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Monday 25 August 2008
Blue Square Football Conference South

AFC Wimbledon    3 - 1    Bromley
Anthony Finn (44)
Jon Main (89)
Jon Main (90)
  (62) Danny Hockton
 Andy Little 1 Gareth Williams ( 89) 
 Luke Garrard 2 Steve Clark ( 78) 
(sub 23)  Michael Haswell 3 Adam Everitt 
(sub 82)  Kennedy Adjei 4 Adrian Toppin ( 69) 
 Ben Judge 5 David Obaze 
 Alan Inns 6 Rob Gilman 
 Samuel Hatton 7 Mark Corneille (sub 89) 
 Tom Davis 8 Luke I'Anson 
(sub 86)  Elliott Godfrey 9 Warren McBean ( 55) 
 Jon Main 10 Nic McDonnell (sub 55) 
 Anthony Finn 11 Anthony Joseph (sub 57) 
 Jason Goodliffe 12 Theo Davis (sub 89) 
 James Pullen 13  
(sub 82)  Jake Leberl 14 Karl Murray (sub 57) 
(sub 23)  Chris Hussey 15 Jack Haverson 
(sub 86)  Dean Mason 16 Liam Norval 
  17 Danny Hockton (sub 55) 

Match report

The Dons chalked up their fifth straight win of the season with what may look like a comfortable win against perennial rivals Bromley, but just as the scoreline 48 hours earlier didn't reflect their dominance of the game at Basingstoke, a two-goal winning margin for the home side was perhaps a little harsh on Mark Goldberg's side.

Terry Brown made just one change from Saturday's victorious team, with Michael Haswell claiming the number 3 shirt back from Chris Hussey, albeit only for a short period. Bromley stuck with the 11 that started the 5-1 rout of Eastleigh with prolific marksman Danny Hockton on the bench.

The early exchanges were tense, with neither side capitalising on their possession. A succession of Dons corners were all comfortably dealt with by Bromley keeper Williams, with Obaze and Gilman at the heart of most of their good defensive work. Elliot Godfrey's inswinging corners from the left were looking more and more like they'd lead to the Dons taking the lead but somehow a Williams glove or an Obaze foot dealt with the problems.

23 minutes in and a tussle on the touchline left both Bromley's Mark Careille and Haswell in separate heaps, with seemingly Careille, who like Hockton had scored twice against Eastleigh, coming off worse. It was something of a surprise when he managed to get to his feet as Haswell was carried off on a stretcher with a suspected broken ankle (later revealed to be the slightly less serious ligament damage).

Bromley were clearly the best side the Dons had faced this season with their slick passing superbly marshalled by former Staines skipper Adrian Toppin, reputedly a target of Terry Brown's after our play off victory. And it was a Toppin throughball that set up the game's first real chance though Nic McDonnell failed to take it. The Dons fans gave him a rousing reception when Chris Phillips read his name out before kick off, thanking him for his brief but crucial part in AFC Wimbledon's finest hour three months ago, but the home fans didn't expect to be equally thankful for his profligate finish, chesting the ball past Ben Judge only to slam his 12 yard shot over the bar.

The Dons had been quite ruthless in capitalising on other team's mistakes this season, and today was no different. 10 minutes after McDonnell's miss, they took the lead. A mistake by right back Steve Clark gave the ball to Tony Finn's whose quick feet shuffled him into position on the left hand side of the penalty area, 17 yards from goal, and the space allowed him time to curl a shot past Williams into the net via the far post.

Finn's timing was perfect as 90 seconds later the players were back in the dressing room.

Mark Goldberg must have said some rather inspiring words during the break as Bromley tore out of the "blocks" like Usain Bolt in a bottle rocket. Striker Warren McBean, another player linked with the Dons in the close season, seemed massively energised and Bromley's travelling contingent of 300 fans were in full song, making for an uncomfortable first few second half minutes.

Inevitably, the away side created chances, most notably for McDonnell but Andy Little plunged to his left to make a superb save from the striker's prod on 54 minutes - the last piece of meaningful action McDonnell saw as he seemed to pull a groin muscle in the act of shooting and was replaced by Danny Hockton. Just seven minutes later, Hockton equalised. McBean produced an extraordinary burst of speed to take him past Kennedy Adjei and Luke Garrard and then had the presence of mind to look up and slide an inch perfect pass to the unrushing Hockton to stab home from a yard out. Even the most vociferous of Dons fans would have to admit that the visitors deserved their equaliser.

How would the Dons react? A fair question, but in truth it was Bromley who reacted better to the goal, making more and more use of the Dons needlessly relinquished possession - the players who kept the ball so well during the first period were now looking like it was the last thing they wanted at their feet. Toppin, I'Anson, Careille and Joseph were far more comfortable in possession and it looked like just a matter of time before the away side scored again.

The Dons weren't without their chances either, with a further stream of corners going to waste and Jon Main looking below his best. Main missed two good chances in the space of five minutes and it really did look as though the Dons would drop their first points of the season.

However, with just one minute of the 90 left, Tom Davis played the ball of the match into Main's path and Williams could only bring him down 12 yards out for one of the most clear cut penalties. Within a minute, Williams had a yellow card against his name and the ball was in the back of his net as Main tucked the spot kick home with aplomb.

Was 2-1 enough? Not for Main, as two minutes later, with the game now in stoppage time, he converted a Finn pull back with a sweeping shot from the edge of the box to finally seal the points. The sight of Main hobbling off after kicking the bottom of Gilman's boot was the last thing AFCW fans wanted to see, but the two minutes that had gone before were almost dreamlike.

Four times in the last six games, the Dons had waited until the last few minutes to seal (some would stay steal) victory. Testament to the players'never say die attitude, greater levels of fitness, or a whole season's worth of fortune used up by August? Whatever the reasons, it's a whole lot better than losing.

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