Saturday 19 November 2022

Ground #372 - Plough Lane

Date: 1st October 2022
Ground: Plough Lane
Location: Wimbledon, London

My twelfth new ground of 2022 was on Saturday 1st October at Plough Lane in Wimbledon, London. The game was AFC Wimbledon vs. Colchester United in Football League Two.

Plough Lane is part of a wider community development in Wimbledon and is largely surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings. The stadium was built in the place of the former Wimbledon Stadium which hosted greyhound racing and motorsport until 2017 when it closed. Demolition of the venue and construction of the new football stadium constructed shortly after and was opened in 2020. The venue is well served by public transport with it being half a mile north-east of Haydons Road railway station, just around a mile from Wimbledon railway station, Wimbledon Park tube station and Tooting Broadway tube station. It is located around 200 yards from the original Plough Lane Stadium which played host to the original Wimbledon FC.

The largest stand at the ground is the West Stand - this two-tier structure is the only permanent stand at Plough Lane. It has a capacity of 4,267 which is spread over three levels - the lower level is the main seating deck and is in line with the other stands at the ground. Above this are two levels of corporate seating in front of hospitality boxes. With it being the main stand the dugouts are at the front carved out of the main seating deck. This stand extends round the south-west quadrant to meet up with the South Stand. 

The remaining three stands are of the same lower height - these are designed to be upgraded for higher capacity in the future should Wimbledon climb the Football League and require it. The South Stand is the designated safe-standing area with room for 1,092 fans, the West Stand runs the length of the field and has space for 2,391 while the North Stand is given to away fans and can hold 1,465. This gives Plough Lane a total capacity of 9,215 and the club has planning permission to increase this to 20,000 in the future. 

This was the first game for new Colchester manager Matt Bloomfield as he took over a side who had recorded one win in their opening 10 games. The new manager bounce appeared to be in effect when the U's opened the scoring in the 18th minute after Dan Chesters lofted a cross to the back post and Kwasi Appiah got above his man to head into the roof of the net. The away side held firm for the first half with Wimbledon's best chance coming in the 38th minute when the ball was played out to Edmond-Paris Maghoma on the left side of the box and his shot dragged across goal and just wide. Barely a minute after the restart the Dons were level -Ethan Chislett crossed from the left and after a scramble between a home attacker and away defender the ball spilled to Josh Davison six yards out and it was an easy task to shoot home. In the 66th minute the hosts won a smart penalty, with the ball up in the air Colchester's Ossama Ashley went to boot the ball downfield and the Wimbledon's Ayoub Assal jumped in front him so he took the man rather than the ball. Davison struck low to the keeper's right with Kieran O'Hara going the wrong way. Wimbledon bossed the second half and it was only in the final minutes that the visitors challenged - they almost grabbed an equaliser in the 97th minute when Beryly Lubala's header was saved by Nikola Tzanev but the corner was cleared and Wimbledon were victorious.

Result: AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Colchester United
Division: Football League Two
Attendance: 7,328

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