Smith Lifts Dons With Last-Gasp Winner

Wimbledon 2 v York 1

Jack Smith scored a last-minute winner as Wimbledon beat York City 2-1 on Saturday (7 March), stretching the Dons’ recent impressive run to two defeats in ten games.

But in truth this was a disjointed performance from the Dons in a game notable more for the tendency of York players to fall over and a refereeing performance that at times had both sets of supporters scratching their heads.

The Dons made four changes from the side that drew against Southend in midweek, the most notable of which was the return of George Francomb from injury., while Barry Fuller also returned to the starting line-up at the expense of Callum Kennedy.

York started full of confidence and Wes Fletcher forced an early save from Joe McDonnell, the young keeper turned the ball behind at his near post.

But the Dons scored from their only attempt on target during the first period, after 19 minutes. Francomb played a corner towards the penalty spot and there Deji Oshilaja used his spring-like jump to rise above his marker and head the ball firmly into the back of the net.

Adebayo Akinfenwa did have one lofted effort narrowly off target while Adebayo Azeez also headed an effort wide, but the Dons were made to pay for their lack of cutting edge up front when York equalised shortly before half-time.

It was a scrappy goal to concede, with Smith being outpaced down the flank, McDonnell fumbling the low cross after it took a deflection coming though to him, and McDonnell and Fuller then blocking two follow-up attempts before Jake Hyde scrambled the ball home to make it 1-1 at the break.

York started the second period full of confidence and spurned golden opportunities when Hyde headed over and then Emile Sinclair fired into the side netting after rounding McDonnell.

But Azeez was equally profligate, seeing one effort turned around by Bobby Olejnik and then a header going wide before being withdrawn to make way for Craig Tanner as the Dons sought to get a grip on the game.

Just as the game looking like it was fading away to a conclusion befitting the quality of the performance, Smith struck. Francomb’s ball in from the right was only partially cleared and fell to Smith lurking on the edge of the box, and his half-volleyed effort flew into the back of the net through a host of bodies, although it may have taken a slight deflection to help it on its way.

The win keeps the play-off chasing pack within touching distance for the Dons. They will be hoping to build on it when they travel to Exeter City next weekend (14 March).

Wimbledon: McDonnell, Fuller, Oshilaja, Phillips, Smith, Francomb, Reeves, Bulman, Potter (Rigg 62), Akinfenwa, Azeez (Tanner 78). Subs not used: Worner, Moore, Kennedy, Fitzpatrick, Sweeney.

Goalscorers: Oshilaja 19, Smith 90.

Booked: Akinfenwa 72.

York City: Olejnik, McCoy, Lowe, Zubar, Benning, Coulson, Penn, Halliday, Carson (Meikle 86), Fletcher (Sinclair 14), Hyde. Subs not used: Ilesanmi, McCombe, Montrose, Platt, Ingham.

Goalscorer:  Hyde 43.

Booked: McCoy 76.

Att: 4,806

By Rob Crane

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March 7, 2015