Walsall 0-1 AFC Wimbledon Player Ratings: Seddon stars

Wally Downes has backing from the natives – afcwimbledon.co.uk

AFC Wimbledon kept their survival hopes alive on Tuesday night at Walsall, where Steve Seddon’s strike early in the second half gave them a 1-0 win. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Walsall

Liam Roberts – the Walsall academy graduate was under some pressure coming into this game, having conceded from eight of his previous 11 shots on target with question marks over his command of area, but he produced an assured display, stopping from Folivi midway through the first half. 7

Cameron Norman – Dean Keates felt Walsall needed a right-back and, since joining from Oxford, Norman has produced some steady performances but he was short of a bit of pace and aggression at times on Tuesday night. Perhaps partially responsible for Wimbledon’s goal but not always helped by a lack of support on the right flank. 5
Dan Scarr – after signing from Birmingham in January, Scarr had to make up for an error-strewn display at Blackpool last time out but he partially atoned for that here. Early in the game he was forced back by Piggott and Folivi but he generally held his ground well and made one brave defensive header in the first half. 6
Jon Guthrie – the Pewsey Vale academy graduate might have spent five years at Crewe, but looks relatively old-school in style, in terms of his bravery when heading balls away and showing no frills in possession. Grew into the game after a tricky start and forced Ramsdale into a save late in the first half. 6
Luke Leahy – the left-back can produce some high-quality deliveries but, because Walsall so rarely used the full-backs in build-up play, he rarely had the opportunity to show it. Steady enough defensively. 5

Isaiah Osbourne – it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much the veteran midfielder brings this Saddlers side, aside from physicality and determination. He appeared to be struggling with a minor injury towards the end of the first half and it is therefore surprising that he stayed on the pitch early in the second half, when Edwards was instead taken off. 4
Joe Edwards – having returned from injury, the utility man can bring energy and enthusiasm, but here he was not quite at his best. Then again, he still offered more in possession than Osbourne and it would have been preferable to have him on the pitch late on when pressure was applied. 5
Liam Kinsella – the young midfielder’s contract is running out with talks over a new deal having stalled, but it is important Walsall act fast to not only tie him down but also find a system that plays to his strengths. The team played long a lot of the time yet Kinsella showed some nice touches and could have been given the ball more often. 7

Aramide Oteh – the QPR loanee is very highly-rated at his parent club having scored a lot of goals at Under-23s level; the pace, power and willingness to take defenders on was evident in flashes and it has to be said that he offered more than Josh Gordon and would have been a more useful weapon to have in the last half-hour, yet was instead taken off. 7
Josh Gordon – the speedy forward is facing the consequences of a poor decision earlier in his career to move to Leicester, despite negligible opportunity for game-time; he is struggling to establish himself at League One level. As well as questionable technical ability, he also showed a reluctance to battle for contentious balls, in comparison with other forwards on the pitch. 4
Andy Cook – the target man was so frequently the man Walsall players aimed for in possession and it was only when he held the ball up that any combination play ensued. Cook tried his best and battled for every ball that came his way, but ultimately he looked tired in the second half, burdened by such a big responsibility. The Saddlers cannot keep relying on the former Tranmere front-man so heavily. 6

Zeli Ismail (on 56) – the enigmatic wide talent produced one or two decent crosses, despite looking reluctant to engage in any physical duels. 6
Matt Jarvis (on 56) – the experienced winger made several driving runs down the left flank and produced some good deliveries, as well as a powerful tight-angled effort that forced a stop from Ramsdale. 7

AFC Wimbledon

Aaron Ramsdale – the goalkeeper was relegated from League Two with Chesterfield last season, but in some ways being part of that side put him in the shop window due to the volume of work. He showed his shot-stopping qualities once again here, denying Guthrie late in the opening period and then Jarvis in the second half. 8

Deji Oshilaja – the stereotypical Wimbledon captain is a shouter and a barker, but Oshilaja offered a slightly more subdued form of leadership. The 25-tear-old looked strong in the air despite being relatively short for a centre-back at 5’11”. A commanding display. 8
Will Nightingale – against Burton on Saturday, the 23-year-old occupied a holding midfield role, but his lack of pace meant that he can be caught out in transition. Nightingale looks more at home in the middle of a back three, in which he held his ground superbly. 8
Rod McDonald – the no-nonsense centre-back produced an aerially-dominant display which suggests he could be an asset next season, even if that’s in League Two. Showed his versatility in the latter stages, when he moved to left-back following the switch to a back-four. 7

Toby Sibbick – the right-back is very comfortable on the ball and his high fitness levels mean he offers a lot more of a threat than positional rival Tennai Watson. Deserves to keep his place, although the injury he sustained in the second half suggests he might not be available for the weekend’s FA Cup tie with Millwall, which Wimbledon are 2.22 with betbrain to win. 7
Anthony Hartigan – the academy graduate offered composure in possession as well as creativity from deep and some nice touches, which suggests he could profit from being part of more front-foot performances next term. Not quite as influential in the second half, when he had to be more disciplned. 6
Anthony Wordsworth – the former Southend man’s technical quality not only helped Wimbledon pose a greater set piece threat than their hosts, it also meant he could cause problems picking up second balls in high-tempo attacks. Dug in when he needed to as well. 7
Steve Seddon – the young left-back has shown both tenacity and quality since joining on loan from Birmingham and we saw here how important he is in a wing-back role. With Walsall having no right winger to track the 21-year-old’s runs, the Wombles needed only a simple reverse ball from the right to send him one-on-one with opposing right-back Norman. Seddon started and finished the move that led to the winning goal, completing a fine evening for him. 8

Shane McLoughlin – the 21-year-old, who joined from Ipswich last month, is technically not quite the finished product but he offered bright movement and raw energy in the number 10 role. In the second half, he showed a willingness to apply himself to a more defensive right-sided role after Sibbick went off. 6

Joe Piggott – there have been question marks about whether Piggott can lead the line on his own, but he looked better with a strike-partner alongside him. Although he did not win many initial headers from Ramsdale’s long goal-kicks, the fact he was willing to duel for them meant that those behind him could pick up second balls. 6
Michael Folivi – the Watford loanee’s display can be classified as a very strong one, even though there was a disparity between his almost unstoppable performance levels in the first 15 minutes of both halves and more subdued levels in the remaining 30. Folivi’s game is about pace, power and constant running which meant that he was very effective when sufficiently rested, forcing a good save from Roberts in the first half and having a role in the goal. 8

Mitch Pinnock (on 56) – the vibrant wide man has not quite been able to match his pre-Christmas performances in recent weeks; he was brought on to provide a counter-attacking outlet but did not get too many opportunities to show his capabilities in possession. 6
Terell Thomas (on 76) – the former Wigan centre-back picked up an injury on Saturday but recovered in time to feature here and dealt with the crosses he faced well. 7