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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: AFC WIMBLEDON

9 February 2019

JAMIE Allen and David Templeton produced the goals that secured a precious double over bottom-of-the-table AFC Wimbledon as the Brewers continued their good run of current form

On a ground where they had not won in five previous visits to play the Wombles it was an efficient and effective Brewers performance that cleaned up the points on a day of few clear chances for either side.

On a hard and bouncy pitch it was never going to be a game for the purist but Albion played the percentages and defended resolutely, once again marshalled superbly by Jake Buxton to get a clean sheet, and they clinically took two of the chances that came their way. Allen drilled home the first on fourteen minutes after being played through by Marcus Harness and Templeton was equally accurate in the second half from Liam Boyce's pass.

After battling their way to a goalless draw with ten men against Oxford last time out there were two changes for the trip to take on the Wombles. With John Brayford serving his suspension following last weekend's red card there was a return for captain Buxton to partner Kyle McFadzean at the heart of defence. The other change was also in defence where Josh Clarke was unable to play due to an ankle problem with Lucas Akins dropping in at right back to allow Harness to get back into the side on the wing. After impressing in training WBA loanee Alex Bradley made it onto the bench for the first time.

Wimbledon were out of the traps quickly and were convinced they should have had a penalty when Dylan Connolly burst from his own half and got to the bye line before trying to cross the ball into the middle for Kwesi Appiah. Buxton had tracked the midfielders run and although the ball hit him at close range as the cross came in referee Andy Haines was not interested in awarding a spot kick. The resulting corner saw Brad Collins punch the ball clear on the edge of his six yard box and when Appiah tried to return the ball with interest his overhead kick was comfortably over the bar.

Appiah had a good chance to test Collins with a set piece on nine minutes, a shove by McFadzean just a yard outside the box giving the home side a dangerously placed free kick that ended wide of the post.

Albion responded well once they settled into the game and Fraser fizzed a shot over the angle of post and bar before McFadzean got up well to head a Marcus Harness corner into the waiting hands of home keeper Aaron Ramsdale.

And it was Albion who took the lead on fourteen minutes with a slick move through the centre of the Wimbledon midfield and defence. Harness found himself with time and space to turn in midfield and break forwards. ALLEN was ahead of him in support and took a pass into his stride before firing across Ramsdale into the corner for his fifth goal of the season.

The home side then suffered an injury blow when Appiah pulled up chasing a long ball and was forced off on 18 minutes with Joe Pigott taking his place as the spearhead of the attack.

Pigott presented a different threat with his size and aeriel ability and from a free kick on the left on 25 minutes it was the big striker who unsettled the Albion back line with defender Will Nightingale almost scrambling the ball over the line from close range until Collins dropped on it just about on his line.

Wimbledon came back at Albion again just after the half hour mark and a wickedly teasing cross from Mitch Pinnock looked certain to be headed home by Pigott until Buxton got there first for a vital interception in front of his own goal.

Albion finished the half strongly with a wicked Templeton cross cleared for a corner and with the Brewerss looking to counter quickly in added time referee Andy Haines seemingly blew at least fifteen seconds earlier than the end of the two added minutes he had signalled.

Half time: AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Burton Albion

A somewhat low key start to the second half was livened up when Buxton had to make another timely and important clearance to make sure that Pinnock's curling cross didnt cause too much damage but Albion soaked up what early pressure the home side could muster and proceeded to hit their hosts with a devastating second goal on the counter.

A probing ball through to Boyce allowed the striker to turn and find the run of TEMPLETON to set himself and, as Allen had done in the first half, fire across Ramsdale to find the back of the net.

It could have been three for Albion and two for Templeton straight away as an almost identical move found the winger in space but a poor first touch allowed a Dons defender to close him down and the chance was gone. A third would have almost certainly put the game beyond the reach of Wimbledon but as it was the next goal was crucial.

63 minutes in and with a two goal lead, Templeton exited the action, his work for the afternoon done, and his place went to Kieran Wallace as the Brewers looked to stiffen midfield as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Boyce was looking to get a piece of the scoring action and he forced Ramsdale into a good save to his left on 70 minutes.

Eleven minutes were remaining when Harness saw the fourth officials board showing his number to come off with Will Miller sent on for some energy in the final minutes of the game down the right hand side with Harness content with his days work after his first half assist.

The home side were forced into another injury enforced change as Terell Thomas limped off as Toby Sibbick was asked to slot into the back four for the final six or so minutes.

Albion were inches away from a third as the added time approached with Akins going on a barnstorming run down the right and although he was pulled back referee Haines played on and the ball came back to Wallace who fired just off target.

There was still time for a cameo debut appearance for Alex Bradley who replaced Allen for stoppage time at the end of a hugely satisfying afternoon in South West London. In fact it was Bradley who had the last action with a speculative shot that flew wide. It mattered not. The points were heading back home with the Brewers.


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