match plays a loose ball into the middle of the field. The ball is won by Dons and played to Cameron Jerome who plays an inch perfect through ball to Scott Fraser who slots the ball into the bottom right corner. That’s Fraser’s seventh goal of the season and great to see Jerome and Fraser linking up again. 2-0 to the Dons and looking more comfortable.
On the seventy-minute mark, Dons make two changes. Cameron Jerome and Ben Gladwin come off for Joe Mason and 16-year-old Lewis Johnson making his first league appearance for Dons.
There were penalty shouts from Regan Poole but personally not for me. Dons have a couple half chances to seal victory, but nothing comes from them, and Tisdale’s men don’t really have anything going for them either.
Eventually the referee blows the whistle, and the Dons move up to 16th place in the league table.
In my opinion, Sørensen, Harvie and Fraser were all exceptionally good today, and either one of them could win MOTM. Sørensen though is my MOTM because he battled very well in midfield and put in an all-round good performance.
On we go to Tuesdays away trip to Swindon.