AFC Wimbledon made it nineteen league wins in a row this season with a 4-2 win over Horley Town at the New Defence. With Gavin Bolger still out, Darren Dobinson continued in the centre of the park and Clinton Moore made his first start in place of the rested Joe Sheerin.
The hosts laid on an excellent welcome at their brand new ground, easily the most well-appointed in the Combined Counties League. And their generosity of spirit was reciprocated by the Dons? defence as Lee Sidwell casually rolled the ball across the box on 16 minutes, leaving Elliott Lyward with an easy finish for a shock lead. A minute later the same player found his way through but fell as he shot.
Clinton Moore and Kevin Cooper struggled to find an understanding up front in their first game together and their normal fluent football seemed to elude the Dons all evening, but Cooper carved out the equaliser, controlling the ball on the edge of the area and hammering it into the top corner off the underside of the crossbar on 22 minutes.
Ten minutes later, with Horley centre-back Anthony Jupp off receiving treatment to an injured wrist, Seb Favata found himself in space 25 yards out and simply let fly. The ball rocketed into the net off the underside of the bar in almost exactly the same spot as Cooper had found earlier. The midfielder revealed after the game he was relieved to see it go in as he had temporarily lost sight in one eye after being hit in the face by the ball.
Ryan Gray tangled angrily with Chris Weller after the Horley man pulled his shirt and the referee gave both men a talking-to but took no action.
On the stroke of half-time Michael Harvey made it 3-1. Steve Gibson pumped a free-kick into the box and it fell to Harvey, who steered it back across Lockwood and inside the far post for his second goal in as many games. Having been barracked by the sizeable contingent of home support, the musician-cum-left-back clearly enjoyed the moment.
The second-half was fairly fragmented, with several half-chances but few of any note. Lockwood saved well from Dobinson and Gault threatened before being shepherded wide by Harvey. Cooper headed home after a Moore shot had hit the bar but only long after the whistle had gone for a free-kick.
Andy Sullivan and Paul Scott entered the fray as the Dons looked to create more opportunities. Finally, Moore bagged his first goal in a Dons shirt when he slotted home a corner on 79 minutes. Mark Gilbert then pulled one back for Horley with eight minutes remaining.
Scott hit the post with a curling effort and Moore blazed over but a fifth goal would have flattered the visiting Dons. The watching squad members enjoyed the sight of Scott being totally done by the keeper?s dragback as the match neared its conclusion, although his embarrassment was less than Steve Gibson?s, having been nutmegged horrifically in the first-half.
It was not in truth the Dons? most convincing performance, but kept the league campaign on track as thoughts turned once more to cup matters.