Dons Bounce Back To Secure Newport Draw

Wimbledon 2 v Newport 2

Wimbledon came back from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with Newport County at Kingsmeadow on Good Friday (18 April) courtesy of George Francomb’s equaliser.

The former Norwich man struck with 21 minutes remaining as the Dons produced a typical ‘game of two halves’ in this encounter. As with many of their matches this season, a below-par first-half was followed by a transformed second period.

They could have fallen behind early on when former Wimbledon man Christian Jolley latched on to Andy Sandell’s cross to the far post, forcing a good save by Ross Worner.

But it was a temporary reprieve for the Dons as Newport took the lead on the quarter hour. The Dons were struggling to clear their lines when the ball sat up nicely for Chris Zebroski on the edge of the penalty area, and his firmly struck effort on the stretch whizzed past Worner and into the back of the net to put the visitors 1-0 up.

A rare moment of promise for Wimbledon in the first period came when Sammy Moore was set up following a strong run by Aaron Morris, but Moore’s effort was off target.

Dons boss Neal Ardley made a tactical switch at half time, changing to a 4-3-3 formation and bringing on both Chris Arthur and Danny Hylton. But any hopes of an immediate change of fortunes appeared snuffed when Jolley burst into the box before tumbling under Arthur’s challenge. Michael Flynn made no mistake from the spot to put Newport 2-0 up.

But the Dons reacted immediately and pulled a goal back within a few minutes. When Francomb swung a free-kick into the box, amid tumbling bodies and appeals for free-kicks it was Kwesi Appiah who kept playing while others stood still, finding himself with a relatively simple close-range conversion to make it 2-1.

The Dons’ confidence was now restored, with Hylton instrumental as the home side pushed forward. But it wasn’t until the 69th minute that they restored parity, Francomb picking up the ball and striding forward before unleashing a long-range effort that took a deflection to leave Ian McLoughlin in the Newport goal stranded.

Wimbledon could have gone on to win the encounter, with Jack Midson hitting the post, but ultimately some satisfaction could be taken from a point in a game that earlier in the season the Dons would probably have lost.

This result extends the Dons’ recent run to just one defeat in eight games, a trend they’ll be hoping to continue when they visit Plymouth Argyle on Bank Holiday Monday (21 April).

They then round-off the season by entertaining Morecambe (26 April) before travelling to Accrington Stanley (3 May).

Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Fenlon (Arthur 45), S. Moore, Jones, Frampton, Francomb (L. Moore 91), Morris, Midson, Appiah, Nicholson (Hylton 45). Subs not used: Sweeney, Pell, Antwi, Brown.

Goalscorers: Appiah 49, Francomb 69.

Newport: McLoughlin, Jackson, Sandell, Flynn (Chapman 77), Feely, Blake, Zebroski, Porter, Howe (O’Connor 64), Jolley (Willmott 77), Minshull. Subs not used: Pidgeley, Hughes, Jeffers, Amadi-Holloway.

Goalscorers: Zebroski 15, Flynn 47 (pen).

Booked: Minshull 48, Feely 66, Sandell 90.

Att: 4,398.

By Rob Crane

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April 18, 2014