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AFC Wimbledon boss livid as controversial free-kick decision all but seals relegation

AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Bowen was livid as a controversial free-kick decision against Fleetwood Town all but seals their relegation.

Mathematically, the Dons can still avoid the drop, however realistically it’s unlikely, even more so after referee Anthony Blackhouse awarded the Cod Army a free-kick nobody saw coming with two minutes left of normal time.

Looking comfortable with a 1-0 lead, Wimbledon keeper Nik Tzanev moved the ball forward to kick it up field when suddenly the referee blew his whistle, claiming that had taken a touch too many.

Mark Bowen said this after the game: “I’ve been in this game for 40 years now and I realise that you’ve got to choose your words very carefully. I’m angry and I’m disappointed. I’ve just been to see the referee and he has told me that he can’t even remember if he blew the whistle to restart the game after the free-kick was awarded, which I find quite staggering.

“Our goalkeeper knew it was a free kick and like every goalkeeper he put the ball down and tried to nick a few yards whilst the referee was running away. The referee then blew and said that he had kicked it twice after the free-kick had been given. I then asked the referee “Why would a keeper kick the ball twice? There’s only one possible scenario – he didn’t hear the whistle being blown.

“The common-sense approach would have been to ask the keeper if he had heard the whistle, reset it and then play. But instead, he’s given them a free-kick and they’ve scored from it.”

The result leaves Wimbledon on the verge of the first ever relegation since forming the new club, following a six-year stay in League One.

Bowen added: “We’ve had two games in a row where things have conspired against us. There’s a real sense of injustice in the dressing room amongst my staff and my players at the moment because it affects people’s lives.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I know this is a special club. It’s got plans for the future – if it needs to take a step back to take a step forward again it will.

“I didn’t say much to the players in the dressing room. At times like this they just need to be left with their own thoughts. I feel for them. We’ll stay professional and look to put a performance on for our fans against Accrington.”

SEE MORE: Latest promotions and relegations in English football – 23rd April 2022

With the AFC Wimbledon boss livid as the controversial free-kick decision all but seals relegation, fans gave their thoughts…

@JackJolley432: More amazed the referee gave it as standard across league 1 is dire.

@stevencale: As a fan of a championship club believe me the championship ref’s aren’t any better

@OufcGoody: @slough_womble wow 🤯

@slough_womble: Yep couldn’t make it up… We were already embarrassing with no win, the back pass last week at Crewe by Cosgrove was pathetic so not sure what superlative to use for this so indefensible for a professional footballer

@pdmkd: I bet he’s popular in the dressing room and with the supporters. Talk about throwing away your first win in decades

@DonWindlesham: And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Tzanev then fails to cover the side of the goal that is his responsibility! If this were some dodgy African or South American league then you’d wonder how much cash had changed hands! 🤬

@Twheatman: What is he thinking?! 🤣

@Jacoaho: Regardless. The free kick for the goal wasn’t taken anywhere near where the ball for the original free kick was placed.

@vioed_: For fuck sakes Wimbledon could’ve done us a favour

@coppock_d: Are you fucking serious!!!!!!!! 🙈. We have always been lucky to have good goalkeepers at @AFCWimbledon but not this season. Really don’t think he is good enough. GK and CF need to be first signings in the summer, ready for league 2 after that.

@bitdodgymate_: these are the type of inconsistent refereeing in england tbh, sometimes they give these indirect freekicks, sometimes they don’t, sometimes they blow foul throws, sometimes they don’t. is it that hard to have some unanimity in officiating

@BenTuckerMate: Tidy finish though 👏

@StarWarsNerd73: Fantastic piece of refereeing! Stupid from the keeper

@mdaniel8812: The standards of some professional footballers is absolutely horrific. Imagine being a pro footballer in League One and passing a free kick to yourself 😂😂

@christopher67x: serious questions would need to be asked. why would you do this in the 88th minute against a direct rival when 1-0 up in a must win game? or are they just insanely stupid? going 27 games without a win seems quite intentional.

@Brad1Molloy: Genuinely have no words… means their virtually relegated as a result in a huge 6 pointer gotta feel bad 😅

@ianrankin92: How a professional football player can do this is beyond me 🤯

@alexmoss__: His decision making has been terrible all season. I’ve not even seen this in Sunday league.

@HipsterManager: How can you concede this and not accept you deserve to be relegated? You don’t even get this in Sunday league 😂

@Jay_Evans1997: With a chance to stay up on the final day at stake, imagine your keeper doing this. Be seething lmao

@DonsAction: Loving Zak Jules celebration here 🤩

@Goatzelll: THIS is what’s sending them down… How would you ever look at Tzanev again after that. That’s one if the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a footballer do.

@chrismackop: Don’t think I’ve ever seen a goal conceded in such a way – a goalie conceding from a free-kick after taking a free-kick to himself 🤯

@Santokie89: Wimbledon’s season since December has really been a case study in how to fumble leads in the most creative ways possible

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