Port Vale 1 v Wimbledon 2
Luke Moore finally ended Wimbledon's three-month wait for a league win by scoring the winner as they won 2-1 at Port Vale on Saturday (14 January).
Moore, who replaced second-time debutant Jason Euell late in the first half, struck with just thirteen minutes remaining to lift the Dons towards midtable and ease concerns about getting dragged into a relegation scrap.
The Dons handed debuts to four new signings, with Billy Knott, George Moncur and returning Dons legend Jason Euell all taking their place in midfield and record signing Byron Harrison partnering Jack Midson up front.
Callum McNaughton also featured after making permanent his loan move from West Ham, playing alongside Mat Mitchel-King in the absence of suspended captain Jamie Stuart.
With Fraser Franks replacing Sam Hatton at right-back, the new-look Dons came out with renewed resolve, and Knott spurned an excellent chance when he fired over from just eight yards out.
But it looked like their bad form would continue when Vale took the lead just after the half hour; Marc Richards heading home after Sean Riggs jigged past Franks to deliver his cross.
Crucially, the Dons were level before half-time. Harrison's right-wing cross had the momentum taken off it by a defender but Sammy Moore pounced on the loose ball before firing in a low ball that Midson got just enough on to see it over the line.
Euell was withdrawn shortly afterwards, a victim of some tenacious tackling from the home side, but it was Luke Moore who came on to replace him.
The Dons continued to fashion chances in the second period, with home keeper Chris Martin pulling off saves from Midson and Moore.
The home side hit the post through Louis Dodds after 72 minutes, but just minutes later came the Dons' winner: Harrison laid the ball back to Luke Moore who cleverly made space before firing home into the top-left corner from inside the box.
And Seb Brown made sure that the Dons took home the points when he blocked John McCombes' close-range effort with his legs.
Afterwards, Dons boss Terry Brown told BBC London 94.9: "I'm very proud of my boys. I think the new lads that came in acquitted themselves very well.
"It will take a couple of weeks for this side to gel, but I am much happier with the legs we have got in the squad now and I think we can build on this."
The Dons have an opportunity to do that when they visit Gillingham next Saturday (21 January), with the hosts likely to be without former Don Danny Kedwell through injury. Three days later the Dons entertain Macclesfield Town.
Port Vale: Martin, Yates, Griffith (Roe 80), McCombe, Owen, Loft, Richards, Pope (Dodds 71), Rigg, Morsy, Williamson (James 86). Subs not used: Johnson, Davis.
Goalscorer: Richards 31.
Booked: Yates 43, Griffith 45.
Wimbledon: Brown, Franks (Hatton 52), Gwillim, S. Moore, Mitchel-King, McNaughton, Knott (Yussuff 76), Moncur, Midson, Harrison, Euell (L. Moore 42). Subs not used: Johnson, Turner.
Goalscorers: Midson 41, L. Moore 77.
By Rob Crane
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January 16, 2012