Wimbledon slipped to a frustrating Good Friday defeat this afternoon after an 83rd minute winner from Rotherham substitute Sam Hoskins.
After a much-improved second-half, the Dons drew level through Luke Moore's third goal in as many games, but they again paid the price for missed opportunities when Hoskins struck.
Terry Brown made three changes to the Dons side that started at Accrington Stanley with the most notable being a chance for goalkeeper Jack Turner to make his League 2 debut in place of the rested Seb Brown. Winger Kieran Djilali was handed his first start since September 17 in place of Christian Jolley and Brett Johnson returned at centre-back for the injured Pim Balkestein. The visitors made the brighter start and Turner was called into action for the first time when he did well to hold a fierce drive from Dale Tonge. Rotherham came even closer when Lewis Grabban turned Gareth Gwillim down the right flank and his cross gave Ben Pringle a great chance, but he blazed over the crossbar from close range.
The Dons struggled to gain any attacking momentum during the first 20 minutes and the Millers fashioned another opportunity when Danny Schofield set-up Gareth Evans, but he made a hash of his finish. Only a long-range effort wide from Luke Moore threatened an opener for the hosts. However, the Dons sprang to life in the 29th minute with an attack that almost resulted in a superb team goal. Good hold-up play down the left from Djilali provided the spark and Wellard set-up a shooting chance for George Moncur, who curled an excellent 25-yard effort just wide of the far post.
But Wimbledon conceded a soft goal after what had been their best spell of the match when a speculative 25-yard effort from Pringle deceived Turner and trickled over the line to give Rotherham the lead in the 34th minute. The Dons had a great chance to equalise on the stroke of half-time when Djilali found Rashid Yussuff in the area, but he shot just over the crossbar after he initially made room for the shot with a smart turn.
Terry Brown made two changes at half-time with Christian Jolley replacing Djilali and Chris Bush coming in at centre-back for Johnson. Jolley’s pace did inject a bit of life into Wimbledon, but he blazed his first shooting opportunity over the crossbar.
Jolley continued to cause problems for the Rotherham defence and he almost created a chance to put the Dons level when his teasing cross was punched away by Rotherham goalkeeper Rhys Taylor just before Jack Midson could get there. Sam Hatton then headed over from the subsequent corner as Wimbledon finally worked up a head of steam. That resulted in the Dons forcing a first meaningful save of the match from Taylor in the 63rd minute when he reacted superbly to tip over a flying header from substitute Bush.
What followed that spell of Dons pressure was a crucial moment in the match. Turner made a fine point-blank save to deny Schofield and that paid immediate dividends for the Dons when Luke Moore volleyed home superbly from an acute angle.
Suddenly, Wimbledon were transformed as they forced Rotherham into a desperate rearguard action. Jolley continued to take the fight to Rotherham and produced another dangerous cross that Yussuff came so close to putting in the back of the net, before Jolley almost got his head to a Hatton cross. Wimbledon were so nearly caught with a sucker-punch though when Grabban showed a clean pair of heels to Ricky Wellard and beat Turner, but Moore came from nowhere to clear off the line.
In an all-action performance from Moore, he then got on the end of a Jolley deflection to earn a great chance, but he blazed over the crossbar when clean through. But all Wimbledon’s hard work went to waste in the 83rd minute when they allowed Rotherham substitute Hoskins space to run at them down the right and he needed no second invitation to go clean through and beat Turner from an acute angle. That goal stunned the Dons, but they did launch a desperate final push for a late equaliser with Midson denied by Taylor, who also turned away a strike from substitute Billy Knott.