Newport 4 v Wimbledon 1
Wimbledon came back down to earth with a bump as they lost 4-1 at Newport County on Saturday (27 September), ending a run of consecutive wins.
The Dons were on the back foot from the start, with Newport going close twice in the opening exchanges through ex-Don Lee Minshull and Robbie Willmott.
Wimbledon created chances of their own, with Sean Rigg forcing a save from Joe Day and Adebayo Akinfenwa’s header being deflected into Day’s arms, before the Dons fell behind in the 18th minute. It was another of Newport’s many former Wimbledon players, Ismail Yakubu, who made the breakthrough when he rose in the box to head home from a corner to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
Newport remained in the ascendancy for much of the rest of the half, although Rigg had another effort just off target when he headed over from Ben Harrison’s cross.
A goal down at the break, Wimbledon no doubt fancied their chances of staging a second-half comeback, but just moments after the restart they were 0-2 down. James Shea reacted well to come out and smother the ball at the feet of the onrushing Chris Zebroski, but the ball fell kindly for Joe Pigott and the striker proved clinical with his finishing.
Wimbledon made a positive change, bringing on Callum Kennedy and Adebayo Azeez for Ben Harrison and George Francomb, and Azeez was almost immediately in action with a shot that was just off target.
But it got worse for the Dons with 25 minutes remaining when Pigott got his second of the game, his tame shot taking a cruel deflection off Adam Barrett and wrong footing Shea to make it 0-3.
The Dons, though, kept going, with Akinfenwa twice forcing saves out of Day. And Akinfenwa finally got his reward with 20 minutes remaining when Kennedy’s corner was cleared back out to him, and at the second time of asking his cross was headed home by the striker to make it 1-3.
With time remaining, perhaps there was enough left for Wimbledon to salvage a point, and Akinfenwa and Matt Tubbs both went close to inducing closing-stage nerves in the home side.
But the final word went to Newport, whose substitute Aaron O’Connor scored a breakaway goal at the death, turning neatly just inside the box before firing home to make it 1-4.
Manager Neal Ardley refused to be too downbeat afterwards, stressing that there was ‘not much between the teams’.
He told BBC London 94.9: ‘I was sure that we had goals in there. The second goal is the moment that kills us.
‘After that, you have to go flat out to chase the game. I felt we could do it, but when you’re chasing the game you’re also leaving it open.’
The Dons travel west again when they visit Cheltenham Town on Saturday 4 October, before a home game against promotion chasers Bury the following weekend.
Newport: Day, Yakubu, Jones, Tancock, Chapman (Crow 90), Willmott, Minshull (Klukowski 45), Byrne, Sandell, Zebroski (O’Connor 71), Pigott. Subs not used: Owen-Evans, Poole.
Goalscorers: Yakubu 18, Pigott 46, 65, O’Connor 90.
Booked: Sandell 24, Willmott 54, Pigott 87.
Wimbledon: Shea, Barrett, Fuller, Bennett, Harrison (Kennedy 57), Francomb (Azeez 58), Bulman, Moore, Rigg (Sainte-Luce 74), Akinfenwa, Tubbs. Subs not used: Phillips, Nicholson, Beere, McDonnell.
Goalscorer: Akinfenwa 70.
Booked: Barrett 8, Bennett 73, Akinfenwa 90.
By Rob Crane
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September 28, 2014