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Tuesday 24 February 2009
Blue Square Football Conference South

AFC Wimbledon    2 - 0    Worcester City
Alan Inns (53)
Jon Main (55)
(sub 65)  Andy Little 1 Daniel McDonnell 
 Andy Sambrook 2 Graham Ward 
( 62)  Chris Hussey 3 Shabir Khan ( 45) 
( 89)  Jake Leberl 4 Jon Richardson 
 Ben Judge 5 Oliver Barnes ( 82) 
(sub 70)  Alan Inns 6 Jordan Fitzpatrick ( 54) (sub 74) 
 Samuel Hatton 7 Matthew Dodd (sub 90) 
(sub 46)  Tom Davis 8 Gary Walker 
 Danny Kedwell 9 Craig Wilding 
 Jon Main 10 Marco Adaggio 
 Elliott Godfrey 11 Robert Davies 
 Michael Haswell 12 David Bampton (sub 74) ( 90) 
(sub 65)  James Pullen 13  
(sub 70)  Jason Goodliffe 14 Craig Brown 
(sub 46)  Anthony Finn 15 Carl Heeley 
 Luke Pigden 16 Lois Bridges (sub 90) 

Match report

A half-time change of formation was the catalyst for the Dons to extend their run to 13 wins and a draw from the last 14 league games.

Richard Dryden's Worcester City came into this game fifth in the form table and with the fourth best away record in the league. Having also beaten the Dons in the league back in October, they represented a stern test for Terry Brown and his charges.

Brown made three changes to the side that narrowly beat Thurrock on Saturday with Andy Little replacing James Pullen in goal, Jason Goodliffe, imperious in recent weeks, was rested to make way for Alan Inns and Anthony Finn's late arrival at the ground meaning that Elliott Godfrey kept hold of the number 11 shirt.

Wimbledon got off to a disappointing start. Worcester made all the early running, forced a string of corners and looked certain to score from any one of a succession of well-constructed attacks in what was a worrying opening 25 minutes for Brown. Wilding and Adaggio, both athletic and nimble, were hassling and harrying the Donsí defence and even Ben Judge, possibly the Donsí best player since the turn of the year (along with Goodliffe) seemed flappable. Fortunately the City strikers were unable to find a way past Little - the Dons keeper making one superlative save from Wilding and even getting a touch to Walker's close-range follow up.

The home side just couldn't get going, couldn't find the right pass and were forced to pump long balls into Jon Main and Danny Kedwell, the majority of which just succeeded in finding the heads of City defenders Barnes and Fitzpatrick. Chances were thin on the ground for the Dons while at the other end Wilding missed two more chances that, had they fallen to either of the Dons strikers, would more than likely have been taken. However, on 45 minutes the Dons were given the perfect opportunity to take the lead.

Kedwell's shot was deflected by the onrushing McConnell and as the ball trickled goalwards Main reacted quickest and as he was about to tap into an empty net from two yards he was brought crashing to the turf by Khan. A clear penalty? Check. An obvious red card? Well, amazingly not, the referee deciding that that wasn't a clear goal-scoring opportunity. As it turned out, he was right as Main's spot kick was parried by McConnell who got up quickly to deny Kedwell from the rebound. The Dons would not have deserved to go in at half time leading... And they didn't.

Within eight minutes of the restart, though, they had won the game. Tom Davis was withdrawn at half time and was replaced by Finn, who took his place on the left with Godfrey switching to the right. As if by magic, a formation appeared and the move leading to the corner from which Inns fired home after seeing his header saved was better than anything the Dons had managed in the first half. Just two minutes later it was 2-0. Finn wriggled past three City players, fed Kedwell, and the unselfish striker's pinpoint cross was touched home by Main for his 30th league goal of the season.

Worcester didn't know what had hit them and with better finishing, could have been 5-0 down just a quarter of an hour after emerging from the dressing room. First, Kedwell was denied by a great Barnes tackle after he rounded the keeper, then Main's slow-motion effort hit the post and trickled along the goal line, and finally another Kedwell effort was blocked by the shell-shocked Worcester defence when it seemed certain he would score.

With 20 minutes to go Wilding's decent effort on goal forced Little, now a spectator, into an easy save but the keeper seemed to clip the post and fall awkwardly. Inns' frantic waving to Mike Rayner suggested Little's injury was serious and the stretcher was called for. Pullen's rest lasted only 70 minutes as Little was carried off with a knee injury. Inns then went off himself just minutes later but that only brought Goodliffe into the fray and the Dons continued where they had left the half off - in control and largely untroubled.

Worcester were beaten and the phrase 'a game of two halves' really couldn't have been more appropriate - the change of formation at half-time altered the face of the game entirely. Terry Brown must have been wondering how the first half would have panned out if Finn had managed to get there on time to play in it...

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