STAGS LOSE AT WIMBLEDON
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
AFC Wimbledon 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Bugiel 45+2, Curtis 90+7. Swan 62. Bowery sent off 20, Quinn sent off 90+3.
Attendance: 8,114 (990 from Mansfield)
Date: 27 January 2024
Martin Shaw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium (Plough Lane)
Mansfield Town lost 2-1 at AFC Wimbledon this afternoon. But the scoreline doesn’t tell half the story.
There was dreadful news in the first half as captain and centre half colossus Aden Flint went off with a shoulder injury after two bad fouls from Josh Davison. To my untrained eye, it looked like it might be a dislocated shoulder. If it is dislocated, he will be out for quite a while.
After the game Nigel Clough said: “We are not sure of the seriousness or extent of it, so we will have to wait and see this week.”
Anyone who has followed the Stags this season will know what a huge blow this could be.
By the way, Davison wasn’t booked for either challenge when he should have been. The first, after just 5 seconds, was an elbow into Flint which was a blatant yellow card at least. Had he been booked for that, the subsequent foul and injury when Davison wrestled Flint to the ground, probably wouldn’t have happened.
The Stags had Jordan Bowery sent off after 21 minutes and had to play the last 70+ minutes with ten men. Bowery brought Josh Davison down 45 yards from goal and was the last defender. Referee Will Finnie produced a red card. It was a foul. A question mark whether Davison was offside from the long ball forward, it looks like he was from the video but it’s not conclusive evidence.
But then there is the question of consistency, because Keillor-Dunn was brought down on Tuesday night against Sutton in a pretty much identical situation in the first half and Joe Kizzi only received a yellow card.
Huge decisions in both games.
Wimbledon went ahead in first half stoppage time as Omar Bugiel smashed a great shot from 17 yards past Pym into the left corner of the net.
Not a bad first half performance from the Stags but I commented at half time that everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong, with Flint’s injury, the red card, and then goal just before the break.
The Stags needed to stay in the game and did so.
And the Stags equalised after 62 minutes with a great goal from Will Swan. Swan laid off to Quinn outside the area on the left. Quinn crossed into the area. It was chested away by Lee Brown, but Swan nicked it off him, got past another defender and slammed a left footed shot past the keeper just inside his near post from 11 yards. This was the Will Swan we remember from last season, a great goal and hopefully a great confidence booster for him. It was a great moment in front of the 990 travelling Stags fans.
After that, the game could have gone either way. The Stags had stayed in the game, and now you couldn’t tell which was the side with ten men.
Keillor-Dunn came on as substitute. He hadn’t started the game, Nigel Clough explaining after that he "had a tight hamstring this week which is why he didn’t start.”
Keillor-Dunn was looking sharp. After 85 minutes he went on a brilliant jinking run and shot wide off a defender.
And then the game exploded in controversy after 90+2 minutes. Keillor-Dunn picked the ball up 45 yards from goal, surged to the edge of the area. He was partially tackled, and the ball fell for Reed 25 yards from goal. Reed slid the ball forward to Keillor-Dunn a yard inside the area with his back to goal. Keillor-Dunn turned beautifully away from his marker Brown who clearly tugged him down. It was as blatant a stonewall penalty as you could wish to see. Referee Will Finnie waved it away. Astonishing. Nigel Clough told me the Wimbledon management agreed it was a penalty. The Wimbledon commentators thought it was a penalty. It was an utterly disgraceful decision from the referee.
Nigel Clough said after the game: “You won’t see a more blatant penalty than that this season. He’s turned the lad lovely and about to get his shot off and has been dragged to the floor. The only thought is, was it a red card or not, that was our only thought.”
The Stags players and bench were incensed. Quinn, who had been subbed, and booked earlier, harshly for an accidental challenge, was shown a second yellow card. The Stags had only had one red card all season (Macdonald on the opening day of the season), but now had two in one game.
The Stags still had another chance to win it as another sub John-Joe O’Toole had a free header from a Keillor-Dunn corner but sent it over the bar.
But in the cruellest of fashion Wimbledon went straight to the other end and won it. Armani Little curled a ball down the line behind McLaughlin, sub Ryan McLean got to the byline on the right, and pulled it back into the middle where another sub Ronan Curtis controlled it and poked past Pym from 6 yards. A good goal. Of course the defending could have been better.
What a sickener.
An unbelievably costly day for the Stags.
Flint out for what could be a long time.
It should have been three points if the Stags had converted the stoppage time penalty that they should have had. Instead it turned into no points.
And Bowery and Quinn now both suspended for the next game, against Notts County next Saturday.
But this was a really good battling performance from Mansfield, against all the odds. What spirit shown by the players, which was well-appreciated by the travelling fans.
After the game, Nigel Clough said: “I am unbelievably proud of the lads. To play with 10 men for 70 minutes and come out the stronger team, get an equaliser after going behind and then to look to try to win it in the manner we did says an awful lot about the spirit in the camp. With 15 minutes to go there was only one team you could see winning it, and if the officials do their jobs correctly I think we do.”
Meanwhile Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson told BBC London: “It becomes more difficult sometimes against 10 men. They became less expansive, tried to stay in the game, wait for a moment. And I thought they did it really well. We lost our way a little bit. They got a goal, and they had a couple of moments where the game was in the balance. But we managed to produce a real bit of quality at the end there and got the winner."
Transfer deadline day this week. As well as striking options, the Stags might well have to bring in another defender now with Flint, Kilgour, Johnson, Macdonald and Hewitt all out.
Then attention will turn to the local derby against Notts County next Saturday. Always a big game, and bigger than ever in the face of adversity. Let’s get behind the team like the magnificent fans did away today.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
SAT 27 JAN 2024, LEAGUE TWO
AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Mansfield Town
Bugiel (45'+2minutes), Curtis (90'+7minutes)
Bowery (Dismissed at20'minutes), Swan (62'minutes), Quinn (Dismissed at90'+3minutes)
Gordon (45'+2minutes), McLean (90'+7minutes)
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Ronan Curtis' last-gasp strike snatched AFC Wimbledon a 2-1 win against 10-man Mansfield in their League Two clash at Plough Lane.
Jordan Bowery was sent off midway through a first half that ended with Omar Bugiel making a goalscoring return to SW17.
Will Swan stunned the home support in the second half, but Curtis had the final say in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
The Stags were reduced to 10 men after 20 minutes when full-back Bowery hauled down Josh Davison as he looked to break free of the last man.
The visitors' backline was further weakened as captain Aden Flint was forced off with a shoulder injury on the half-hour.
Bugiel, back from Asian Cup duties with Lebanon, made the breakthrough in first-half stoppage time, arrowing a powerful strike into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
Mansfield equalised against the run of play, with Swan nicking the ball inside the area and driving home at the near post.
The Stags had a stoppage-time shout for a penalty turned down - with the replaced Stephen Quinn seeing red for his complaints from the bench.
And deep into added time Curtis tapped home from close range to steal victory for the Dons.
Home Team Wimbledon Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 58% Away 42%
Shots Home 19 Away 5
Shots on Target Home 5 Away 1
Corners Home 6 Away 2
Fouls Home 16 Away 10
Late fury as 10-man Mansfield Town are beaten at AFC Wimbledon
chad.co.uk, Sat 27 Jan 2024
Ten-man Mansfield were left fuming after losing 2-1 to a heart-breaking 97th-minute winner from debutant Ronan Curtis at AFC Wimbledon this afternoon.
Will Swan bagged in the second half and he must have thought he had handed the Stags a point they probably just about deserved, only for Curtis to bundle home from close range deep into added time just after Stags had appeals for what looked to be a nailed-on penalty for a foul on Davis Keillor-Dunn turned down.
On an eventful afternoon the Stags had lost Jordan Bowery to a straight red card early in the game, and Stephen Quinn was also shown a second yellow and subsequent red on the bench for his anger at the penalty decision in the dying seconds, and they have now gone four League Two games without a win.
They have also lost man-mountain skipper Aden Flint to an injury within half an hour.
It was the Dons who made the better of the early running at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Stags’ keeper Christy Pym was twice called upon in the early stages as he kept out efforts from Omar Bugiel and Armani Little.
James Tilley also went close with a strike from distance.
With Nigel Clough’s men struggling to gain any kind of foothold in the game, John-Kymani Gordon also threatened for the hosts following Bugiel’s tidy lay-off.
Alarm bells then began to ring for the Stags when they were reduced to 10 after only 20 minutes.
Bowery saw red after he hauled down Josh Davison as he looked set to bear down on the Stags’ goal 40 yards out after getting goalside of the Mansfield man.
Soon after the afternoon worsened, Stags’ skipper Aden Flint was forced off with a shoulder injury, on the half-hour, but the Stags continued to dig in.
Ollie Clarke went close when he drilled off target following a set piece, before the Dons struck seconds before the interval as Bugiel drilled home low from 16 yards following Gordon’s off-load.
The goalscorer had to be substituted at half-time due to an injury, and his replacement, Harry Pell, almost made it 2-0 seconds after the restart.
Little was looking lively, and he went close to notching a potentially killer second goal, before the Stags levelled in the 63rd minute.
Swan guided home his third goal of the season after Quinn’s cross wasn’t cleared and rolled towards Swan off Brown.
Mansfield made positive substititions and did threaten to win the game as we entered stoppage time.
And they were convinced they should have had a penalty.
Instead, Curtis’s late, late show proved a killer blow in a seventh added minute as he poked home from close range from McLean's ball across from the right by-line.
It was only a third league defeat of the season for Stags, who stay third.
AFC WIMBLEDON: Bass, Brown, Ogundere, Gordon (Curtis, 67), Currie, Tilley (McLean, 87), Reeves, Bugiel (Pell, 46), Little, Davison (Sasu, 68), Lewis. SUBS NOT USED: Tzanev, Ball, Sutcliffe.
STAGS: Pym, Brunt, Flint (McLaughlin, 30), Cargill, Bowery, Clarke (Lewis, 71), Reed, Maris (O’Toole, 84), Quinn (Boateng, 84), Akins, Swan (Keillor-Dunn, 71). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Cooper.
REFEREE: Will Finnie.
ATTENDANCE: 8,114 (990 away).
Ronan's debut goal earns dramatic win
afcwimbledon.co.uk, By Chris Slavin
It was a dream debut for Ronan Curtis today as he stepped forward in the nick of time for Wimbledon.
Wimbledon appeared to be heading for a frustrating 1-1 draw against a Mansfield side that played for 70 minutes with 10 men, but Curtis changed all that with his last-gasp strike earning a much-needed victory for the Dons.
It provided a real tonic for Wimbledon after a rather flat start to 2024, the Dons having failed to win a league game this year before today.
That statistic was extinguished in dramatic circumstances with that man Curtis - aiming to recapture the form that made him one of the hottest properties in the lower leagues during his time with Portsmouth - striking right at the death after entering as a late substitute.
Reduced to 10 men in the 20th minute after a straight red card was shown to Jordan Bowery, Mansfield had displayed resilience in abundance after falling behind to Omar Bugiel's well-taken goal.
Whatever the circumstances, make no mistake, this was a great win for the Dons as it was only Mansfield's third league defeat this season and they still remain in the automatic promotion places.
It appeared that the Dons had not done enough in the second-half to warrant all three points as Nigel Clough's side dug deep, before taking their big chance when it arrived through Will Swan. However, Curtis changed all that - to the relief and ecstacy of all in yellow and blue.
Johnnie Jackson made four changes to his starting line-up, with two of those enforced. Isaac Ogundere replaced the suspended Huseyin Biler at right-back and Lee Brown was recalled at the heart of defence due to the midweek injury sustained by Ryan Johnson in midweek. Bugiel was straight back into the side after returning from international duty with Aron Sasu on the bench and John-Kymani Gordon was given the nod to make his home debut in place of James Ball.
The Dons made a bright start with Gordon looking lively early on. The on-loan Crystal Palace forward showed good awareness to find Armani Little in the box, but he was unable to get in a shot with Mansfield keeper Christy Pym out quickly. On the other flank, James Tilley caused problems early on, but he shot wildly over from 25 yards out. Our men in yellow and blue had certainly been the better side early on and an incident in the 20th minute gave the Dons a clear advantage. Jordan Bowery was rightly adjudged to have made a professional foul as he was the last man when he stopped Josh Davison from going through - and the inevitable red card followed.
Shortly afterwards, Wimbledon supporters almost had a goal to celebrate when Gordon sent in a teasing cross from the left that was only half cleared and James Tilley’s fierce drive arced towards the top corner before it was cleared superbly by the head of Bailey Cargill. Following that near miss, the Dons struggled to make the extra man count as Mansfield showed why they had only been beaten twice in the league this season before this match. There was a further blow for the visitors midway through the first-half when their captain Aden Flint had to go off with a shoulder injury. Despite those setbacks for the men from Nottinghamshire, frustration was starting to grow amongst the home faithful with Wimbledon struggling to break them down.
The mood around the place changed emphatically in first-half injury time as the Dons opened the scoring in style. A fine team move ended with Gordon’s pass providing a shooting chance for Bugiel and he made the most of it with a fantastic low strike that left Pym with the chance. The relief was palpable around the Cherry Red Records Stadium after that breakthrough and Bugiel’s superb strike was an example of the sharp shooting that the Dons had been missing while he was away with Lebanon.
However, Bugiel’s return to Dons duty lasted only the one half as he was withdrawn at the break with Harry Pell introduced for the start of the second-half. Gordon continued to impress at the start of the second-half, one lung-bursting run down the left catching the eye after lovely hold-up play by Josh Davison. Mansfield held firm though to stay in the game and they were rewarded in the 62nd minute with an equalising goal that was a very disappointing one to concede from a Wimbledon perspective. A routine cross was sent in from the Mansfield left that Lee Brown failed to clear and Will Swann made no mistake with his strike from an acute angle finding the net.
Johnnie Jackson made a double change shortly after that goal with Gordon going off with a knock and he was replaced by Ronan Curtis, who came on for his Dons debut after signing earlier this month. Gordon could take plenty of satisfaction from his first Wimbledon game on home turf, certainly offering plenty of promise for the rest of his loan stay.
Aron Sasu was also introduced in place of Josh Davison as Wimbledon searched for the key to unlock the door. Despite having less players, Mansfield were not being tested enough and their players were even starting to sense that an unlikely victory in the circumstances was on the cards.
That all changed though when Curtis steered home from close range after a fine cross by fellow susbtitute Ryan McLean and that sparked jubilant scenes amongst the home faithful. What a way to claim a first league victory this year - and winning in such circumstances could be something to really build on in 2024.
AFC Wimbledon: Alex Bass, Lee Brown, Jake Reeves, James Tilley (James McLean), Josh Davison (Aron Sasu), Armani Little, Omar Bugiel (Harry Pell), Jack Currie, Joe Lewis, Isaac Ogundere, John-Kymani Gordon (Ronan Curtis).
Att: 8,114 (990 away)
Debutant Curtis hits 97th-minute winner as Dons beat Mansfield Town 2-1
capitalfootball.co.uk, By Charlie Stong at Plough Lane
AFC Wimbledon 2 (Bugiel 45+2, Curtis 90+7)
Mansfield Town 1 (Swan 63)
Substitute Ronan Curtis scored a 97th minute winner on his debut for Wimbledon, who beat 10-man Mansfield Town 2-1 at Plough Lane this afternoon,
Omar Bugiel’s strike from the edge of the box gave the Dons the lead in first-half stoppage time - after Stags’ Jordan Bowery was dismissed for hauling down Josh Davison when the latter was through on goal after 20 minutes.
Will Swan sent the traveling Mansfield fans wild when he equalised on 63 minutes, driving a shot past Alex Bass from 10 yards.
But Curtis stabbed home from six yards at the very end to give the Dons their first League Two win of 2024.
Wimbledon started the brighter of the two teams, the dribbling of John-Kymani Gordon causing problems for the Stags’ backline.
Gordon set up Armani Little on 10 minutes but the latter’s control let him down as he bore down on goal.
Bugiel then tested Mansfield goalkeeper Christy Pym from just outside the box.
The Dons almost took the lead just seconds after Bowery’s dismissal, Little’s searing half-volley from about 12 yards out was deflected for a corner when it looked set to nestle in the net.
But just when Mansfield felt they were heading in at half-time 0-0, Bugiel struck.
He received the ball just inside the area to the right, got the ball out of his feet and struck a clean shot with his left which flew past Pym.
Unsurprisingly with their man advantage, the Dons made most of the running in the second half.
But they were failing to test Pym, with the few shots they were managing ending up high and wide.
Jake Reeves came closest to doubling the home team’s lead on 55 minutes but again his shot flew over the crossbar.
And they were made to pay for their profligacy after 63 minutes. A bouncing ball fell to Will Swan inside the box, he controlled it and drilled a shot past Bass at the near post.
It sent the traveling Stags fans behind the goal, who felt they had been on the wrong end of some harsh decisions, wild with joy.
Wimbledon pushed for a winner, defender Joe Lewis having perhaps the best chance - before the late drama - when he received the ball with his back to goal, turned and got his shot away, but it was just wide.
In stoppage time Mansfield were convinced they should have had a penalty, Davis Kellor-Dunn appearing to be pulled down.
Nigel Clough was apoplectic - as were the Stags fans.
And salt was rubbed into the Nottinghamshire wounds when Curtis struck at the very last.
AFC Wimbledon: Bass, Brown, Reeves, Tilley (McLean 87), Davidon (Sasu 68), Little, Bugiel (Pell h-t), Currie, Lewis, Ogundere, Gordon (Curtis 68)
Mansfield Town: Pym, Cargill, Akins, Clarke (Lewis 72), Bowery, Maris (O’Toole 84)), Flint (McLaughlin 30), Quinn (Boateng 84), Brunt, Reed, Swan (Kellor-Dunn 72)
Referee: Will Finnie