We look ahead to this weekend's important fixtureGILLINGHAM v AFC WIMBLEDON
npower League Two
Saturday April 20 2013
MEMS Priestfield Stadium
Joe Martin has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a fractured big toe while Leon Legge (hip) is only rated as 50/50.
Dons skipper Mat Mitchel-King has been suffering from a back problem in recent weeks but is likely to feature while striker Gary Alexander missed the home game with Exeter City last weekend due to an ankle injury.
Other absentee’s, midfielder Peter Sweeney (broken metatarsal) and full-back Jim Fenlon (back), are both back in light training.
THE SEASON SO FAR…
Following the midweek fixtures in which relegation-threatened Aldershot Town, Barnet, Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United all featured, the Dons found themselves lying 22nd in the League Two table having collected 49 points (13 wins and 10 draws) from their 44 games.
Going into the last two games of the 2012-13 season Neal Ardley’s side are level on points with the two teams above them, Torquay and York, but now there is just a one point gap from Barnet who slipped to 23rd following their 3-2 defeat at Plainmoor on Tuesday night.
The game against Exeter last Saturday saw a pulsating 2-2 draw in front of a club record attendance of 4,749 at the Cherry Red Records Stadium which ended a three-game losing streak for the Dons. They showed plenty of spirit, twice coming from behind through Luke Moore, to earn a vital point in their battle for survival in League Two.
AFC Wimbledon have recorded more away wins (eight) on their travels this season than any of their relegation-threatened rivals while another two games have ended in draws.
Those away triumphs came at Aldershot (1-0), Dagenham & Redbridge (1-0), Plymouth (2-1), Rochdale (1-0), Southend United (3-1), Torquay (3-2), Wycombe Wanderers (1-0) and York City (3-0) while the draws occurred at Barnet and Fleetwood.
AFC Wimbledon duo Mat Mitchel-King and Luke Moore have both spoken confidently ahead of the journey to the Medway Towns at the weekend.
Skipper Mitchel-King promises that it won’t be easy for Martin Allen's side at Priestfield. He said: “If we play with the same determination as we did on Saturday, then we can do it.
“We went their last season and got the points after being 3-1 down, and there a couple of local Kent boys in our team as well, and I’m confident we'll get the points.”
Meanwhile Moore, the Dons longest-serving player, insists that the Dons have to maintain the belief that they can upset the Gills after he returned to goal-scoring form with a double against Exeter City on Saturday.
Moore was a scorer in the Dons 4-3 win at Priestfield last season and the forward is looking forward to the match.
The 24-year-old said: “It will be a great game to play in because Gillingham are going for the title and we are looking for the points ourselves. We will go there with confidence after Saturday. We had a really tough week of training last week and we will do that again this week and look forward to the game.
Going into the final two league games of the season, strike duo Danny Kedwell and Deon Burton lead the way with 15 and 12 goals respectively. They are followed by another attacking pair, Myles Weston and Chris Whelpdale, who have both scored seven.
Striker Jack Midson, last season’s joint top scorer with 18 goals, leads the way again this season with 13 goals to his name. Luke Moore’s brace last week took his tally to four goals for the season and he is followed by Stacy Long, a former Ebbsfleet United midfielder, Charlie Strutton and ex-Gill Rashid Yussuff who each have three.
THE LAST TEN…
Over the course of the last ten League Two fixtures the Gills have collected 17 points (four wins and five draws) while opponents AFC Wimbledon have taken 13.
Gills - DWDDDWDWWL
Dons - LWWWLWLLLD
There have been just three previous league meetings between the sides since AFC Wimbledon were promoted into the Football League thanks to Danny Kedwell’s match-winning penalty against Luton Town in the 2010-11 Blue Square Bet Premier Play-Off final at the Etihad Stadium.
Last season the Dons did the ‘double’ over Gillingham, winning 3-1 at Kingsmeadow before following that up with a 4-3 triumph here at Priestfield.
At the Cherry Red Records Stadium in October 2011 the Gills had a mountain to climb after Christian Jolley scored twice and Jack Midson added another with just 22 minutes on the clock. Charlie Lee did pull one back with a cracking 25-yarder in the 67th minute goal but it proved little more than a consolation.
Three months later (January 21) a late Jack Midson double plus a Garry Richards own goal saw Terry Brown’s team stun the Gills in a fight back from 3-1 down to edge a seven-goal thriller. Gavin Tomlin and Jo Kuffour put Gillingham two-up before Luke Moore pulled one back on the hour. Just two minutes later Tomlin restored the two-goal advantage before the Dons late comeback.
Earlier this season (October 27) it was the Gills that left for home with the three points in the bag thanks to a single-goal victory that came courtesy of debutant Romain Vincelot – an on-loan midfielder from Brighton & HA. He was in the right place when a Chris Whelpdale throw was half-headed clear to the Frenchman who struck a low left-foot shot just inside right-hand post of the diving Dons keeper Seb Brown.
AFC Wimbledon: Brown, Osano, Haynes-Brown (Jolley 86), Yussuff, Mambo, Antwi, Long (Moore 66), Gregory, Harrison, Midson, Francomb Unused subs: Fenlon, Jaimez-Ruiz, Harris, Cummings, Merrifield
Gillingham: Nelson, Fish, Barrett, Flanagan, Frampton, Montrose, Whelpdale, Vincelot, Strevens, Kedwell, Weston (Lee 76) Unused subs: Forecast, Davies, Jackman, Dack, Payne, Lee, Findley
Referee – Andy D’Urso
Assistants – Adrian Gillett & Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official – Stuart Butler
The Essex official has been in charge of 37 games this season, issuing 90 yellow and six red cards.
He was the man with the whistle when the Gills travelled to Plymouth Argyle and earned a point from a 2-2 draw back in November.