AFC Wimbledon 1-3 West Ham United Player Ratings: Nightingale impresses

Rice, Snograss, Diop and Zabaleta celebrate – @SkyFootball

Despite producing a heroic, catenaccio performance, AFC Wimbledon’s 10-men suffered late heartbreak in a 3-1 defeat to West Ham United. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

AFC Wimbledon

Tom King – the Millwall loanee has worked his way up through short spells at other clubs in lower divisions and this was his big chance to shine in front of the nation. ‘The Lion’ has already kept three clean sheets and looked like grabbing another after a quiet first half, but was busier after the break. Possibly might have positioned himself slightly better for the opener, if we’re being ultra-critical. 5

Toby Sibbick – the athletic academy graduate has the fitness to get up and down the pitch; while primarily a defender, he was schooled as a forward and is therefore comfortable in attacking areas. Got beaten for pace by Perez on one or two occasions in the first half but otherwise his positioning was exceptional, underpinned by the maturity with which he defended his post. On occasions, he did well to hold onto the ball in tight areas, too. 7
Deji Oshilaja – the ex-Gillingham centre-back has enjoyed a terrific start to the campaign and his aerial prowess was on show once again here. The fact he has been named captain, at 25, is testament to his leadership qualities. Made some very important clearances in the six-yard box. Two outstanding blocks on Snodgrass in the second half but, heartbreakingly, he perhaps lost his balance for the corner that led to the winner; but that should not detract from an outstanding display. 9
Rod McDonald – Wimbledon did well to poach arguably one of the best centre-backs in League Two in 2017-18 away from Coventry, but the Liverpudlian has been unable to force himself above Nightingale and Oshilaja in the pecking order; he was therefore understandably desperate to prove himself but after a Vinnie Jones-esque challenge, then a shirt-pull on Hernandez. 4
Tyler Garratt – the left-back was well-liked at Bolton but disregarded somewhat at Doncaster, where Darren Ferguson favoured auxiliary left-backs over him and Grant McCann decided to loan the 21-year-old out. Although Garratt’s application couldn’t be questioned here, he sometimes found it difficult to handle Yarmolenko’s runs at times; needed to learn not to close down Zabaleta so as not to allow any space in dangerous areas for Yarmolenko. 5

Mitch Pinnock – the wide man showed plenty of talent at Dover but his attitude was perhaps open to debate; here, he is surrounded by leaders and professionals which appears to have helped his development in terms of the work he does without the ball. With it, he posed a threat with his long throws and fizzed some dangerous low balls across the box prior to the red card. 7
Anthony Hartigan – the creative talent is highly-regarded by the club’s youth academy; we saw why early on, when he pressed forward well and showed some nice touches. After the break though, he undertook a more circumspect role which often involved protecting Garratt; the fact he met both remits equally impressively is a clear sign of the 18-year-old’s potential. 8
Liam Trotter – the vice-captain appears to have strong battling qualities and, the 125 games he played for Millwall might not have harmed his motivation for this one. He was positioned slightly deeper than Hartigan at 11 v 11 but, after the red card, he played possibly Wimbledon’s only cross for Hanson. Nicknamed ‘Wardrobe’ by his teammates, Trotter certainly warded off the opposition. 7
Scott Wagstaff – the versatile midfielder, who has gone up from League One level with Charlton, posed a threat with his runs in from the right channel in the first half. He looked to link-up with Hanson early on before undertaking a deeper role; which saw him making two off-the-line clearances in a two-minute spell in the latter stages of the first half. 8

Joe Pigott – having been The Wombles’ best player on Saturday, Piggott continued his promising form here: he nodded home a corner inside two minutes and held the ball up well for others, before briefly taking up a role on the right side of midfield after the sending off. Subbed in the first half due to circumstance rather than performance – although there’s a case to say that Hanson should have instead been the striker to be withdrawn. 7
James Hanson – the target man was part of Bradford’s run to the Final of this competition in 2013 and, historically, has always fared well against Premier League defences not used to facing old-school strikers. Hanson was a great reference point in the first half hour but he’s not got any pace, which meant Wimbledon weren’t able to threaten on the counter after the red card and didn’t register a shot on goal. Used his presence to win a free-kick in the second half but not much more. 5

Will Nightingale (on 26) – the Wandsworth-born academy graduate has overcome recent injury issues superbly; the centre-back made a number of vital interventions in the six-yard box and was, at times, the man holding the defence together. Although he couldn’t stop Hernandez squeezing the ball through his legs for the third in injury-time, this was an outstanding display from Nightingale in very testing circumstances. 9
Kwesi Appiah (on 79) – the speedy forward enjoyed an excellent pre-season and was brought on to pose a counter-attacking threat; the precision of passes into him weren’t quite what he might normally be used to but he remained a willing runner. 6
Anthony Wordsworth (on 68) – the set piece specialist, who enjoyed a reasonable three years at Southend, injected fresh energy into Wimbledon’s midfield; tried to link up with Hanson where possible and also showed good defensive awareness. 7

West Ham United

Adrian San Miguel – the 31-year-old proved in 2015-16 that he is a very good goalkeeper and is, perhaps, unfortunate that the club have looked for alternatives in Joe Hart and Lukasz Fabianski in previous summers. Couldn’t quite get a strong enough hand to Wimbledon’s only effort on target but from the second minute onwards, the Spaniard was little more than a spectator. 5

Pablo Zabaleta – the Argentinian pressed with plenty of desire but when he received the ball, he lacked pace, baring one burst beyond Garratt in the first half; trusted the man ahead of him to be the chief threat down the right flank. 5
Issa Diop – the 21-year-old endured an awkward first half as Wimbledon targeted his channel, but he grew into the contest and indeed, his performance will be remembered most for his attacking qualities. Just after the hour mark, the Frenchman equalized with an excellent long-range drive before smacking the bar with a header moments later. 7
Angelo Ogbonna – the Italian is playing for his Premier League place after a disappointing start to the campaign and being beaten in the air by Pigott for the opener might not have helped his cause. Lucky that Wimbledon went down to 10 men and he therefore wasn’t put in that kind of situation more often thereafter. Popped up at the back-post to grab the winner from Snodgrass’ corner, though. 6
Aaron Cresswell – the left-back normally likes to float crosses from deep but, with sometimes only Hernandez in the box, he wasn’t always given the target to aim for. Lacks the pace to attack the byline on his own, the Tranmere academy graduate tried to link-up with Snodgrass or Perez through clever combination play, which he did with mixed results. 6

Robert Snodgrass – the Scot’s deliveries were crucial for Villa last season; here, he had no joy crossing to Hernandez, but he could bring others into play with simpler through balls and posed a threat with his shots from distance, two of which were blocked in the second half. Offered accurate set pieces, too; his 83rd-minute corner led to the winner. 7
Declan Rice – the young utility man, who lives just a few minutes walk from Kingsmeadow and used to attend Wimbledon matches as a schoolboy, had a tough evening and indeed, his fellow supporters remarked on an off-target effort in the first half in a good natured way. Began to take hold of the game more after the break. 6
Pedro Obiang – the Spanish midfielder offers impressive technical quality in possession and at times he linked play nicely. Sometimes though lacked the defensive diligence to track Hartigan’s runs, especially at 11 v 11 and didn’t make too many third man runs himself, which might partly explain why Manuel Pellegrini took him off at the break. 5

Andriy Yarmolenko – having played at Euro 2016, the Ukranian was capable of causing problems for a League One rear-guard. The exciting, direct winger showed that here, often either beating Garratt for pace or cutting inside to shoot; the two-footed player looked equally threatening doing either. Home fans suggesting Yarmolenko was a waste of money after being taken off might be eating their words come May. 8

Lucas Perez – the wide forward did not get much of a chance at Arsenal but on Tuesday night, he missed his opportunity to show West Ham his full capabilities. Tended to roam into the left channel and although in doing this he beat Sibbick once or twice, he did not occupy defenders in the box and was taken off in the latter stages. 4

Javier Hernandez – the Mexican looked bright at times outside the box at 11v11, but the red card changed the dynamics of the contest and Hernandez’s role was more about winning individual duels with centre-backs, which isn’t necessarily his game; plus, when the ex-Manchester United man was given the type of chance that might have suited him, he nodded tamely straight at King. Hernandez managed to round the goalkeeper to add a third in injury-time, but this performance was far from convincing. 5

Felipe Anderson (on 45) – the Brazilian has been West Ham’s main bright spark so far this season. Made a difference when he came off the bench with his direct runs from deep, then fired a rasping effort from outside the box into the side-netting. Roamed into wide areas at times to try to stretch the pitch; his teammates though weren’t quite on his level. 8
Michail Antonio (on 81)- born just a half-hour’s drive from Kingsmeadow, the speedy winger was brought on to inject pace into West Ham’s attacks but wasn’t given the space to make the kind of runs he wants to. 5
Arthur Masuaku (on 90+1) – the Congolese left-back is more likely to drive his way to the byline than Cresswell and might return to the starting line-up against Wolves. 5