AFC Wimbledon 0-3 Rochdale
Dons were booed off at the end by what remained of home support after a woeful display that surrendered to Rochdale’s deadly finishing.
A hat-trick in 16 second-half minutes from Scott Hogan showed what AFC were sadly lacking with Charlie Wyke squandering a glorious chance when it was 0-0 just before the hour.
Dons showed two changes from last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Oxford, Chris Arthur and George Francomb coming in for Jim Fenlon and Will Antwi respectively.
The versatile Aaron Morris survived a fitness test and dropped in at left-back in a 4-4-2 with Jones and Bennett taking the centre-back roles.
Francomb was soon in the thick of it, blocking Michael Rose’s shot from the edge amid shouts for handball waved away by the officials, before the first big chance of the game came the way of the hosts in the 11 minute.
Arthur and Harry Pell combined well down the right, before the latter’s cross found Wyke who headed narrowly over.
Dons were briefly reduced to 10 men when Sammy Moore suffered a head injury. The midfield stalwart was back in the fray after treatment, but was forced off minutes later with what seemed to be concussion and an eye injury, Kevin Saint-Luce coming on in his place.
The game was lacking a spark, but passions were roused on 23 minutes when Pell was booked for a rugged challenge on Joe Rafferty the away side’s calls for firmer punishment rejected by referee Langford
Scott Hogan had the first clear sight of goal for the visitors, but shot weakly at Ross Worner when he should have done better and Jamie Allen was also off target from Matt Lund’s through pass.
Home fans had to wait until the 38 minute for their side’s first shot on target when Saint-Luce sprang the offside trap from Francomb’s chipped pass and shot fiercely, but sadly straight at Rochdale keeper Josh Lillis.
It was late in the half before Dons applied sustained pressure, but a flurry of corners came to nothing and it was goalless at the break.
Lund headed over as Rochdale began the second half brightly and the midfielder was too high again 10 minutes in from Ashley Eastham’s cross – certainly the second time he should have done much better.
The miss should have been punished four minutes later when Wyke capitalized on an error by Eastham but as he went around the keeper and prepared to slot home strike partner Danny Hylton got in his way and a golden chance was lost.
Dons were looking more threatening now and when Fuller led a counter-attack down the right on 64 minutes another chance beckoned, but his square pass to Kevin Saint-Luce saw the midfielder miskick.
Another chance was gone and 60 seconds later Rochdale stole in front when Matt Done's cross from the left was just too high for the clawing fist of Ross Worner and Hogan stole in to head over the keeper into the corner.
In the aftermath of the goal Fuller limped off to be replaced by Fenlon, while with a quarter of an hour left Hylton gave way to Charlie Sheringham.
However, Rochdale sealed the win 11 minutes from time, and it was the same pairing who did damage as Lund’s ball found Hogan looking suspiciously offside, but with no flag the striker raced through before rounding Worner to score.
The front-man was not finished yet either, completing his hat-trick two minutes later with the best goal of the lot, latching onto a long punt to lob Worner from 22 yards out.