AFC Wimbledon 2
Midson 54, 60
by CHRIS PARSONS
AFTER first-half of near complete dominance, Argyle fell to two second-half goals against AFC Wimbledon at Home Park on Tuesday evening.
Having peppered the Dons goal in the first-half, they were made to pay for their lack of firepower after the break when two goals in six minutes from striker Jack Midson condemned the Pilgrims to back-to-back league defeats.
It was hard to take after such a strong first-half performance but, as anybody in football will tell you, goals win games and sadly, the Pilgrims just couldn't produce.
In a horses for courses move, manager Peter Reid had made a few subtle changes from the side that slumped to defeat to Rotherham four days earlier.
With Carl Fletcher out through injury, there was a place in the side for Tom Hitchcock, allowing Conor Hourihane to drop back into the midfield with Simon Walton.
Meanwhile, Luke Daley and Warren Feeney swapped their wide-right and central positions as did left-back Ben Gibson and centre-half Ladij Soukouna.
In an opening ten minutes devoid of all goalkeeper activity, there was really little to shout about.
Then, after 15 minutes, came the first real chance and an incredible let off for AFC Wimbledon. Under no pressure at all, Dons 'keeper Seb Brown fluffed his routine goal kick straight into the path of a grateful Hitchcock.
The youngster strode towards goal, with Daley for back-up but inexplicably took a heavy touch and fed the ball back to a very relieved goalkeeper. The youngster couldn't believe it and nor could the impressive AFC Wimbledon support behind the goal who took great delight in celebrating the miss.
A good spell of Argyle pressure followed, with several little interplays ultimately proving unsuccessful.
Midway through the half, Hourihane had a shot from 20 yards parried as the Pilgrims looked to go into another gear before Soukouna's looping cross just evaded the head of the incoming Feeney.
It was looking more and more positive as time went on. The passing was crisp, the movement was sharp with the interchanging Daley and Feeney working together particularly well to carve out chances down the right.
Then, on the half hour mark, an opportunity as good, if not more promising than Hitchcock's earlier miss. Having received a strong pass from the middle, it was Daley who control well before weaving in and above two played inside the area and rifling off a shot.
In retrospect, the former Norwich City man should have probably shot across the 'keeper but it was at the near post where Brown made the save from his cracking half volley..
Argyle were on top and had yet another chance to take the lead when Brown fumbled a corner. Soukouna took a shot, Feeney had a go, Hourihane, too, but in the end, it was scrambled away.
With ten minutes to go, the visitors must have been begging for half-time as Daley and then Soukouna were again denied by last-ditch tackles and deflections.
But then, just as half-time loomed, it was Wimbledon's turn to show some teeth when skipper Jamie Stuart should have done better with a free header from inside the six-yard box.
After the excitement of the closing stages of the first period, the beginning of the second half was somewhat of a disappointment. Passing became sloppy on both sides, silly fouls were committed and the ball spent the majority of the time in the air.
Then, despite all of the first-half pressure and optimism around a decent Home Park crowd, Wimbledon took the lead.
When Hatton's free-kick found substitute Christian Jolley in the box, his head down in turn found Jack Midson who slotted coolly past the advancing Jake Cole.
Then before the shell-shocked Pilgrims even had a chance to regroup, Midson doubled his and Wimbledon's goal tally by slotting home a lose ball from the middle of the area.
The Pilgrims now had their tails between their legs and were almost made to pay again when Midson forced Cole into a good save at his near post.
As Home Park began to empty, substitute Matt Lecointe had the Pilgrims best chance of the half, denied only by a superb Brown save.
And so, the hunt for the first win of the campaign goes on...
Argyle (4-4-2): 23 Jake Cole (gk); 2 Durrell Berry, 5 Stéphane Zubar (capt), 19 Ben Gibson, 13 Ladij Soukouna; 11 Warren Feeney, 8 Simon Walton, 20 Conor Hourihane, 21 Will Atkinson; 10 Tom Hitchcock (27 Matt Lecointe 61), 7 Luke Daley.
Substitutes (not used): 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 6 Curtis Nelson, 16 Jordan Copp, 17 Jared Sims.
Booked: Zubar 41
AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): 1 Seb Brown (gk); 7 Sam Hatton, 5 Jamie Stuart (capt), 6 Brett Johnson, 3 Gareth Gwillim; 14 Lee Minshull (8 Ricky Weelard h-t), 15 Sammy Moore (4 Max Porter 78), 23 Rashid Yussuff, 11 Luke Moore; 9 Charles Ademeno (12 Christian Jolley h-t), 10 Jack Midson.
Substitutes (not used): 3 Chris Bush, 20 Jack Turner.
Referee: Martin Heywood
Attendance: 5,900 (423 away)