Northampton 1 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon slumped to their second defeat of the season to rock-bottom Northampton on Tuesday (14 February), going down 1-0 at Sixfields.
The Cobblers won 3-0 at Kingmeadow earlier this season, the last time before this game that they had kept a clean sheet. And Luke Guttridge's late goal on Tuesday means that they have now picked up 25 per cent of their points haul this season from games against the Dons.
Going into this game, the Dons were boosted by the return of Jason Euell from injury, playing his final game before the end of his loan spell from Charlton, but it was the home side who made all the early running.
Guttridge tested Seb Brown early on, his effort from outside the box forcing the Dons goalkeeper into a smart save low at his near post.
And Brown was soon forced into action again when Billy Knott casually conceded possession midway in the Wimbledon half, saving from Michael Jacobs' effort before Knott recovered well to block the follow-up effort.
The Dons' best chance of the half came when Euell's clever through ball played in Byron Harrison but the striker's first touch was heavy and Chris Weale was alert to come off his line and smother the threat.
Half-time came with the score 0-0 thanks to Gavin Hoyte's late intervention, the on-loan Arsenal man clearing Kelvin Langmead's header off the line with Brown beaten.
The Dons came out after the break with slightly more sense of urgency and should have taken the lead. Jack Midson did well to win the ball down the right and his far-post cross was perfect for Euell to tap home but the Dons legend, falling backwards, somehow contrived to miss the target from close range.
Euell had another shot across the face of goal, while Ade Akinfenwa went close for the hosts, but it was Northampton who made the breakthrough with just nine minutes remaining.
The Dons again cheaply gave away possession and then let substitute Toni Silva run unchallenged into the box. Brown saved Silva's strike, but the rebound bounced up for Guttridge to head home with the Dons defence watching.
The home side's joy was tempered by the late loss of goalkeeper Weale but the Dons were unable to capitalise by snatching an unlikely equaliser.
Manager Terry Brown told the Hounslow Chronicle afterwards: "Our decision making in the final third wasn’t good enough.
"We didn't play our football and didn't keep the ball as we would've liked."
The Dons face a tough opponents in their next two fixtures, hosting Morecambe on Saturday before the rescheduled trip to high-flying Cheltenham on Tuesday.
And their hopes won't be helped by news that both Gareth Gwillim and Knott are doubts after being withdrawn injured in this defeat.
Northampton: Weale (Hall 90), Johnson, Carlisle, Langmead, Adams, Jacobs, Guttridge, Harding, Robinson (Webster 88), Williams, Akinfenwa (Silva 74). Subs not used: Crowe, Young.
Goalscorer: Guttridge 81.
Booked: Carlisle 62, Williams 84.
Wimbledon: Brown, Hoyte, Gwillim (Hatton 82), S. Moore, Mitchel-King, Stuart, Knott (Yussuff 38), Moncur, Midson, Harrison (Jolley 68), Euell. Subs not used: McNaughton, Turner.
By Rob Crane
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February 16, 2012