Charlton 1 v Wimbledon 2
Tyrone Barnett’s first Wimbledon goal sealed a comeback as his side came from behind to beat Charlton Athletic 2-1 at The Valley on Saturday (17 September).
Barnett’s late header after he came off the bench combined with a Dom Poleon goal seven minutes earlier to earn the Dons victory in their first South London league derby since the traumas of 2002.
But for much of this encounter that looked an unlikely outcome as the home side held the upper hand, with the Dons on the back foot until the final half hour.
Boss Neal Ardley told DonsPlayer: ‘We showed togetherness at the end and we have always said that substitutes make a big difference in these games.
‘We kept going, stayed in the game, and kept Charlton to one goal. It gives you a platform if you can get a couple of chances to do it.’
The Dons certainly needed that resolve after a dismal start to the encounter, with Charlton having the upper hand for the opening hour.
Nicky Ajose gave warning of what was to come in the opening minutes when he shot wide and, although Jon Meades created a chance for Andy Barcham, the hosts took the lead in the eighth minute.
There seemed little threat as Barry Fuller shepherded Ademola Lookman into the channel but when Poleon came back to contribute to the defensive duties the Charlton man capitalised, cutting inside and shooting past the lunging Fuller and George Francomb’s ineffectual challenge to beat James Shea.
Lookman was involved again, setting up Ricky Holmes for a shot that that was well saved by Shea, making his first start of the season in goal at the expense of Ryan Clarke.
Shea rewarded the decision again shortly before the break when he again saved from Lookman, while his counterpart Declan Rudd was untroubled throughout.
The pattern continued in the second period when Holmes broke through the Wimbledon defence but again Shea thwarted Charlton’s hopes, producing a good save to tip Holmes’ effort wide.
Ironically the Dons’ fortunes began to change when Francomb was forced from the pitch after receiving an accidental kick in the face from colleague Darius Charles. Tom Elliott’s introduction meant the Dons switched from their previous 4-5-1 formation and started causing the hosts problems.
And they made the breakthrough with 12 minutes remaining. There appeared little danger as Poleon was closely marked by two Charlton defenders, but with quick feet and a nutmeg he burst between them before stabbing an effort home to equalise.
With five minutes remaining on the clock the turnaround was complete. Poleon spread play wide to Fuller. His perfectly flighted cross from deep was straight towards Barnett in the centre of goal and he got above his man to power home a header that gave Rudd no chance.
The Dons will hope to gain some momentum as they play two struggling sides next, entertaining Shrewsbury at Kingsmeadow this Saturday (24 September) before travelling to Coventry City on Wednesday 28 September.
Charlton: Rudd, Solly, Konsa Ngoyo, Pearce, Fox, Holmes, Ulvestad, Crofts, Lookman, Magennis, Ajose (Novak 68). Subs not used: Foley, Jackson, Bauer, Phillips, Botaka, Lennon.
Goalscorer: Lookman 8.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Charles, Robinson, Meades, Francomb (Elliott 59), Bulman, Reeves, Barcham (Barnett 76), Poleon, Taylor (Whelpdale 83). Subs not used: Nightingale, Parrett, Kelly, Clarke.
Goalscorers: Poleon 78, Barnett 85.
Booked: Bulman 91.
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September 20, 2016