Struggling Wimbledon Lose Again

Wimbledon 0 v Torquay 1

The Dons slipped to their second home defeat in four days tonight and once again ended the match with 10 men.

Christian Jolley was dismissed with two minutes to play for a second bookable offence, but in truth Wimbledon never looked like cancelling out Rene Howe's fortuitous 34th minute opener as the hosts slipped to a 1-0 defeat.

Wimbledon lacked spark in attack without the suspended Jack Midson and Torquay won it with a goal that was self inflicted as Seb Brown’s clearance rebounded off Howe and into the empty net.  

Terry Brown made four changes from the side that started against Rochdale with different personnel in both full-back positions as Dale Bennett replaced George Francomb and Warren Cummings came in for Curtis Haynes-Brown. The Dons boss also handed a return to Louis Harris in midfield for Stacy Long and Byron Harrison replaced the suspended Jack Midson.

The Dons made a whirlwind start and they could have been in front after just 43 seconds when Luke Moore set-up Christian Jolley, but his powerful drive was beaten away by Torquay goalkeeper Michael Poke.

However, the visitors wasted no time themselves in showing their threat and Wimbledon needed Seb Brown to save at his near post from Rene Howe after Warren Cummings had only half cleared. The hosts were again fortunate to survive when the power of Howe proved too much for Cummings and the burly striker found himself clean through, but his shot was well saved by Seb Brown. The Dons number one was particularly busy in the first-half and he had to make his best save yet to turn away a Lee Mansell drive.

However, the Dons conceded a catastrophic goal in the 34th minute when all Seb Brown’s previous good work was undone with one flash of his right boot. Dale Bennett’s back pass was admittedly a little short, but Seb Brown smashed his clearance straight at Rene Howe and the ball rebounded into the empty net.

Wimbledon were not so fortunate a few minutes later though as there was almost an action replay at the other end when Poke’s clearance struck Luke Moore and went towards goal, but the ball never bounced so kindly for the Dons forward.

Terry Brown decided to make two changes at the break with George Francomb replacing Pim Balkestein, meaning Dale Bennett reverted to centre-back, and Rashid Yussuff came on for Louis Harris. Francomb made a quick impression and one dashing run from the on-loan Norwich youngster ended with a pull-back that found Byron Harrison in space, but he sliced his shot wide of the target.

The Dons had produced a much-improved start to the second-half, but Howe proved to be a menace once again at the other end when he got the better of Will Antwi, but the Ghanaian recovered well to stop him at the second attempt. Torquay skipper Lee Mansell also threatened to double his side’s advantage with a powerful drive that Seb Brown had to save well at his near post.

Charlie Strutton was finally offered his chance to shine in the 67th minute when he made his Wimbledon debut as a substitute for Warren Cummings. It would have been all over though but for Seb Brown as he came out quickly to deny Billy Bodin after another flying run from the speedy Torquay forward. Jolley was dismissed for a second bookable offence after a foul on Niall Thompson with two minutes to play and Torquay held on comfortably in the end.

AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Dale Bennett, Warren Cummings (Charlie Strutton), Sammy Moore, Pim Balkestein (George Francomb), Will Antwi, Louis Harris (Rashid Yussuff), Steven Gregory, Byron Harrison, Christian Jolley, Luke Moore.

Match report courtesy of AFC Wimbledon.

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September 18, 2012