Last-Gasp Alexander Is Great For Dons

Wimbledon 2 v Bradford 1

An injury-time winner from Gary Alexander boosted Wimbledon’s survival hopes as they came from behind to beat Bradford City 2-1 at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (16 February).

The Dons were trailing 1-0 and facing being cast adrift at the bottom of League Two but two goals in the last seven minutes saw the result turned on its head against the League Cup finalists.

Although the Dons remain bottom, the gap covering the bottom five teams in the table is now just two points, giving manager Neal Ardley’s side a real boost.

‘We fell behind which was hard, but that is the first time we’ve come from behind and won,’ he told BBC London 94.9 after the game.

‘We kept going and, if you believe that fortune turns, hopefully we can take it into the next game.’

Certainly the Dons deserved a slice of luck after a period that has seen almost everything go against them. But it looked like misfortune was going to plague them again just shy of the half hour mark.

It had been a fairly tepid encounter until then, with neither side managing to create much in the way of goalscoring opportunities.

But then Alan Bennett, otherwise inspirational on his home debut, made a hash of heading a bouncing ball back to Neil Sullivan and City striker Garry Thompson nipped in to cleverly loft the ball into the back of the net and give the visitors an unexpected lead.

Rather than dwell on their misfortune, Wimbledon responded, bringing on Jack Midson, Pim Balkestein and debutant Kevin Sainte-Luce as they changed from one up front to a traditional 4-4-2.

With time ticking away and it looking as though Wimbledon would again be left frustrated, it was the unlikely figure of Balkestein who inspired the equaliser.

The centre-back came forward to collect Chris Hussey’s short throw and produced the cross of the afternoon which bamboozled the City defence, and although Midson was credited with the goal in some quarters it appeared to be City defender Andrew Davies.

But there was no doubt about who got the winner as the Dons continued to press forward.

They won their first corner of the match in the 92nd minute but Toby Ajala’s ball was cleared behind at the near post by the City defence.

But it was a case of ‘second time lucky’ as Ajala played the ball into the same location and this time Alexander was on hand to glance the ball into the back of the net and send the Dons fans delirious.

The Dons will be hoping to extend their recent unbeaten home record when they face a tough encounter against Northampton at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday (19 February), before a trip across London to Dagenham & Redbridge next Saturday.

By Rob Crane

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February 17, 2013