Wimbledon paid the price for a shaky start at the Memorial Stadium today as they missed out on a third successive win.
With the Dons having eased their relegation fears during the past week, Terry Brown picked the same starting 11 that had beaten Bradford on Tuesday. But Wimbledon were second best early on and they fell behind in the 11th minute through a fine individual effort from Mustapha Carayol. It was a bad one to concede from Wimbledonís perspective as Rashid Yussuff gave the ball away just inside his own half and with the Dons defence backing off from Carayol, he needed no second invitation to beat Seb Brown with a superb curler. At this stage, Rovers looked in the mood to wrap up another victory over the Dons in quick time after their 3-2 win on the opening day of the season.
The visitors did steady the ship though and showed moments of attacking promise, most notably when Yussuff and Midson combined but the latterís cross was headed over the crossbar by Cian Bolger. The Dons were lucky not to be 2-0 down though in the 32nd minute when Rovers skipper Matt Gill beat Seb Brown, but then watched his shot roll just past the far post. Danny Woodwards also flashed a shot just across the face of the goal for Rovers, who deserved their half-time lead as the Dons had failed to test Scott Bevan in the home goal.
As the second-half got underway, it became increasingly more evident that the players were struggling to cope with the rain-sodden conditions as the pitch became more waterlogged. The hosts came so close to doubling their advantage when Chris Zebroskiís shot was well saved by the legs of Brown, but the ball rebounded off the Rovers striker and almost into the net.
Wimbledon had their best spell of the match though as they really started to stretch the Rovers defence. Billy Knott became increasingly influential as the half wore on and with the Rovers defence retreating, he picked out George Moncur and his low shot produced a fingertip save from Bevan. Substitute Christian Jolley then came close to reaching a teasing cross from Sammy Moore, who just missed out on the equaliser when he latched onto a Knott pass and had his shot deflected just wide by Bolger with Bevan beaten. In an entertaining second-half that saw both teams really going for it, Seb Brown kept the Dons in with a chance by making a near-post save to deny Zebroski.
Terry Brown decided to give Kieran Djilali a chance to turn the match around with 17 minutes left as he replaced Knott, but it should have been all over almost immediately when Matt Harrold fired a clear shooting chance straight at Seb Brown. However, one was enough for the hosts as the Dons threat tailed off in the latter stages and Rovers held on comfortably in the end.