Dons Blown Off Course By Battling Barnet

Wimbledon 0 v Barnet 1

Wimbledon are just three points off the relegation places after a 1-0 Easter Monday defeat against fellow strugglers Barnet dragged them back down into the mire.

It was the blustery conditions as much as the visitors that undid Neal Ardley’s men, as they failed to get to grips with a strong wind that too often took passes astray.

But ultimately it was a customary piece of suicidal defending that saw the Dons concede all three points, as Chris Hussey was careless when dealing with a long ball and Barnet substitute Keanu Marsh-Brown scored courtesy of a deflection that took it beyond John Sullivan.

That was Barnet’s only attempt on target throughout the entire 90 minutes as the Dons were made to pay the price for failing to capitalise on any of their 14 shots.

The Dons were certainly out of the starting blocks in a rush, forcing the visitors back in the opening exchanges. Barnet survived a penalty appeal when Mark Byrne appeared to handle, and then their defender Dave Stephens almost turned a Stacy Long cross into his own net.

Barnet slowly came back into the game, with Edgar Davids an influential presence in midfield, but it was still the home side who had the better of the attacking opportunities.

Jack Midson turned well and charged in from the inside-right channel but his shot lacked pace, Hussey had a piledriver of an effort from well out wide that Graham Stack did well to hold, and just before half-time Kevin Sainte-Luce had a volley just over the bar.

And the Dons continued to press after the break, with Sainte-Luce doing well to create an opening for a cross only to see Jessie Darko stumble, and Harry Pell blasted over the bar.

The Dons finally had the ball in the net after 74 minutes, Hussey powering home an effort, but the fans’ celebrations were cut short by a flag for a foul throw in the build-up.

And the best opportunity went begging when a Hussey free-kick was met by Will Antwi but he couldn’t get enough of a connection on it and merely succeeded in diverting it enough to thwart Midson’s placement.

With just minutes left came Hussey’s moment of madness that handed victory to the Bees, but there was still time for the Dons to claim a goal as Gary Alexander’s header appeared to have crossed the line only for the officials to rule that Stack had kept it out.

The Dons are still ahead of a handful of teams but know that they must pick up more points to guarantee their Football League status. They will be hoping to start that process when they travel to Bristol Rovers next Saturday (6 April).

Attendance: 4,696

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Mitchel-King, Antwi, Bennett, Hussey, Sainte-Luce (Strutton 83), Pell, Long (L. Moore 75), Meades, Midson, Darko (Alexander 73). Subs not used: Balkestein, Jaimez-Ruiz, Yussuff, Youga.

Booked: Sainte-Luce 39.

Barnet: Stack, Yiadom, Stephens, Flanagan, Johnson, Weston, Byrne, Oster (Jenkins 89), Davids, Nurse (Marsh-Brown 68), Hyde (Crawford 83). Subs not used: Kamdjo, Gambin, Beattie, Kuipers.

Goalscorer: Marsh-Brown 85.

Booked: Oster 53, Byrne 55, Nurse 59.

By Rob Crane

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April 2, 2013