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Friday 25 March 2005
Ryman League, Division One

Banstead Athletic    1 - 3    AFC Wimbledon
Michael Beale (25)
  (14) Richard Butler
(29) Robert Ursell
(43) Steve Butler
 Paul Borg 1 Paul Smith 
 Aaron Day 2 Antony Howard 
 Simon Huckle 3 Lewis Hamilton ( 80) 
 Darren Beale 4 Jon-Barrie Bates 
 Wayne Finnie 5 Steve Butler 
 John Myatt 6 Joe Vines 
 Marcel Dennis 7 Robert Ursell 
 Richard Laming 8 Michael Woolner 
(sub 76) ( 36)  Bobby George 9 Richard Butler (sub 83) 
(sub 63)  Ashley Martin 10 Shane Smeltz 
 Michael Beale 11 Sonny Farr 
 Dave Smith 12 Gavin Bolger 
  13 Matt Martin 
(sub 63)  John Fowler 14 Leon McDowall (sub 83) 
 Tommy Ellis 15 Ryan Gray 
(sub 76)  Neil John 16 Mark Cooper 
 Kwebana Amaning 17  

Match report

A professional performance allowed Wimbledon to overcome an industrious Banstead side and take another step nearer the league title, with all the goals coming in the first half.

Dave Anderson named an unchanged side from the team which beat Horsham the previous week, with the only change coming on the bench as Mark Cooper replaced Martin Randall.

Shane Smeltz and Richard Butler combined to devastating effect on just 14 minutes to send Wimbledon in front. Smeltz chipped the ball over the top and Richard Butler raced on, lifted the ball over the defender in a manner reminiscent of Gazza at Euro 96 and smashed it goalwards. Borg did well to get a hand to it, but couldn?t stop it flying into the top of the net.

But Banstead got back on terms on from the penalty spot just over ten minutes later. Joe Vines missed a header and Smith raced out to upend the onrushing attacker for a clear penalty. Beale hit a low shot down the middle of the goal for 1-1.

But four minutes later the Dons were in front again. Lewis Hamilton?s flick sent Richard Butler down the left wing. He raced into the box and pulled the ball back for Rob Ursell to steer a low shot past Borg.

And just before half-time it was 3-1. Steve Butler was only denied by good work from Borg as he tried to knock a deep Ursell cross past the goalkeeper. But from Farr?s corner, Smeltz sent a header back into the six yard box and the Dons skipper managed to scramble it home between a defender and the goalkeeper.
In the second half, Banstead started the stronger, hungry for points to ease their relegation worries. Vines was forced to concede a corner under strong aerial pressure and Howard blocked a seemingly goalbound Finnie header. As Wimbledon looked to score again on the break, Smeltz looped a header over Borg and into the net from a corner, but the whistle had already gone for a foul.

Micky Woolner then thought he?d scored the Dons? fourth as he fired home a flick-on at the near post from a free-kick, but an offside flag cut short his celebrations and saw the Wimbledon defence racing back to regroup. At the other end, Paul Smith then saved bravely from a Banstead free-kick before being sent flying by George.

Some wonderful football from Ursell and Smeltz deserved to be crowned by the fourth goal, but Farr?s excellent cross was headed against the bar by Richard Butler, who stretched for the rebound and could only toe-poke it over. Butler then almost reproduced his goalscoring first-half run, but just ran out of room as his touch took the ball too close to Borg. Woolner headed wide from another corner as the Dons reasserted their dominance.

Smith then produced a sensational double save to deny not one but two Banstead attackers from close range. He produced a stunning block to deny an unmarked Finnie, then leapt up to save the follow up effort as well. Steve Butler cleared the ball, but play was inexplicably brought back for a Banstead free-kick on the edge of the box as Hamilton was booked. But Beale sent his shot into the wall.

Banstead kept trying to give themselves a lifeline and Beale was up next with a jinking run and shot that skidded past Smith?s far post, but the Dons defence held firm. And on the break more good work by Farr teed up Smeltz, bit his effort was too close to Borg who held on to save.

Three more points and a just a maximum of five more needed to secure the championship. Job done.

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