Prior Injury Overshadows Dons’ Crucial Point

Crawley 1 v Wimbledon 1

Wimbledon secured their League Two status for next season with a 1-1 draw at Crawley on Saturday (14 April), but the game was overshadowed by a horrific injury to striker Jason Prior.

The former Bognor man was making just his second start for the Dons after recovering from a knee injury picked up on his debut at the end of January.

But his game was curtailed after just six minutes when he was on the receiving end of a Hope Akpan foul that broke his leg in two places. Akpan was shown an instant red card for the challenge.

Prior had already been on the receiving end of a fourth-minute Scott Davies foul that had seen the Crawley man booked, and is now facing at least a six-month layoff.

Boss Terry Brown told the club's website: 'Jason will have the best treatment that he can possibly have. He is still a young man who can come back from this. It is really bad luck.'

Despite having a man advantage for so much of the game, Wimbledon struggled to make it tell against a typically energetic Crawley team.

Seb Brown was called into action in the very first minute of the game, parrying Gary Alexander's effort after Sam Hatton had been beaten down the flank by Billy Clarke.

But it was the Dons who went closest to scoring in the first period when Luke Moore saw his deflected effort go just wide of the post, with Jack Midson blazing over when he should have done better after the resultant corner.

Both sides upped the temp in the second period. Brown had to be alert to palm away a looping Charlie Wassmer header, while Mat Mitchel-King was also responsible for an excellent last-moment tackle that denied Clarke.

But the Dons were also creating openings, with substitute Byron Harrison's powerful running setting up Midson for an effort that was blocked. The same fate befell Midson from an acute angle following a Christian Jolley cross, while Harrison went even closer with a header that hit the bar following a Gareth Gwillim corner.

The breakthrough came in the 77th minute when substitute Kieran Djilali played in George Moncur in the channel. The West Ham loanee intelligently played a ball back to the waiting Sammy Moore who blasted home into the corner of the net.

But Crawley weren't to be outdone, and just minutes later they were on level terms when Danny Bulman picked out Alexander, left in acres of space by the Dons defence, and the former Brentford man fired home the equaliser.

And the hosts might have emerged with all three points but for another good challenge from Mitchel-King that denied Scott Neilson.

With Football League status secured, the Dons entertain promotion-chasing Torquay at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (21 April), before travelling to Barnet a week later. They round off their season by entertaining Shrewsbury on 5 May.

Attendance: 3,768

Crawley: Kuipers, Davies, Howell, Akpan, Clarke (Watt 79), Alexander, Simpson, Bulman, Dempster, Wassmer, Neilson. Subs not used: Shearer, Akinde, Cummings, James.

Goalscorer: Alexander 81.

Booked: Davies 4, Dempster 53.

Sent off: Akpan 6.

Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton, Gwillim, S. Moore, Mitchel-King, Stuart, L. Moore (Yussuff 70), Moncur, Midson, Prior (Harrison 9), Jolley (Djilali 70). Subs not used: Bush, Turner.

Goalscorer: S. Moore 77.

Booked: S. Moore 12.

By Rob Crane

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April 14, 2012