Dons Experience Bradford Catharsis

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Wimbledon gained a small measure of revenge for their controversial 2000 defeat at Valley Parade as they beat Bradford 2-1 on Saturday (24 September).

Eleven years ago, the Dons visited West Yorkshire for a crucial Premier League relegation six-pointer and lost 3-0 courtesy of two highly controversial refereeing decisions that ultimately helped Bradford survive on the final day at Wimbledon's expense.

It's a measure of Wimbledon progress since then - and Bradford's decline - that this weekend they again met in a league encounter, albeit one with a very different outcome as the Dons returned victorious courtesy of goals from Jack Midson and Christian Jolley.

Bradford could have taken an early lead as with just minutes on the clock Seb Brown raced from his box to head clear a through ball. However, it hit James Hanson and bounced back towards goal, only to hit the post and go wide.

That chance aside, the game was even at this stage, with Sam Hatton seeing on free-kick pushed away by Matt Duke, but on 20 minutes the home side took the lead.

A ball into the box was challenged for by Callum McNaughton and Jamie Devitt; as McNaughton swung his foot at the ball it came into contact with the Bradford player and a penalty was awarded. Michael Flynn sent Brown the wrong way to make it 1-0 to Bradford.

But going behind seemed to inspire the Dons who started settling and were level just five minutes later through a well-worked goal. Luke Moore, wide on the left, played a ball to Jolley just outside the 'D'; his cushioned header was perfectly placed for Midson to run onto and fire home his sixth of the season.

With Jamie Stuart marshalling the Dons defence expertly, the Dons continued to look comfortable in the second half with Sammy Moore exerting increasing influence from the defensive midfield position.

In the 57th minute, the Dons deservedly took the lead. Rashid Yussuff fed Jolley, again just outside the 'D', and inexplicably the Bradford defence backed off. Spotting Duke off his line, Jolley took advantage of the time he was allowed to assess a perfectly placed lofted effort into the back of the net.

The Dons continued to create openings, in particular when Jolley was released by substitute Brendan Kiernan - making his Football League debut - but the former Kingstonian man's effort was deflected wide for a corner.

The Dons host Danny Kedwell's Gillingham next Saturday (1 October) in a game that has been made all ticket, before hosting League One side Stevenage in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy four days later.

Attendance: 10,255

Bradford: Duke, Flynn, Oliver, Jones, Hanson, Mitchell (Fagan 59), Liam Moore, Threlfall, Reid, Devitt (Hannah 81), Davies. Subs not used: Tongue, O'Brien, Branston.

Goalscorer: Flynn 25 (pen).

Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton, Gwillim, Stuart, McNaughton, S. Moore, Minshull, Yussuff, Midson, Luke Moore (Kiernan 82), Jolley. Subs not used: Porter, Turner, Johnson, Mulley.

Goalscorers: Midson 31, Jolley 57.

Booked: Hatton 66.

By Rob Crane

www.wimbledonsw19.com are the proud sponsors of Marcus Gayle's away kit

September 25, 2011