Wimbledon 2 v Morecambe 0
Wimbledon bounced back from their heavy midweek defeat at Accrington Stanley to beat Morecambe 2-0 at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (23 March).
Late first-half goals against the run of play from Kevin Sainte-Luce and Jack Midson swung the game in the Dons’ favour, and in the end it was a surprise that the margin of victory was not larger.
And, with the majority of the other League Two sides not playing due to the weather, the Dons bounced above Rochdale and Dagenham & Redbridge to the lofty heights of 16th in the table.
But it could have all been very different if Morecambe had been able to capitalise during the first period. Although Alan Bennett did force Barry Roche to parry one headed effort, it was the visitors who had the initial upper hand on a heavy pitch.
Indeed, Morecambe will be disappointed that they failed to take the lead, with Andrew Fleming spurning one opening when he shot wide from close range after approach play by Chris McCready, and then John Sullivan made a good stop from Jack Redshaw after the Morecambe man had beaten the offside trap.
But, for all their initial superiority, that was almost the only time during the entire game that Sullivan was forced into meaningful action, and the visitors were made to pay the price in seven minutes just before the break.
First Rashid Yussuff played an intelligent through ball that was latched onto by Gary Alexander, and the striker’s low cross was converted by Sainte-Luce to give the Dons a 1-0 lead.
And the Dons added insult to injury in first-half stoppage time when Robbie Threlfall’s miscontrolled ball was picked up by his keeper Roche and the referee somewhat harshly judged it to be a deliberate backpass.
McCready attempted to charge down the resultant Alexander free kick but did so with arms raised and conceded a tame penalty which Midson converted with aplomb.
If those two goals had come against the run of play, the second half was a different matter as Morecambe seemed to have the stuffing knocked out of them and the Dons capitalised on having the wind at their backs.
Five minutes after the break, the Dons appeared to have scored another when Will Antwi’s header from a Chris Hussey corner appeared to be over the line but the officials judged that Fleming had cleared it and waved play on.
And Hussey himself went close with one driven shot-cum-cross from the by-line that Roche was no doubt relieved to see evade the netting on the far side of his goal.
But despite their superiority, the Dons failed to grab any further goals, leaving them still with the division’s worst goal difference despite their increasingly lofty position.
Manager Neal Ardley told the club’s official website afterwards: ‘In the first 30 minutes ... I was thinking that it would be good to go in at half-time at 0-0. But I thought that we dug in and held on, even though we were not playing well.
‘Gary [Alexander]’s cross for the first goal was fantastic. Moments like that change games, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.’
The Dons’ Easter schedule sees them travel to Rotherham United on Good Friday before hosting Barnet in the ‘Northern Line derby’ on Easter Monday.
Wimbledon: Sullivan, Mitchel-King, Bennett, Antwi, Hussey, Sainte-Luce (Long 46), Pell, L. Moore, Yussuff, Alexander (Darko 62), Midson. Subs not used: Jaimez-Ruiz, Osano, Cummings, Strutton.
Goalscorers: Sainte-Luce 38, Midson 45 (pen).
Booked: Mitchel-King 34, Hussey 71.
Morecambe: Roche, Fenton (Doyle 23), McCready, Drummond, Threlfall, Wright, Fleming, McDonald, Alessandra (Burrow 62), Holroyd (Mwasile 74), Redshaw. Subs not used: Arestidou, Williams, Parkinson.
Booked: Drummond 73.
By Rob Crane
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March 24, 2013