Portsmouth 0 v Wimbledon 2
Frankie Sutherland’s first goal in senior football set Wimbledon on their way to victory as they beat Portsmouth 2-0 on Boxing Day.
The on-loan QPR midfielder struck in the ninth minute, picking up a Callum Kennedy pass outside the area and curling home an audacious effort into the far top corner of the goal, with Pompey keeper Paul Jones unable to do anything more than get a desperate hand to it.
Manager Neal Ardley told the club’s official website: ‘I was right behind Frankie’s shot and as soon as it left his boot I thought it was going in. It was a great goal.’
And with Matt Tubbs also back among the goals to go back to joint top of the League Two goalscorers’ chart, this was the perfect way to blow away any Christmas lethargy and with it the memory of the Dons’ previous game, a tame defeat against Mansfield.
Sutherland got his chance in the starting line-up due to the absence of Sammy Moore through illness, while the Dons were also without Adebayo Akinfenwa following the shin bruising that he picked up in that Mansfield defeat.
The Dons withstood initial pressure from the home side before taking the lead through that early Sutherland strike.
Portsmouth went close to an almost-immediate reply when Ryan Taylor fired against a post following a corner, but the Dons went further ahead in the 17th minute. George Francomb was alert to capitalise on Tubbs’ run from a quickly taken free-kick, and the hotshot made no mistake to beat Jones and put the Dons 2-0 ahead.
Sensing Portsmouth’s frailty in front of their restless support, the Dons carried on pushing forward with Sean Rigg driving narrowly wide, although at the other end James Shea also had to be alert to thwart Taylor’s effort.
After the interval, Tubbs spurned a chance when a heavy touch foiled his ambitions following a Barry Fuller cross. Yet it was the home side that slowly started to apply the pressure; Shea had to be alert to deny Craig Westcarr while and Jed Wallace fired wide from close quarters after a good lay-off by Taylor.
But Portsmouth’s hopes were dashed with 21 minutes remaining when Dan Butler picked up his second caution of the game after hacking down Francomb, and the Dons responded by ending the game in the ascendancy, with Adebayo Azeez twice denied a confidence-boosting goal by Jones saves.
Wimbledon now have three wins in their last four games and entertain Exeter City at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 28 December before the much-anticipated Liverpool FA Cup game on Monday 5 January, which will be shown live on BBC.
Portsmouth: Jones, Webster, Robinson, Whatmough, Butler, Wallace, Bean, Hollands (Barcham 74), Holmes (Atangana 45), Westcarr, Taylor. Subs not used: Devera, Chorley, Storey, Shorey, Poke.
Booked: Butler 16, Robinson 39, Westcarr 90.
Sent off: Butler 69.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Barrett, Goodman, Kennedy, Francomb, Sutherland, Bulman, Rigg (Pell 71), Azeez, Tubbs (Oakley 84). Subs not used: Bennett, Nicholson, McDonnell, Harrison, Fitzpatrick.
Goalscorers: Sutherland 9, Tubbs 17.
Booked: Bulman 84.
By Rob Crane
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December 27, 2014