Southend 0 v Wimbledon 1
A Jack Midson penalty moved Wimbledon to the brink of League Two survival on Saturday (12 April) as the Dons won 1-0 at play-off chasing Southend United.
The striker – out-of-favour for much of this season and seemingly destined to leave Kingsmeadow this summer – squeezed his spot kick past Southend keeper Daniel Bentley to cap a gritty performance from the Dons.
Manager Neal Ardley enthused afterwards on the club’s official website: ‘It was just what we needed at this stage of the season. We had to defend for our lives. Some of the blocks that our players made in the first-half were brilliant.
‘I asked the players before the game for absolutely everything during the last month of the season and they have given me that today.’
Although this game featured plenty of resolute defending from the Dons, they could have been ahead midway through the first-half when Midson set up Kwesi Appiah, but the on-loan Palace man was thwarted by a good Bentley save.
At the other end, Kevan Hurst had already ballooned one effort over the bar before Ross Worner was forced into action for the first significant time, turning away a well-struck first-time shot from Jamar Loza.
And although Harry Pell also had to be alert to snuff out another threat from Loza, it wasn’t all one-way traffic, with Darren Jones heading narrowly over in a crowded penalty area following a George Francomb corner.
The Dons made the breakthrough in the 58th minute as, following Worner’s long clearance, Appiah burst into the box and fell under a challenge from John Egan, prompting a penalty and a yellow card for the defender.
Bentley got his hand down to Midson’s spot kick but could only deflect it on its path into the back of the net as the Dons went 1-0 up.
After that, there was still plenty of defending for the Dons to do.
Worner had to be alert to palm away a bouncing ball that threatened to sneak in at the far post following a long throw, and the keeper was again in action to spectacularly turn away an Egan piledriver that seemed destined for the back of the net.
Substitute Barry Corr also headed over for Southend, but ultimately this was a well-deserved win for the Dons.
They will attempt to extent their recent run of just one defeat in seven games when they entertain Newport County on Good Friday (18 April) before travelling to Plymouth Argyle on Monday 21 April.
They then round-off the season by hosting Morecambe before travelling to Accrington Stanley.
Southend: Bentley, White, Coker (Eastwood 70), Leonard, Sokolik, Egan, Hurst, Timlin, Loza, Barnard (Corr 59), Atkinson (Murphy 59). Subs not used: Prosser, Straker, Clifford, Chambers.
Booked: Coker 55, Egan 57.
Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Richards, Morris, Frampton, Jones, Francomb, Nicholson (L. Moore 83), Midson (Antwi 90), Appiah (Hylton 84), Pell. Subs not used: Sweeney, Fenlon, Arthur, Brown.
Goalscorer: Midson 58 (pen).
Booked: Appiah 59, Francomb 78.
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April 16, 2014