Portsmouth 1 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon’s recent run of below-par performances continued as they fell to defeat 1-0 at Portsmouth on Saturday (15 February) and again rarely threatened the opposition’s goal.
Although the Dons remain in 14th position, nine point ahead of the final relegation berth, the large contingent of supporters who made the trip to the south coast would have again left a game worried by the lack of firepower presented by Neal Ardley’s side.
Despite this, Ardley put a positive spin on the performance when he spoke to BBC London 94.9. ‘It didn’t fall to us today but I know we were the better team.
‘Ultimately we lost the game because five minutes after I gave them [the players] a half-time team talk about what the only threat would be, they did exactly that by not getting out of our penalty box.
‘But credit to [Portsmouth] and we have to take that bitter pill and deal with it.’
This was Portsmouth’s first home win since Boxing Day as lowly opposition again benefitted from Wimbledon’s magnanimous tendencies, but the tone of the afternoon could have been very different had the Dons been awarded a penalty after just two minites.
Danny Hylton, charging into the box, was tripped by Marcos Painter but referee Stuart Atwell elected to award merely a free-kick to the Dons, deciding that the offence had been committed outside the area.
And moments later the Dons again had a chance when Charlie Wyke latched on to Hylton’s flick-on and got behind the home defence, only to drag his shot wide of Trevor Carson’s far post.
In a quiet first period, Ross Worner was also called into action to deny Ricky Holmes, the former Chelmsford man picking up a loose ball and firing a miscued shot from distance that Worner palmed away.
Hylton also saw a first-half shot charged down, but Portsmouth took the lead early in the second period when Daniel Alfrei swung in a looping cross to the far post that was met by Ryan Taylor. With his marker struggling to regain ground, Taylor had a comparatively easy task to head back across the goal and beyond Worner’s despairing dive.
That prompted Wimbledon to push forward. Alan Bennett’s header following a George Francomb free-kick forced a point-blank save from Carson, and defender Bennett also saw an overhead effort from a cross by substitute Kevin Sainte-Luce flash just over the bar.
Wyke, Will Anti and Chris Arthur all had chances in rapid succession that were blocked, and then in injury time Arthur saw an effort cleared off the line as Portsmouth’s defence clung on to earn the three points.
Wimbledon’s supporters will be hoping the team finally rediscover their prowess in front of goal when they entertain Bury on Saturday 22 February. The Dons then make another attempt to play the much-postponed game at Newport in midweek before travelling to Fleetwood on Saturday 1 March.
Goalscorer: Taylor 52.
Booked: Painter 90.
Wimbledon: Worner, Fenlon (Arthur 72), Morris, Antwi, Bennett, Jones, Francomb (Sainte-Luce 72), S. Moore, Hylton (Midson 72), Wyke, L. Moore. Subs not used: Pell, Brown, Oakley.
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February 15, 2014