Wimbledon 0 v Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Errors from Jonathan Meades and Ben Wilson ended Wimbledon’s recent mini-run of good form as they lost 0-1 at home to Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night (24 November).
The Dons were unbeaten in five league matches going into this encounter whereas their opponents were unbeaten in 11 matches, and that form manifested itself throughout this match until 10 minutes from full-time.
That was when Meades dawdled in possession midway in the Wimbledon half, allowing veteran Jamie Cureton to get a toe to the ball. And when the ball was worked back to Cureton on the corner of the Wimbledon box, his attempted lob-cum-cross deceived Wilson as it looped down towards him, the on-loan stopper only succeeding in palming the ball into the back of his own net.
It was harsh on the Dons who had earlier peppered the Dagenham goal with efforts but failed to find their way past custodian Mark Cousins.
‘The biggest beef for me is that we did not quite do enough to win the game,’ Dons boss Neal Ardley lamented afterwards on the club’s website.
‘I think if we had our quality and end product in the final third we would have put them to the sword.
The Dons’ first scoring opportunity was forged in the fifth minute as following a quick free-kick Barry Fuller released Lyle Taylor, but Cousins spread himself well to thwart the former Scunthorpe striker’s shot.
Bayo Akinfenwa also went close from a deep Callum Kennedy ball, heading narrowly over, and Taylor went close again, forcing a near-post Cousins save after neat approach play down the left by Meades who, apart from his late mistake, again had an outstanding match.
After Reeves fired narrowly wide from outside the box after being teed up by Taylor, Kennedy went closest of all as his curling free-kick from just outside the box was dipping just under the bar before Cousins’ intervention.
And there was misfortune soon afterwards when a combination of Paul Robinson and Karleigh Osborne threw themselves at a Kennedy corner only to see Taylor inadvertently block the goal-bound effort with Cousins finally beaten.
The one-way traffic continued in the second period although the goalscoring opportunities dried up somewhat. It wasn’t until into the final 20 minutes that the otherwise quiet George Francomb bamboozled a defender down the right before delivering a near-cross post that Reeves almost bundled past Cousins.
Cureton has made a habit of scoring against Wimbledon in recent years, and so there had been a sense of unease when he was introduced as an early substitute following a fifth minute injury to Matt McClure. But even Cureton had endured a subdued game – until that late moment of double Dons madness.
Going behind seemed to knock the stuffing out of Wimbledon as they struggled to mount anything resembling a late rally.
They’ll be hoping to accentuate the positives when they visit Leyton Orient on Saturday (28 November). There’s then a blank weekend for the Dons before they entertain Stevenage on 12 December.
Wimbledon: Wilson, Fuller, Robinson, Osborne, Meades, Francomb (Azeez 81), Bulman, Reeves, Kennedy (Rigg 69), Akinfenwa (Elliott 75), Taylor. Subs not used: Sweeney, McDonnell, Kaja, Toonga.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Passley, Nosworthy (Obileye 40), Dikamona, Connors, Mulraney (Boucaud 64), Labadie, Dunne, Hemmings, Vassell, McClure (Cureton 5). Subs not used: O’Brien, Chambers, Jones, Hoyte.
Goalscorer: Cureton 80.