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Boss Robinson why the Dons are high scorers


Nine games into their first full season under Mark Robinson, AFC Wimbledon are the top goalscorers in all competitions across the four English professional divisions.

The South Londoners have plundered 11 goals in League One, where they sit joint top in the scoring charts with Milton Keynes.

They’re through to the third round of the EFL Cup, where they take on Arsenal – and they put five past Portsmouth on Tuesday night in their first game in the EFL Trophy.

When 20-goal Joe Pigott announced that he’d be leaving Plough Lane at the end of last season, many worried about the Dons’ primary source of goals.

But they have 10 different scorers of their 18 total goals so far – from centre-back Ben Heneghan to midfielder and top scorer Jack Rudoni. Wimbledon have begun the season with an exhilarating brand of football, scoring from every avenue – and the returning fans are full of confidence.

With only one defeat, at leaders Sunderland, it’s going well so far.

“That had to be the plan when you lose a centre forward who has got us 20 goals,” Robinson told the South London Press.

“We knew that we would bring players in who potentially might surprise us and get more goals than we thought, but fundamentally, we had to look at it and say, ‘we’re going to need to try and add goals from all over the pitch.’

“It’s never guaranteed, but without resources, it was never going to be possible to sign a centre-forward who has that goalscoring record at this level.

“After a slow start, that’s currently happening, and we need to keep working on that. The opposition will start looking at you, so we need to keep making sure that we’re working on that in our movement and the way we create goals. It’s certainly pleasing at the moment.”

The Dons brought in Henry Lawrence and Dapo Mebude on loan in the summer. They also signed permanent additions George Marsh and Luke McCormick. Robinson said it’s no “fluke” that the recruits have already seamlessly adapted to life in SW19.

“That’s why it’s so important we did our due diligence before we signed them,” he added. “We made sure that they were exactly the right characters, which is massively important. There are loads of players out there with good ability, but it was so important that we brought the right people in.

“Luke (McCormick) scored his goal on Tuesday night, and he’s celebrating with the ball boy. They’re really good characters and good lads, and that’s all the club is about. It’s because we did the work on their characters.”

Wimbledon have come from behind four times this season to pick up points, with Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Oxford United and Tuesday’s 5-3 win against Portsmouth, the second time they have recorded back-to-back wins this season campaign.

Robinson said of his side’s resilience when they have conceded: “You could have a side at 22 that capitulates, and people would be saying, ‘Do they capitulate because they’re young?’ It’s down to our working environment and our culture that they have this never-say-die attitude, and they never think they’re beaten.

“Of course, momentum is important because it breeds confidence, but the way we work is that we are always focusing on our performance. If you don’t focus on the performance – because there were still lots of things we need to do better – then you end up with a defeat, and you’re going back again.

“It’s great for confidence, but we still need to have a good look at some areas that could have been better.”

But there is no “us against them” mentality. Robinson said: “Not really. I kind of want to get away from that. I don’t want us just to be that plucky Wimbledon; I want us to have a bigger club mentality. The resources are always going to be what they are; we’re fan-owned.

“I want to put that to bed and not play on the underdog, and just believe that we are a really well-established club that is capable of going toe-to-toe with anyone in our league.

“I want us to behave like we are a really well-run and established club that is going somewhere.”

Robinson takes his side to Morecambe tomorrow. A third consecutive win could result in the Dons moving into the play-off places.

“They’re all tough games in this league,” said Robinson. “It will be a different challenge and a really tough game. We have got to make sure we’re getting everything right that we do, and if we do that, as always, it will give us a great chance of coming away with the result we want.”

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