Luton 0 v Wimbledon 1
In-form Wimbledon striker Matt Tubbs made it three goals in as many games by scoring the winner to beat Luton Town 1-0 on Saturday (16 August).
It capped something of a ‘smash and grab’ Wimbledon performance against a team still on a high following their promotion to the Football League this summer and in front of party-atmosphere home supporters.
And it had manager Neal Ardley praising what he dubbed a ‘complete performance’.
‘The back five including the goalkeeper all communicated well and the midfielders were tireless,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘The front two combined well for the goal and the substitutes did great too at a tough time. It was a complete performance and we could have won by a greater margin.’
The Dons were without Jack Smith, still out with the injury picked up in midweek, although Adam Barrett returned to partner Alan Bennett in defence.
And they were put under early pressure as the home side sought to capitalise on home advantage, pushing forward at every opportunity and forcing James Shea into a notable save from Luke Guttridge’s near-post effort.
Wimbledon started to come into it as that initial the hosts’ initial tempo faded, with Barrett heading over and Adebayo Akinfenwa volleying wide.
But Wimbledon’s tenacity was rewarded with the goal, which came just before the break and was something out of the Dons’ old tactics book. Shea’s ‘route one’ kick was flicked on by the ever-influential Akinfenwa and fell kindly for Tubbs, who steadied himself before blasting home past Mark Tyler in the Luton goal to make it 1-0.
Akinfenwa himself went close soon after the break, his stooping far-post header to meet a deep George Francomb cross being just off target.
Although Guttridge had an effort into the side netting, Wimbledon continued to create chances of their own with Tubbs and Callum Kennedy both being thwarted by Tyler and Akinfenwa shooting over.
The match ended with Luton again on the front foot, their closest chance coming when Steve McNulty headed a Jake Howells corner over the bar.
But Wimbledon held on to chalk up a vital away win and will be hoping to take that in to the trip to Southend – yet to concede a goal this season – on Tuesday (19 August) before entertaining Hartlepool next Saturday at Kingsmeadow.
Luton Town: Tyler, McNulty, Wilkinson, Griffiths, Franks (Stevenson 79), Guttridge (Wall 67), Drury (Ruddock Mpanzu 71), Howells, Robinson, Cullen, Benson. Subs not used: Lacey, Justham, Lafayette, Williams.
Booked: Griffiths 72.
Wimbledon: Shea, Barrett, Fuller, Bennett, Kennedy, Bulman, Moore, Rigg (Pell 79), Francomb (Sainte-Luce 79), Akinfenwa, Tubbs (Azeez 75). Subs not used: Worner, Phillips, Nicholson, Beere.
Goalscorer: Tubbs 42.
Booked: Pell 82.