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Saturday 08 January 2005
Ryman League, Division One

Fleet Town    1 - 3    AFC Wimbledon
Josh Francois (87)
  (11) Richard Butler
(73) Robert Ursell
(74) Martin Randall
 Justin Gray 1 Paul Smith 
 Gary Connolly 2 Jay Conroy 
(sub 35)  Andy Darnton 3 Ryan Gray 
( 78)  Jermaine Hinds 4 Antony Howard 
 Steve Riley 5 Steve Butler 
 Tony Millerick 6 Jon-Barrie Bates 
 Phil Archbond 7 Robert Ursell 
 Jermaine Hamilton 8 Gareth Graham (sub 82) 
 David Ocquaye 9 Richard Butler (sub 30) 
 Josh Francois 10 Gavin Bolger 
 Tinoi Christie 11 Andy Frost (sub 66) 
 Luke Middleton 12 Julian Sills 
 Paul Smith 13 Dominique Jean-Zephirin 
(sub 35)  Bernard Asanye 14 Michael Woolner (sub 66) 
 Peter Murphy 15 Martin Randall (sub 30) 
 Chris Haddow 16 Steve Gibson (sub 82) 

Match report

The Dons defended solidly and took their chances clinically to be good value for another workmanlike victory against an improved Fleet side.

Dave Anderson juggled the players at his disposal into a 4-4-2 formation once more, with Martin Randall and Micky Woolner returning from injury to claim a place on the bench, alongside French goalkeeper Dominique Jean-Zephirin. With Chris Gell failing a fitness test, Steve Butler became the fourth player to don the captain?s armband in a week.

The Dons were made to work hard for their victory at Kingsmeadow against Fleet, and a home side invigorated by the players brought in since new manager Paul Holden?s arrival six weeks ago were keen to make life even more difficult for Wimbledon in the return fixture.

An early Gray cross just eluded the head of Richard Butler from the Dons? first chance, while Connolly blazed a free-kick over the bar for Fleet. But a goalkeeping error from Justin Gray allowed Richard Butler to fire Wimbledon ahead after just eleven minutes. He came out of his area to clear an Ursell through ball, but his kick was charged down by Butler, who calmly steered a shot past the covering defender from the left hand corner of the penalty box.

Ocquaye then drove wide from the edge of the Dons? area as Fleet looked for a quick response, before Ursell sent a long range effort looping high and wide for the visitors. Jay Conroy was forced to head behind when two Fleet players were free in the area. From the second corner, a header was hacked clear off the line. Josh Francois then sent Ocquaye clear on the overlap with a delightful pass, but the Fleet striker drove his shot wide.

Richard Butler limped off on the half-hour mark to be replaced by Martin Randall as the Dons? poor luck with injuries continued. Fleet captain Darnton limped off shortly afterwards to be replaced by Asanye. Paul Smith had to claim a couple more corners, while his opposite number flapped at an Ursell free-kick before juggling it into his hands.

As the second half got underway, Randall blazed one shot from distance over before winning a corner from a Gray block. It came to nothing as the referee awarded Fleet a freekick for pushing. Ursell was then muscled off the ball on the edge of the box as he threatened to run clear. Andy Frost found Gareth Graham free in the area, but his attempted chip was easily claimed by Gray. Three further Dons corners came to nothing as both sides failed to string together any concerted spells of possession.

Bolger broke into the area and had a shot well saved by Gray, while Ursell was crowded out after a good run and Gray was denied a clear corner by the referee from another breakaway. With 24 minutes remaining, Micky Woolner replaced Frost, slotting in at left-back as Gray pushed into midfield and Ursell joined Randall upfront.

And the wizard gave the Dons the cushion of a second goal on 73 minutes. With Archbond down injured after what looked like a foul on Jon-Barrie Bates, the Dons midfielder chipped the ball over the defence for Ursell to break away and fire past Gray.

The third followed just a minute later as his strike partner Randall matched the feat, racing onto a through ball and clinically powering a shot into the bottom corner past a despondent Gray.

Fleet responded with some crunching tackles and flying challenges. Archbond slid in late on Bates but nothing was given by the referee. Then Hinds slid in even later on Graham and the referee finally took out his notebook. Donnelly was then penalised for tripping Woolner twice in a matter of seconds.

Smith couldn?t hold an absolute howitzer of a free-kick from Fleet, but the home side couldn?t force the ball over the line in a chaotic goalmouth scramble as they searched for a first goal against the Dons.

They were more fortunate two minutes later, as the Dons defence appeared to switch off and Francois nipped in front of Smith to roll the ball into the net for 3-1. But the last few minutes were comfortable enough as Wimbledon closed out yet another away victory to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

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