Dons Off The Bottom After Dagenham Victory

Dagenham & Redbridge 0 v Wimbledon 1

Wimbledon finally moved off the bottom of the League Two table on Saturday (23 February) as substitute Kevin Sainte-Luce gave them a 1-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge.

The French winger fired home with just 10 minutes remaining to lift the Dons to 21st in the table and leave manager Neal Ardley satisfied.

Ardley told the club’s official website: ‘We have talked [within the squad] about momentum and I have seen it in the eyes of the players that they now have that drive and belief.

‘Since the Chesterfield match [two weeks ago] we have worked hard to instil that in the players. I thought we thoroughly deserved the win today.’

The Dons started the game positively, with Jack Midson spurning a handful of chances before his strike partner Gary Alexander saw a volley from a Harry Pell cross well kept out by Chris Lewington.

But the home side came out after the break with renewed vigour and Matt Saunders saw one fierce effort go just wide of the post.

The Dons were forced to reorganise their defence just after the break as Jonathan Meades was unable to continue as the injury he picked up against Northampton in midweek flared up, but even with Mat Mitchel-King filling-in at right-back the defence continued to stand firm.

Indeed, it was Mitchel-King who came close to breaking the deadlock as his header from a Chris Hussey corner was only just dealt with by the home defence.

But it was Sainte-Luce who finally got the goal, firing home in emphatic style from the edge of the area after Mitchel-King’s effort was only half cleared.

The hosts came close to grabbing a dramatic injury-time equaliser when their goalkeeper Lewington went forward into attack and forced Hussey into a goal-line clearance.

But the Dons held on and will no doubt be hoping to find even more confidence now that they are away from the psychologically damaging bottom spot.

They have a chance to demonstrate that on Tuesday when they entertain Plymouth Argyle, the team that replaced them at the bottom, before travelling to promotion-chasing Cheltenham next Saturday (2 March).

Attendance: 2,265

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Hoyte, Wilkinson, Doe, Ilesanmi, Saunders (Reed 65), Ogogo, Howell, Elito (Green 81), Williams, Strevens. Subs not used: Seabright, Maher, Caprice, Woodall, Bingham.

Booked: Doe 29, Ogogo 57.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Meades (Mitchel-King 51), Bennett, Balkestein, Hussey, Pell, S. Moore, L. Moore, Midson, Alexander (Darko 62), Dickenson (Sainte-Luce 62). Subs not used: Jaimez-Ruiz, Cummings, Long, Yussuff.

Goalscorer: Sainte-Luce 80.

Booked: L. Moore 73, Darko 89.

By Rob Crane

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February 24, 2013