Wimbledon 2 v Macclesfield 1
Loan star Billy Knott's sensational strike set Wimbledon on their way to a third successive victory as they beat Macclesfield Town 2-1 at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday (24 January).
But the Dons again had to come from behind, despite having had by far the better of this encounter, as it briefly looked as though their porous defence might hand points to the visitors.
The Dons started the game at a relentless pace and were virtually camped in the Macclesfield half for the duration of the first period. Knott was instrumental in midfield, teasing the visitors with his twists, constant running and clever through balls.
Wimbledon could have twice taken the lead in the opening exchanges. First record-signing Byron Harrison's clever through ball set up Luke Moore but the former Ebbsfleet man snatched at his chance from a narrow angle and it flew wide.
And then, still with just 10 minutes on the clock, Harrison was on the receiving end of Knott's floated cross but miscued horribly.
In a rare Macclesfield breakaway, George Donnelly went close after capitalising on a slip by Mat Mitchel-King and, despite the Dons' domination of proceedings and intricate passing, it was still 0-0 at half-time.
And the Dons were made to pay as Macclesfield reshuffled at the break and came out with a renewed emphasis on denying space and posing more of an attacking threat. For 15 minutes they pressed the Dons back, a period that culminated with them taking the lead.
Dwayne Mattis had already narrowly failed to connect with Ben Mills' low, drilled cross but he had better luck in the 58th minute as Shaun Brisley played a high looping ball over the Dons defence; Mattis held off Sam Hatton before firing home past Seb Brown.
But the visitors held the lead for only a couple of minutes before Knott's spectacular intervention. The Sunderland youngster picked up the ball on the edge of the box after Hatton flicked-on Brown's clearance and, cutting outside his man, unleashed a ferocious shot that whizzed past Jose Veiga and into the back of the net, prompting ecstatic celebrations.
Now the Dons were on the front foot again, but it wasn't until two minutes from time that they got the winner that their overall play deserved. They were rewarded for a patient approach when Sammy Moore played an edge-of-the-box one-two with Brendan Kiernan before charging through a crowded area and lifting the ball over the advancing Veiga.
There was still time for substitute Christian Jolley to be denied by Tony Diagne's intervention, but there were no more goals as the Dons finally won at home for the first time since their 3-1 win over Gillingham on 1 October.
They get a chance to extend that run when they entertain Dean Holdsworth's struggling Aldershot side on Saturday (28 January) before a tricky trip to joint-top Cheltenham the following weekend.
Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton, Gwillim, S. Moore, Mitchel-King, McNaughton, Knott, Moncur (Yussuff 39), Midson, Harrison (Jolley 70), L. Moore (Kiernan 86). Subs not used: Stuart, Turner.
Goalscorers: Knott 60, S. Moore 88.
Macclesfield: Veiga, Tremarco, Morgan (Bateson 46), Donnelly (Bakare 89), Mendy, Diagne, Brisley, Hamshaw, Hewitt, Mills, Mattis (Thomas 81). Subs not used: Kay, Fairhurst.
Goalscorer: Mattis 58.
Booked: Diagne 36, Donnelly 66, Mendy 70.
By Rob Crane
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January 26, 2012