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AFC Wimbledon striker Lyle Taylor reveals the secret behind his incredible Dons scoring spree


When it comes to sports psychology AFC Wimbledon’s Lyle Taylor is definitely a believer. Taylor’s 22nd goal of the season proved decisive in Wednesday night’s League Two play-off semi-final second leg with Accrington, booking the Wombles an appointment with Plymouth in the final at Wembley on Monday week. Yet while magic has come from his feet, it is what ex-Middlesex fast bowler turned psychologist Steve Sylvester has worked in his head, heart and gut, which has been the catalyst to the former Bournemouth striker’s scoring exploits. And it’s an influence set to carry on long after whatever events unfold at the national stadium have been and gone. “Steve has helped me where nobody else could help me this year and even before the semi-final he was doing his usual,” he said. “I owe a lot to him for my psychological state and that can be the difference sometimes. I think he is someone I will keep in touch with now probably for the rest of my life because he has had a big impact on me and he is someone I like and I get on with.” Taylor’s transformation has mirrored that of Neal Ardley’s side this season. The eyebrows of some were raised when Dons stumped up the cash needed to bring the now 26-year-old to Kingsmeadow from Scunthorpe last summer. He initially struggled to settle in, a sending off at Mansfield and several other cautions meaning his red and yellow cards outweighed the goal tally of a man who admits he plays on the edge in the early weeks of the campaign. However, he has played all but one of the last 38 games, scoring 21 times, picking up just three cautions as Dons surged into the end of season knockout stage. Taylor acknowledges it is Sylvester’s input which has kept him within the fine line – an influence extending far beyond the goals he has produced to ones of character and leadership.

“Everyone has seen what I’m like and Steve makes a difference in terms of if I need to be reined in he’ll rein me in, if I need to go at things harder he’ll let me know I need to go at them harder,” he added. “Steve helps keep me stable and I’m not saying I’m a head-case who at a flip of a switch will go and murder someone because that is not me, but he has helped me a lot in understanding my role and that is the biggest thing I can say I am learning at the moment. “Yes, okay I’m scoring goals, yes okay I’ve had a good season and I’ve had an influence on the team, but the biggest thing for me is my development as a player and as a leader on the pitch, completely disregarding the football side of it.” Article written by John Batham for GetWestLondon:


AFC Wimbledon are at Wembley on 30th May 2016 in the Final against Plymouth. For tickets see https://www.eticketing.co.uk/afcwimbledon/

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