Stevenage 2 v Wimbledon 1
Wimbledon were denied a potential draw by two controversial penalty decisions as they lost at 2-1 at Stevenage on Saturday (10 January).
While Dons debutant Deji Oshilaja was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul to enable Stevenage to score their winner, the Dons saw a claim for a penalty of their own waved away when Adebayo Azeez tumbled.
‘The penalty against us was a brave call by the ref,’ boss Neal Ardley told the Wimbledon Guardian afterwards. ‘There’s two players going up for a header, one does not even know the other is there.
‘He jumps, he tries to head the ball and they clash heads. It happens all over the park.’
And regarding the claim that the Dons had turned down, he said: ‘Our player is trying to receive the ball. The defender is not even trying to hold him up, he just pushes into his back, sending him to the floor, just so he can let the ball run out.
‘Our players were fuming because one penalty has been given and one hasn’t.’
The Dons started this match without departed loanees Matt Tubbs, Frankie Sutherland and Adam Barrett, while Jake Reeves made his second Dons debut having returned from Swindon Town.
But the Dons started on the back foot as Chris Whelpdale put an effort into the side netting in just the third minute.
And Whelpdale was again involved when he forced James Shea to tip his header over the bar following a diagonal ball from Ronnie Henry.
The hosts took the lead just past the half hour mark in fortuitous circumstances as Adam Marriott’s shot was deflected into the path of Tom Pett, who promptly dispatched the ball into the back of the net.
But the Dons bounced back and we level less than four minutes later. Adebayo Akinfenwa and Sean Rigg combined to set up a chance for George Francomb and he curled his effort into the corner of the net from 20 yards to make it 1-1.
In a match of few chances, it wasn’t until the 69th minute that Stevenage’s controversial winner came. Oshilaja and Dean Wells both jumped for the ball and Dons players were stunned when referee Philip Gibbs pointed to the spot. Simon Walton converted to put the hosts ahead again.
The Azeez penalty claim came as the Dons pushed forward towards the end in a desperate attempt to salvage a point, but it wasn’t to be as their recent good league form came to an end.
Their chance to bounce back comes against Carlisle United at Kingsmeadow next Saturday (17 January) before the visit of Accrington Stanley the following week.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Charles, Wells, Okimo, Whelpdale, Walton, Parrett, Pett, Marriott (Lee 85), Beardsley (Zola 61). Subs not used: Beasant, Dembele, Conlon, Deacon.
Goalscorers: Pett, Walton
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Oshilaja, Goodman, Kennedy, Francomb, Bulman, Reeves, Rigg (Oakley 81), Azeez, Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Bennett, Moore, Pell, McDonnell, Harrison, Fitzpatrick.
Booked: Oshilaja 18, Fuller 75.
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January 13, 2014