Cheltenham 1 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon were left ruining failure to take advantage of their early dominance as they went down to a 1-0 defeat at Cheltenham on Saturday (28 September) thanks to a late, late Jamie Cureton goal.
The Dons came out of the blocks in a hurry and their passing game initially caused the home side no end of problems, but the Dons never really managed to carve open any particularly clear-cut opportunities.
The closest they came was when George Francomb did well to control Barry Fuller’s quickly taken throw and burst into the box, but the former Norwich man’s fierce drive was always rising and whizzed over Scott Brown’s crossbar.
As the Dons’ initial surge lost its impetus, Cheltenham came back into it and Ross Worner did well to save Terry Gornell’s effort after the Cheltenham man beat Andy Frampton for pace.
The home side changed their approach at half time, adopting a more direct approach when they did manage to gain possession, and Jermaine McGlashan in particular started posing questions. First he fired wide after exchanging passes with Byron Harrison, but then he forced an excellent full-stretch save from Worner with the Dons keeper grateful to see a team mate clear up the loose ball.
Dons boss Neal Ardley made his usual switch just after the hour mark, hoping that the introduction of both Chris Arthur and George Porter would push Cheltenham onto the back foot again, but unlike usual this season neither wide man managed to make an impact on the game.
Moments after Michael Smith saw a header just off target, the Dons had a golden opportunity when Cheltenham keeper Brown picked up a back pass. However, from the indirect free kick Arthur blasted wide following Luke Moore’s lay-off.
While the Dons were ruing their luck on that occasion, moments later their afternoon was thrown into turmoil as a harmless ball into the Wimbledon box left everyone perplexed as referee Darren Drysdale awarded a penalty, despite no obvious infringement having been committed by either side.
However, Drysdale reversed his decision following the intervention of his assistant and changed it to a free-kick for the Dons, presumably for pushing by Gornell, although in reality a drop-ball would have been the correct decision.
While the Dons may have been grateful for their luck on that occasion, it all changed deep into injury time. Worner’s kick was headed straight back over the Dons defence and, with Alan Bennett caught on the back foot, substitute Cureton cleverly headed the ball into his own path before placing a dipping shot over the advancing Worner.
On balance, a draw would have been a fair result in this match, but the challenge for the Dons is to pick themselves up, starting with back-to-back home games against struggling pair Northampton (Saturday 5 October) and Accrington Stanley (Saturday 12 October).
Cheltenham: Scott Brown, Lowe, Wilson, T. Brown, Richards, McGlashan (Jombati 90), Noble (Cureton 75), Taylor, Penn, Gornell, Harrison. Subs not used: Elliott, Deering, Roberts, Kotwica, Vincent.
Goalscorer: Cureton 90.
Booked: Noble 72.
Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Bennett, Frampton, Kennedy (Fenlon 79), Francomb (Porter 65), S. Moore, Pell, L. Moore, Midson (Arthur 65), Smith. Subs not used: Sweeney, Seb Brown, Weston, Fayers.
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September 30, 2013