Rochdale 1 v Wimbledon 2
Wimbledon overturned the form book to win 2-1 at Rochdale on Saturday (2 November) courtesy of Andy Frampton’s late winner.
Before this game Rochdale were flying high in the division and with a 100 percent home record. Couple that with a miserable run of recent form for the Dons, with no wins in six games, and few would have predicted this result.
But the Dons pulled it round from a half-time deficit thanks to Sammy Moore’s equaliser followed by Frampton’s winner – despite a 25-minute second half interruption caused by floodlight failure after lightening hit a pylon.
Afterwards, manager Neal Ardley paid tribute to his players. Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: ‘The staff and players have come together today and sometimes when you do that you get a slice of luck.
‘My main worry was that the game would get abandoned. I felt that we had the momentum and we might lose that. We did to a certain degree because they came out and went for it, but we defended like lions.’
The game started in predictable fashion, with the home side seeking to impose themselves on the match. Midfielder Matt Lund, in particular, was a strong influence for Rochdale.
The Dons survived a penalty scare after half an hour when Frampton’s challenge in the box resulted with Matt Done tumbling to the floor, but referee Iain Williamson opted to book the Rochdale man for diving rather than award a spot kick.
But just a few minutes later Rochdale took a deserved lead. Michael Rose delivered an excellent far post cross from the left wing that was headed back into the mixer by Lund It fell to Jamie Allen on the centre spot who twisted and fired home an effort that seemed to take multiple deflections off Wimbledon players to leave Ross Worner flummoxed.
But it wasn’t entirely one-way traffic as the Dons also fashioned half chances of their own, with George Francomb narrowly failing to get on the end of a George Porter cross and Michael Smith heading just wide from a Callum Kennedy cross.
With Wimbledon fans urging Ardley to make half-time changes, the Dons boss resisted and was rewarded just 11 minutes after the break with an equaliser.
Kennedy swung in a free-kick from the right flank that was flicked on and fell to the off-balance Sammy Moore who did well to control the ball on the half volley and sweep it beyond Josh Lillis for the equaliser.
That equaliser lifted the Dons and Harry Pell went close to putting the Dons ahead. The midfielder picked the ball up on the corner of the box following an intricate passing move and turned his man before unleashing a curling shot that went just inches beyond the far post.
But the home side was also pressing forward and really should have done better when a sweeping delivery into the box from deep by Gary Dicker found Graham Cummins onside, but the ’Dale forward headed straight at Worner.
Then came the lightening strike that plunged Spotland into darkness. Eventually the game was able to proceed, albeit with only three of the four floodlights working. But any fear that the enforced break might have disrupted the Dons proved unfounded.
Ardley did finally make a double substitution with just minutes on the clock, with Kevin Sainte-Luce and the fit-again Charlie Sheringham coming on, and it produced an instant impact.
Sainte-Luce it was whose jinking run into the box ended with a shot that, although blocked, looped up to where Frampton did well to stay alert and capitalise on Dicker’s sliced clearance to hook the ball into the back of the net.
Sainte-Luce then had a chance to get his own name on the scoresheet when he burst clear and ran half the length of the pitch but, just as he was steadying himself for a one-on-one with Lillis, Lund got back with an excellent sliding challenge to take the ball off the Frenchman’s toes.
Worner was also called into action, producing a save to deny Ian Henderson and preserve the Dons’ lead, but ultimately this could prove to be a crucial win for the Dons as they seek to get their season back on track.
Next up they face Coventry City in an FA Cup tie that has been moved to Friday 8 November for live coverage on BT Sport, before returning to league action with an eagerly awaited home game against Portsmouth the following week.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Lancashire, O’Connell, Rose, Dicker, Henderson, Lund, Allen (Hogan 62), Done (Vincenti 69), Cummins (Hery 73). Subs not used: R. Bennett, Eastham, Tutte, Thomson.
Goalscorer: Allen 35.
Booked: Done 30, Rose 82.
Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Frampton, A. Bennett, Kennedy, S. Moore, Porter, Sweeney, Pell (Sheringham 83), Francomb (Sainte-Luce 83), Smith. Subs not used: Midson, L. Moore, Fenlon, Brown, Weston.
Goalscorers: S. Moore 54, Frampton 84.
Booked: S. Moore 69, Fuller 90.
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November 2, 2013