Wimbledon 3 v Kettering Town 2
Wimbledon produced a game of two halves that nonetheless saw them beat Kettering 3-2 on Sunday (22 November) to go back to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
Fielding a weakened starting line-up to give a breather to some first-team regulars, the Dons stormed to a 3-0 half-time break – and then ended the game clinging on as Kettering mounted a comeback.
It was Luke Moore who took full advantage of a place in the starting XI by grabbing both of the Dons’ opening goals.
First, after 11 minutes, he was put through by an excellent Ricky Wellard pass to take advantage of acres of space down the Kettering right, and calmy fired home past the dive of Kelvin Jack.
Then, five minutes later, he blasted home a penalty after Sammy Moore had been spectacularly upended in the box by Nick Green.
And it looked to be plain sailing for the Dons when Christian Jolley made it 3-0 ten minutes before the break, the former Kingstonian man heading into an empty net after Mark Nwokeji’s effort reared up into the air after being bravely blocked by Jack.
But the second half was a different story, with the Dons’ chances not being helped by a slight knock to Sam Hatton just before the break and then exacerbated when his replacement, Ryan Jackson, also had to go off injured.
Whether through choice or Kettering pressure, the Dons dropped deeper and started gifting the opposition possession in crucial areas. There was an air of inevitability when substitute Brett Solkhon pulled one back after 53 minutes, turning in Marcus Kelly’s cross.
Ten minutes from the end, Kettering’s veteran striker Paul Furlong was on hand to stab the ball home following a corner and set up a nerve-wracking end to a game.
And there was still time for Furlong to force an outstanding reflex save from Seb Brown as Kettering looked to snatch what at one point seemed like an unlikely point.
The victory was enough to bounce the Dons back to the top of the table, ahead of Crawley and Luton. The Dons now look forward to FA Cup action with the visit of Stevenage on Saturday (27 November, 12:50pm kick-off).
• The Dons have been drawn at home to Braintree Town in the FA Trophy 1st round, with the game to be played on Saturday 11 December.
Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton (Jackson 41, Franks 70), Bush, Wellard, Yakubu, Harris, S. Moore, Yussuff, Nwokeji (Kedwell 76), Jolley, L. Moore. Subs not used: Main, Turner.
Goalscorers: L. Moore 11, 17, Jolley 36.
Kettering: Jack, Graham, Davis (Solkhon 41), Dempster, Boucard (McKoy 85), Furlong, Kelly (Marna 57), Dance, Green, Makofo, Noubissie. Subs not used: Roper, Cooper.
Goalscorers: Solkhon 53, Furlong 80.
Booked: Solkhon 42, Green 60, Marna 70, Dempster 87, Noubissie 90.
Referee: Ian Cooper (Kent).
November 22, 2010