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Dons celebrating after keeping Football League status
Saturday, 27 April 2013
AFC Wimbledon 2 Fleetwood Town 1
AFC Wimbledon got the victory they needed over Fleetwood Town to secure their Football League status on Saturday afternoon.
Second-half goals from Gary Alexander and Jack Midson either side of an Andy Mangan equaliser were enough to earn the Dons the vital three points on an emotion and tension-filled afternoon at Kingsmeadow.
Barnet’s defeat at Northampton means that they willensured they went down with Aldershot, with Dagenham & Redbridge escaping the drop on goal difference. But it wasn’t straightforward for the Dons, Fleetwood showed they had no intention of rolling over as they threatened after just 40 seconds through Andy Mangan when, on the spin, he fired at John Sullivan from 10 yards.
Dons then had a great opportunity to break the deadlock on 16 minutes. Curtis Osano did well on the right to hook in a low cross which Jack Midson flicked on at the near post only for Gary Alexander to stab over from close range.
Four minutes later Alexander took a hopeful swipe at a Harry Pell cross from six yards out but his effort was tame and easy to collect for Fleetwood goalkeeper Scott Davies.
On 25 minutes Midson met a Chris Hussey corner with a bullet header which Davies could only beat into the ground but unfortunately for Wimbledon there was no-one to convert the rebound.
Despite the Dons pressure they were almost caught with a suckerpunch on 32 minutes when Ryan Crowther flashed the ball across goal but, neither Jamille Matt or Mangan could turn home the centre as both were caught on their heels at the far post.
Five minutes after the break Midson got the better of Nathan Pond on the byline, his cutback fell back into his path via Robert Atkinson and the defender then deflected Midson’s follow up onto the crossbar. The rebound dropped to the onrushing Harry Pell on the penalty spot and his effort was clawed out by Davies before the ball was scrambled to safety.
But one minute past the hour they scored the vital goal.
Alexander was felled by Shaun Beeley, Sammy Moore floated in a free-kick and Alexander rose highest to nod back across Davies and into the corner of the net.
For two minutes Wimbledon had climbed out of the relegation zone but then Alan Bennett conceded a cheap corner which was converted by Mangan and the euphoria changed to silence.
Wimbledon kept plugging away and on 71 minutes they were awarded a penalty with would prove to keep them up. Curtis Osano went down under a challenge from Alan Goodell, Midson stepped up and sent Davies the wrong way to put the Dons back in front.
Two minutes from time Gareth Evans found himself well placed on the left but could only drill narrowly wide for Fleetwood.
Neal Ardley’s men had to negotiate five minutes of stoppage time, which they did relatively comfortably and on the blast of the full-time whistle Dons fans raced onto the pitch to celebrate with their team.
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