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Mark Bowen insists future is bright for AFC Wimbledon despite relegation

AFC Wimbledon manager Mark Bowen (Yui Mok/PA)
AFC Wimbledon manager Mark Bowen (Yui Mok/PA)

AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Bowen insists the club have a bright future despite suffering relegation to Sky Bet League Two after a 4-3 home defeat to Accrington.

The visitors led 3-0 at the break through Jay Rich-Baghuelou, Colby Bishop and Michael Nottingham before four goals in the space of 10 second-half minutes gave the Dons hope of a final-day result.

Ayoub Assal’s strike and a Jack Rudoni double had Wimbledon dreaming but John O’Sullivan hit a fourth for Accrington as the visitors held on for victory.

The hosts needed a win and results elsewhere to go their way if they were to survive, but the loss consigned them to a first relegation since their reformation in 2002.

Bowen said: “The future of this club is positive. Unfortunately it will have to take a step back to come on stronger again – maybe there are one or two things in the structure and culture of the club that’s got to change.”

When asked whether he would continue as manager next season, Bowen added: “I don’t know.

“We’ve been talking to the club, myself and my coaching staff, and we see how we would like the future to be and hopefully those talks will continue.

“But whatever happens the club has to make decisions soon to give the club every chance of setting out the culture you need to go forward.

“We’ll see what happens in the coming days and weeks.

“It’s a difficult time for the club. The game itself, I went with something different, with a change of formation. Mathematically, yes we could have done it but we needed an eight-goal swing.

“In the first half it didn’t work, maybe the emotion of the day affected one or two players.”

Accrington boss John Coleman bemoaned his side’s defensive errors that he says are continuing to drive him “loopy”.

The three points secured a top-half finish but Accrington’s defence have leaked 80 goals this season – five more than relegated Wimbledon.

Coleman said: “I’m just catching my breath. That second 45 minutes of football encapsulated our season.

“We missed loads of chances, conceded a couple of poor goals, had a couple of horrendous decisions go against us, and that’s been happening to us all season.

“The only pleasing thing was that in the past we maybe would have buckled and Wimbledon would have got at least an equaliser, if not a winner.

“We’ve got good defenders. Michael Nottingham on his day can be the best in the league, Ross Sykes is the best in the league.

“They’re good defenders but collectively they’re not and that has to be addressed next season if we want any chance of a top-half finish.

“If we’d scored nine today it wouldn’t have flattered us, but equally if we’d conceded six it wouldn’t have flattered Wimbledon. We’ve got to shake this, it’s driving me loopy.”

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