The Dons winning start to the season continued, making it seven out of seven this afternoon with a 3-0 victory at the Croydon Sports Arena. 19 year-old striker Richard Butler struck twice after coming off the bench, with Leon McDowall, who has been scoring for fun in the reserves, completing the trio of goals which condemned winless Croydon FC to another Saturday night in the relegation zone.
Wimbledon started the game depleted by suspensions and injuries, with Matt Everard, Gareth Graham and Michael Woolner missing and Richard Butler starting on the bench. Newly-signed midfielder Nick Roddis, formerly of Woking, Aldershot and Crawley, was alate addition to the squad having been registered on Saturday morning.
The game opened very quietly with little action in the first fifteen. A great run from Joe Sheerin promised much but delivered nothing. The high winds swirling around the stadium added to some below-par performances as both sides struggled to maintain possession.
Much has been said about the Dons? midfielder Robert Ursell, and today he played his part, but his two curling efforts in the first half hour caused Trams keeper John Odlum few problems.
The travelling Dons faithful were very unhappy with the officials in the first half, as Jamie Taylor appeared to be clattered by keeper Odlum when one-on-one, but the assistant saw nothing untoward and only a corner resulted. In claiming the ball from the resultant corner, Odlum clattered into Steve Butler, who was to take no further part in the game
Butler was replaced by Roddis, with Jon-Barrie Bates dropping into the back three.
The second half began with more urgency from Wimbledon, spurred on by a noisier crowd. Joe Sheerin's goal-bound header was palmed away by Odlum. Jamie Taylor continued to work hard but was eventually replaced by Richard Butler on 65 minutes.
The change seemed to re-energise the visitors, as Butler's hustle and bustle started to wear down the Trams defence. Butler hit the bar shortly after coming on, and his hard work was rewarded on 68 minutes when Joe Sheerin deflected Robert Ursell?s free-kick into his path.
The Trams continued to attempt a strike on the break and Dons keeper Danny Naisbitt had to be on his mettle when Gibson struck from one of their rare forays towards the Wimbledon goal.
Then on 81 minutes Ryan Gray?s hard work on the left paid dividends as Richard Butler dived to finish his teasing cross. Leon McDowall replaced Joe Sheerin six minutes before time and was well-placed to stroke the ball home after Roddis?s chip, and send the Dons faithful home happy.