Wimbledon 0 v Morecambe 3
Wimbledon ended their home campaign with a display that typified the inconsistency of their season: a brilliant first-half display that somehow ended with a half-time deficit, followed by a limp second period culminating in a 3-0 home defeat against Morecambe (played Saturday 26 April).
The Dons came out with three attackers and Chris Arthur playing at left-back, and for most of the 45 minutes it looked like the plan would work as they laid siege to the Morecambe goal.
But two defensive slips in as many minutes just before half-time gift wrapped the lead for Morecambe and left the Dons visibly deflated.
Neal Ardley reflected to the club’s website afterwards: ‘For 30 minutes it looked like Morecambe were hanging on and if we got one goal it would be a case of how many, but we did not take our chances.
‘That put pressure on us and we conceded two absolute car-crash goals.
‘I’ve told the players they have to be ready for a tough week. I will not tolerate another limp performance like that.’
The Dons came out of the blocks in a hurry, with George Francomb going close early on with an effort that was narrowly off target, while Kwesi Appiah also spurned an opportunity when set free by a flick from Danny Hylton.
Appiah should have done better just moments later when Francomb delivered an excellent cross to the far post only for the on-loan Palace forward to misdirect his header wide of the post.
And the pressure continued as Chris Arthur fired in a curling free-kick that was only narrowly off target.
Morecambe had barely been out of their own half in the first 43 minutes, but then they were gifted a two-goal lead.
First Sammy Moore allowed himself to be caught on the ball. There was still a chance for Wimbledon to redeem themselves but when Darren Jones retrieved possession he too dallied, allowing Kevin Ellison to dispossess him. The ball fell to Jack Redshaw who calmly rounded Seb Brown – given a sentimental farewell appearance – to slot home.
As if that wasn’t enough, moments later it was 2-0. Jones slipped as he went for a through ball, allowing Redshaw to nip in, round Andy Frampton and deliver a low cross for Jamie Devitt to convert.
At half-time, Morecambe were probably as bemused as everyone else at the fact that they had the lead.
But if the first-half had been characterised by almost relentless Wimbledon pressure, the second period was a different matter entirely. Opportunities were few and far between, although Francomb and Jack Midson did have half chances.
Indeed, Brown had to be alert, saving from Devitt and more spectacularly tipping over a Ellison effort after substitute Harry Pell had been caught in possession.
A game of disappointment for the Dons was completed in injury time when Luke Moore brought down Andrew Fleming in the box. Wimbledon fans may have had visions of a Brown penalty save to revive memories of the Conference play-off final penalty shoot-out and end his Dons career on a high, but it wasn’t to be as Padraig Amond fired home to complete the scoreline.
Confirmation that the Dons have been deducted just three points for fielding Jake Nicholson when he was ineligible means they can travel to Accrington Stanley on Saturday (3 May) for the final game of the season knowing that their Football League future is already safe.
Wimbledon: Brown, Fuller, Arthur, Nicholson (L. Moore 59), Frampton, Jones, Francomb (Sweeney 75), S. Moore (Pell 79), Hylton, Midson, Appiah. Subs not used: Worner, Antwi, Morris, Richards.
Booked: Hylton 78, L. Moore 90.
Morecambe: Roche, Parrish, Mustoe (Diagne 10), Kenyon, Edwards, Hughes, Beeley, Fleming, Redshaw (Amond 79), Devitt (Wright 69), Ellison. Subs not used: Sampson, Williams, Marshall, Arestidou.
Goalscorers: Redshaw 43, Devitt 44, Amond 90 (pen).
Booked: Edwards 39.
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May 4, 2014