Wimbledon 0 v Bury 1
A last-gasp Bury goal knocked the stuffing out of Wimbledon on Saturday (22 February) as the Dons emerged with nothing from a game they dominated, losing 1-0 at Kingsmeadow.
The Dons have now suffered four consecutive defeats but during this match – in contrast to many recent performances – it seemed as though they had finally rediscovered their attacking mojo as they peppered the visitors’ goal with efforts.
But there was a growing sense of the inevitable as they failed to make the breakthrough and, sure enough, with the game into injury time Danny Mayor capitalised on a fortunate ricochet to run from the halfway line and beat Ross Worner to score the game’s only goal.
Dons boss Neal Ardley told BBC London 94.9 afterwards that he was ‘devastated’. ‘It’s a results-based industry so I can’t take any consolation from us being the better team for large parts of the game,’ he said.
‘It becomes not unlucky that you lose games and it’s individuals, not tactics, which has cost us again – stupid errors.
‘Confidence is low and we have to find a way of winning a game and scoring a goal.’
The Dons set the tone for this game right from the off as in the very first minute Danny Hylton got on the end of a George Francomb cross only for Bury keeper Brian Jensen to produce a save.
And Hylton was later involved again to set through Sammy Moore, but midfielder’s effort came to naught.
It was at the start of the second half that the Dons really started to turn the screw. Hylton was again pivotal, controlling a high ball that evaded his marker Frederic Veseli before seeing his effort blocked by Jensen’s legs.
And moments later Hylton’s header from a Francomb cross was only narrowly off target as the Dons continued to push forward.
Hylton then combined well with Charlie Whyke to fashion another chance. Although Wyke’s final lay-off took a deflection that left Hylton off-balance as he struck the ball, Jensen still had to be at his best to get down and prevent the well-placed shot from sneaking just inside the post.
The tide of the game started turning once Wyke was forced off through injury to be replaced by Jack Midson, with Bury also making a change of their own by introducing the pace of Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro. Akpa-Akpro was soon involved, cutting inside from the left-hand channel before hitting a shot from outside the box that Worner did well to turn aside.
Akpa-Akpro was then put through by a Gary Jones pass over the top of the Dons’ defence, but the striker’s effort hit the bar and bounced clear when really he should have done better.
But it contributed to a growing sense of the inevitable which finally came deep in injury time. Mayor picked up the ball on halfway and ran at Darren Jones. Once the ball took an unfortunate ricochet off Jones’s legs and fell straight back into Mayor’s stride, the on-loan Sheffield Wednesday man powered forward with Jones struggling to keep pace before calmly slotting it home past Worner.
After doing so well for so much of the game, this defeat was hard to stomach for Wimbledon fans. The team have a chance to turn the corner when they travel to Newport on Tuesday (25 February) before starting March with the long trip to Fleetwood Town on Saturday 1 March.
Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Fenlon (Pell 45), Morris, Bennett, Jones, S. Moore, Collins, Wyke (Midson 72), Hylton, Francomb (Sainte-Luce 64). Subs not used: L. Moore, Sheringham, Arthur, Brown.
Booked: S. Moore 13, Hylton 41, Collins 58.
Bury: Jensen, Carroll, McNulty, Jones, Mills, Veseli, Mayor, Miller, Nardiello (Akpa-Akpro 63), Forrester (Platt 55), Tutte (Sedgwick 74). Subs not used: Hinds, Proctor, Charles-Cook, Nasseri.
Goalscorer: Mayor 90.
Booked: Tutte 34, Veseli 41, Platt 90.
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February 22, 2014