How Reds' League Two rivals are shaping up for next season
Who are ya?
AFC Wimbledon were formed in 2002 when an FA commission agreed that the old Wimbledon FC could relocate to MK Dons. Starting life in the Combined Counties League, the new club rose steadily through the non-league pyramid, culminating in promotion to League 2 in 2011 after Danny Kedwell’s penalty won the Conference play-off final against Luton Town.
Who’s in charge?
This October Neal Ardley will celebrate three years in charge of AFC Wimbledon, having replaced long-serving Terry Brown in October 2012 after previously running the Academy at Cardiff City. He played 250 times for the Dons and was taking coaching qualifications when he was 24. He also played for Watford, Millwall and Cardiff before concentrating on coaching.
AFC Wimbledon finished 15th in League Two this season, picking up 38 of their 58 points at the Kingsmeadow Stadium. A lack of consistency meant they were unable to sustain a play-off challenge. They won four out of five in December but then lost three in a row the following month and won just one of their last 11 games. Adebayo Akinfenwa was top scorer with 15 goals, 13 in the league, and Wimbledon did enjoy a good FA Cup run which ended in a 2-1 loss at home to Liverpool in the third round. MK Dons knocked them out of the Capital One Cup 3-1 in the first round but AFC gained revenge in the JP Trophy with a 3-2 win. They went out in the third round with a 2-1 loss at Bristol City, the eventual winners.
Manager Ardley says he has targeted seven new signings during the close season. Ross Worner, Jack Smith, Mark Phillips and Alfie Potter have all been released while Sammy Moore parted company with the club by mutual consent, freeing up funds for some new signings. Akinfenwa has been offered a new deal but may opt to move abroad. Ex-Reds’ skipper Dannie Bulman has signed a new contract for next season.
Who will forget our game against the Dons in March 2011. In a top of the table Conference clash, Reds won 3-1 to take a massive step towards promotion having lost at Kingsmeadow earlier in the campaign. The sides also met in the League Cup in August 2011 following promotion to the Football League and Reds won 3-2. The two League meetings that season saw Crawley triumph 5-2 away while the home game ended 1-1.
How far is it?
The shortest trip of the season at just 60 miles there and back.