Dons Knocked Off Top By Resolute Darlington

Wimbledon 0 v Darlington 2

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Wimbledon lost their unbeaten home record – and with it their lead of the Conference – with a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Darlington on Saturday (October 30).

The Dons had the upper hand in terms of territory and possession but found themselves undone by a resolute Darlington side that produced a classic away performance.

They soaked up initial Wimbledon pressure before taking the lead just after the quarter hour mark, striker Chris Senior timing his run perfectly to latch on to Tommy Wright’s through ball and prod home past the despairing Seb Brown.

The visitors immediately dug their heels in and got bodies behind the ball, frustrating Wimbledon’s attempts to pass their way back into the game, with Christian Jolley and Ryan Jackson especially smothered down the flanks.

The Dons did carve open a few half chances, with Steve Gregory missing a couple, but it was the visitors who got the next goal with a helping hand from the referee.

Wimbledon fans had already become frustrated by his curious performance – notably when booking Danny Kedwell for being kicked by Darlington defender Aaron Brown in the first half – but it was only after a protracted delay that anyone in the ground realised that he’d awarded a penalty to the visitors just before the hour mark.

Seb Brown pulled off a fantastic save from Jefferson Louis’s spot kick, only to see Marc Bridge-Wilkinson react quicker than the Dons defenders to get to the rebound and slot home.

Christian Jolley hit the side netting with one effort and Sam Hatton saw a long-range free kick comfortably turned over by the visiting goalkeeper, but ultimately the Dons were stumped against the massed ranks of Darlington shirts.

The Dons will be hoping for a better display when they face Ebbsfleet United next week (November 6) in the FA Cup, keen to avoid the embarrassment of losing to lower-division opposition in front of the ITV cameras.

Attendance: 3,952

Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton, Bush, Gregory, Yakubu, Harris, Yussuff, S. Moore (L. Moore 66), Kedwell, Jolley, Jackson (Main 72). Subs not used: Turner, Blackman, Wellard.

Booked: Kedwell 26.

Darlington: Russell, Brough (Waite 89), Miller, Hatch, Wright (Louis 58), Senior (Powell 69), Moore, Hone, Smith, Brown, Bridge-Wilkinson. Subs not used: Oldfield, Austin.

Goalscorers: Senior 14, Bridge-Wilkinson 59.

Booked: Louis 90.

Referee: M. Bull (Chelmsford).

Rob Crane

October 31, 2010