Pools Extend Winning Run At The Vic
Colin Cooper’s side made it five wins in succession with a 3-1 home victory over AFC Wimbledon.
Goals from Simon Walton, Luke James and Matty Dolan sealed the points for Pools who were made to work extremely hard for the win by a determined AFC Wimbledon side.
Again for Pools this evening, it was the opposition who enjoyed the better start to the game.
Wimbledon looked full of confidence on the ball and forced Pools back from the off – in fact, the visitors had the ball in the back of the net on three minutes only for the assistant’s raised flag to rule it out.
There were important clearances from Neil Austin and solid centre-back pairing Jack Baldwin and Christian Burgess as Pools kept Wimbledon at bay in this first half.
With Pools struggling to find their stride, there was little in the first part of the opening half to test Ross Worner.
But when the keeper was tested he was fully alert; Matty Dolan unleashed a powerful strike from 30 yards which stung the hands of Worner as he sent it wide.
Cooper’s men began to see more of the ball – with Michael Duckworth causing problems down the right and forcing his side forward and the right back sparked a decent spell of possession for his side.
With 32 minutes gone, Pools took the lead; Luke James flicked the ball on for James Poole and with the pacy forward breaking further into the box, he was sent crashing by Alan Bennett. The official was close by and pointed straight to the spot.
Simon Walton confidently stepped up to take the penalty kick and smashed a determined strike past Worner and into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The visitors were undeterred by the set-back and pushed straight up the other end of the pitch in search of an equaliser. A decent effort from Michael Smith came in from the right but Flinders pulled off another strong save to keep him out, while his back-line supported well to clear the danger.
There was a chance at either end before the break; a corner was headed over the bar by the visitors before Jonathan Franks saw an effort saved by Worner.
And so it was Pools who took the lead into the break, despite spending much of the first half defending a confident attack from AFC Wimbledon.
The second half provided a similar theme to the first early on, with Pools having to defend against a lively Dons side.
Cooper’s men had to rely on the break for their openings and this nearly paid off when the ball broke nicely for Poole to the right of the area but Worner just got enough on his well-placed ball across goal to deny Luke James a connection.
With the visitors upping their pressure, a goal looked more likely at that end and, when George Porter twisted inside the box, he went to ground after a Monkhouse challenge.
The official pointed back to the same spot he had awarded the first spot kick as Neal Ardley’s side were awarded a penalty.
Harry Kell sent Flinders the wrong way as he made the award count and made things all square here at The Vic.
The visitors were strong following their goal and Pools were rattled for a five-minute spell; Wimbledon threw everything forward and allowed Cooper’s men little respite.
But Austin and co. kept the ball out and it was in fact Pools who were next to find the back of the net; Simon Walton picked up possession in the middle of the field and lifted a lovely ball forward for James who was just waiting on the edge of the box.
And once again the young striker showed exactly what he is capable of as he rose high to send a lovely looping header over Worner to restore his side’s lead.
That wasn’t the end of the defensive duties for Pools though, as a resilient Wimbledon side continued to press on goal, looking to get a reward for their own hard work.
But again, after standing firm to soak up the pressure at one end, Cooper’s men broke to stretch their lead; more strong running from Duckworth saw the right-back play the ball square to Matty Dolan on the edge of the box.
The on-loan midfielder thundered a powerful strike through the box at goal and, although Worner got a touch on it, it wasn’t enough to keep the ball out and Dolan made it 3-1 to Pools.
The result sees Cooper's side make it five wins (four in League Two) in succession and the team will go to Scunthorpe United on Saturday full of confidence.
Full Time: Pools 3 AFC Wimbledon 1
Booked: Monkhouse (41), Walton (73)
Att: 3652 (235 AFC Wimbledon)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Franks (Richards 79), Walton, Dolan, Monkhouse, Poole (Sweeney 86), James
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Collins, Holden, Rodney, Walker
AFC Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Fenlon, Moore, Weston, Bennett, Moore (Sainte-Luce 68), Pell (Strutton 73), Smith, Sweeney, Porter
Subs Not Used: Brown, Kennedy, Antwi, Francomb, Midson.