Dons Rue Missed Chances At Accrington

Accrington 2 v Wimbledon 1

Wimbledon paid the price for squandering several chances to earn their first away victory in over two months on Saturday (March 31).

The Dons could only muster a Luke Moore goal despite dominating for long spells at the Crown Ground and an 80th minute strike from substitute Will Hatfield condemned them to a fourth successive away defeat.

Terry Brown made two enforced changes to his starting line-up with Ricky Wellard making his first start in three months in central midfield with Sammy Moore suspended and Rashid Yussuff replacing the injured Billy Knott.

The Dons made a promising start that almost saw them in front after just 64 seconds when Sam Hatton put Luke Moore through, but his fierce shot was well saved by Accrington goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin and Yussuff's follow-up was blocked.

However, the visitors had little time to build on that as they fell behind just two minutes later in what was a poor goal to concede. After Pim Balkestein was punished for handball just outside the area, Dons goalkeeper Seb Brown could only parry Bobby Grant’s free-kick and though Craig Lindfield initially failed to apply the finish, Luke Joyce did not pass up the opportunity and he tapped into an empty net.

Wimbledon initially struggled to steady the ship and with their defence all at sea, Terry Brown was off the bench frantically shouting instructions.

Wimbledon gradually started to come into it though and they came close in the 14th minute when Luke Moore set-up Yussuff, but his shot was smothered by Dunbavin.

The visitors maintained that forward momentum and just a few minutes later, Wellard delivered a corner that Balkestein rose highest to meet, but he headed over the crossbar from close range.

The Dons should have been level in the 29th minute when Wellard sent over another teasing cross that was just begging to be finished off, but Christian Jolley fired over with a close-range volley.

Wimbledon did find an equaliser just before the half hour though with a move that was executed superbly considering the nature of the playing surface, which was far from a bowling green of a pitch. Jack Midson was the instigator as he showed yet again that there is more to his game than just goals as his excellent touch found Yussuff in space on the left and his cross was swept home emphatically by Luke Moore.

That goal transformed the Dons and Moore was so close to notching a quick-fire double in the 34th minute when he beat his marker to a Midson cross, but this time he could only drag his shot wide.

The home support had been silenced by Wimbledon's domination, but the Dons were given a warning out of nothing when on-loan Blackburn forward Micah Evans delivered a fine cross that Grant headed just over the crossbar.

Wimbledon started the second-half in determined mood to continue on the front foot and they had a half chance almost straight away when Gareth Gwillim sent over a cross that Jolley met with an acrobatic volley, but his goal-bound effort was blocked.

Jolley came even closer just before the hour when he worked space for himself in the box and struck a curler that had Dunbavin beaten, but struck a post and bounced to safety. Midson then forced Dunbavin into a flying save with a powerful drive from outside the area after good approach play from Moncur.

Terry Brown handed Byron Harrison a chance to build on his first Dons' goal last weekend when the striker came on as substitute for Jolley. But the Dons required Mat Mitchel-King to come to their rescue in the 71st minute when Seb Brown spilled a Jamie Devitt strike from outside the area and he needed his defender to produce a last-ditch clearance before Padraig Amond could get there.

Winger Kieran Djilali was then sent on with the mission to help fashion a winner for the visitors and his trickery made an immediate impression as he caused Accrington problems down the left.

Moncur had a shooting chance after one trademark run from Djilali, but he took too long and he was crowded out. There was an even better chance for the Dons when Hatton’s cross picked out Midson at the far post, but Wimbledon’s top scorer got too much on his header and the ball went agonisingly wide of the far post.

But all of Wimbledon's good work went to waste 10 minutes from time when the visitors were caught napping at the back and Grant was allowed space to pick out substitute Hatfield, who beat Seb Brown with a cool finish. Harrison had the only chance to rescue a point for the Dons, but he took too long to get his shot off and Accrington held on comfortably in the end.

Report courtsey of AFC Wimbledon

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April 3 , 2012