Cobblers Put The Boot In On Below-Par Dons

Wimbledon 0 v Northampton 2

Wimbledon meekly surrendered their 100 percent home record as they lost 2-0 to strugglers Northampton Town on Saturday (5 October).

The Dons started brightly, with Michael Smith heading just wide from a Callum Kennedy cross and George Porter then heading straight at Cobblers keeper Matt Duke from George Francomb’s delivery.

But the Dons fell apart after switching off at the back to gift the visitors the lead after 20 minutes. Darren Carter played a deep free-kick to the far post where Lee Collins had been left completely unmarked to convert beyond the despairing Ross Worner.

After that, Northampton successfully concentrated on getting men behind the ball to smother the game and cut off Wimbledon’s attempts at passing the ball into dangerous areas. But they were still dangerous on the break, with Chris Hackett’s cross being headed only just over by Ian Morris.

So far this season Dons boss Neal Ardley has often sparked a revival in his team’s fortunes by making a double half-time switch, and it was a trick he attempted again by bringing on Chris Arthur and Jim Fenlon for Kennedy and the discomfited Andy Frampton.

But it failed to spark any upturn in fortunes as Arthur struggled to make an impact and any crosses into the area were well dealt with by the solid Northampton defence.

And the visitors extended their lead with just over quarter of an hour remaining, as Duke’s long-ball up the middle tempted Alan Bennett into a challenge that he lost. Bennett’s failure left Fenlon exposed, and Northampton sub Stuart Dallas skipped past Fenlon’s desperate challenge before steadying himself and firing home to make it 2-0.

It wasn’t until injury time that the Dons came close to grabbing a consolation, with a well-worked free-kick resulting in a low long-range drive from Harry Pell being palmed aside by Duke, and then Smith seeing his prodded effort bobbling just wide after the ball broke loose in the box.

Ardley would have been hoping to see his side capitalise with three successive games against League Two’s bottom three sides, but so far they have spurned that opportunity with defeats against Cheltenham and Northampton.

They have an opportunity to avoid an unwanted hat-trick when they face Accrington Stanley at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (12 October).

Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Kennedy (Midson 60), Frampton (Fenlon 46), Bennett, Francomb (Arthur 46), Pell, S. Moore, L. Moore, Smith, Porter. Subs not used: Sweeney, Brown, Weston, Beere.

Booked: S. Moore 44, Porter 79.

Northampton: Duke, Amankwaah, Collins, Reid, Kouo-Doumbe, Widdowson, Hackett (Dallas 57), Carter, Deegan, Morris, O’Donovan (Toney 82). Subs not used: Demontagnac, Tozer, Emerton, McNamara, Harriott.

Goalscorers: Collins 20, Dallas 73.

Booked: Reid 18, O’Donovan 48, Hackett 50, Amankwaah 66, Collins 90.

Attendance: 4,222

By Rob Crane

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October 11, 2013