Wimbledon 3 v Bradford City 1
A brace of Jack Midson penalties helped Wimbledon to a comfortable 3-1 win over Bradford City at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday night (13 March).
The former Oxford United striker jumped to the top of the League Two goalscorers' chart by twice staying calm from the spot to punish a Bradford side that showed a distinct lack of adventure after a first-half sending off.
The win was no more than the Dons deserved but they had to be thankful to Sam Hatton for twice clearing off the line as their defensive frailties refuse to disappear.
Hatton's first intervention came just after quarter of an hour when a corner was only half cleared and the right-back was in the right place to clear Bradford’s firm shot from the edge of the area with Seb Brown beaten.
And just minutes later Hatton was involved again, this time heading away with Brown again beaten.
Hatton's determination enabled the Dons to take the lead with just over half an hour gone when Bradford veteran Rob Kozluk climbed over Billy Knott in the penalty area. Midson’s penalty was fiercely struck and, although John McLaughlin got a hand to it, nestled in the back of the net.
But the Dons' lead was initially fleeting. From a Bradford corner, Brown failed to gather a low cross that bounced in front of him leaving Kim Balkestein with no opportunity to take avoiding action and prevent the ball from bouncing off him and into the back of the net.
Just moments later, though, the contest was effectively over. Bradford's Craig Fagan had already given the impression of being determined to get sent off. Already booked and having received a separate final warning from the referee, he conceded yet another free kick and marked the event by booting the ball out of the ground, prompting his second yellow of the evening to cap a notable cameo performance.
After that, Bradford seemed content to sit deep and try to hang on for a draw. Their hopes were thwarted nine minutes after the restart when Hatton did well to get in a cross from the by-line that was met by Knott at the far post, rising to get a firm header down and into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
And Bradfords tendency to reach for the self-destruct button was evidenced again with quarter of an hour remaining when Jason Euell was upended in the box. Midson stepped up to repeat his earlier conversion and make it 3-1 to the hosts.
After that the Dons somewhat took their foot off the pedal as they eased to a win that saw them jump to fourteenth in the table.
Boss Terry Brown will be hoping to extend their mini run of two consecutive wins as they travel to Bristol Rovers this Saturday (17 March).
Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton, Gwillim, S. Moore, Mitchel-King, Balkestein, Yussuff (Jolley 90), Moncur, Midson, Euell (L. Moore 87), Knott (Djilali 80). Subs not used: B. Johnson, Turner.
Goalscorers: Midson 33, 75, Knott 54.
Booked: S. Moore 60, Knott 78.
Bradford: McLaughlin, Kozluk, Seip (Fry 84), Oliver, Davies, Fagan, Hanson (Hannah 76), Bullock, Syers, Wells (Atkinson 46), Reid. Subs not used: Annerson, Flynn.
Goalscorer: Balkestein (o.g.) 36.
Booked: Fagan 29, 37, Kozluk 32, Bullock 39, Oliver 75.
Sent off: Fagan 37.
By Rob Crane
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March 15, 2012