Rushden & Diamonds 1 v Wimbledon 0
The Dons suffered their first defeat of the season on Tuesday (24 August) with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Rushden & Diamonds.
Manager Terry Brown was forced to change his starting XI for the first time this season, with Ricky Wellard missing out through injury and Rashid Yussuff making his full debut. And the Dons' rhythm was further disrupted when Sam Hatton limped out of the game after just 22 minutes.
By then the Dons had already gone close to opening the scoring. With just three minutes on the clock, Ismail Yakubu’s header was kept out by opposition keeper Dale Roberts, with Luke Moore heading the rebound over the bar.
But that was as close as the Dons came all evening as the home side slowly came into the game. The breakthrough finally came just after the hour mark, and Wimbledon fans were left with a sense of injustice that it came from the foot of Rene Howe.
The striker had earlier appeared to raise his arms in Andre Blackman’s face, but the referee let him off with a talking too when a red card might well have been shown by less lenient officials.
With a degree of inevitability, moments later it was Howe who unleashed a curling effort that beat Seb Brown and went in off the bar for the first goal conceded by the Dons this season.
Despite some pressing in the closing moments, the Dons never really looked like grabbing the equaliser, although they remain second in the embryonic Conference table.
Afterwards Terry Brown told the club’s official website: "At no time in the match did we get our passing game going and chances were few and far between at both ends.
“From their point of view their goal was a cracker, but from our point of view I felt we stood off the striker and allowed him too much room to get a shot away."
The Dons travel to Eastbourne Borough on Saturday (28 August) in a game that is all-ticket for Wimbledon fans, before hosting Newport County at Kingsmeadow on Bank Holiday Monday.
Rushden & Diamonds: Roberts, Robinson, Porter, Osano, Howe, Power, Corcoran (Miller 90), Johnson, Charles (Koranteng 82), Huke, Green (Spence 79). Subs not used: Joe Day, Jamie Day.
Goalscorer: Huke 65
Booked: Corcoran 90
Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton (Jackson 22), Blackman, Gregory, Yakubu, Johnson, S. Moore, Yussuff (Jones 79), Kedwell, Main (Jolley 46), L. Moore. Subs not used: Turner, Franks.
Booked: Yakubu 32, Blackman 58, Jackson 90
Referee: S. Martin (Staffordshire)
August 26, 2010