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    MATCH REPORT
Saturday 05 February 2005
Ryman League, Division One

Leatherhead    1 - 1    AFC Wimbledon
Steve Sargent (14)
  (41) Ryan Gray
 
 Tommy Dunn 1 Paul Smith 
 
( 38)  Jamie Beer 2 Mark Cooper 
 
 Dean Carpenter 3 Mark Jones 
 
( 56)  Iain Hendry 4 Chris Gell ( 38) 
 
 Mark Harper 5 Steve Butler 
 
(sub 68)  Adam Gray 6 Antony Howard (sub 20) 
 
( 44)  Steve Sargent 7 Gareth Graham 
 
( 53)  Tommy Moorhouse 8 Jon-Barrie Bates 
 
 Marc Charles-Smith 9 Richard Butler 
 
 Wes Harrison 10 Andrew Martin (sub 77) 
 
 Dave Stevens 11 Ryan Gray 
 
  ---  
 
(sub 68)  Dante Alighieri 12 Leon McDowall 
 
 Damian Panter 14 Jay Conroy (sub 20) 
 
 PaulMcKay 15 Steve Gibson 
 
 Paul Wetherall 16 Robert Ursell (sub 77) 
 
 Phil Parsons 17 Gavin Bolger 
 

Match report

The Dons ended a fiecely competitive game with a valuable point away to in-form Leatherhead.

The Tanners are another team flushed with Bryco Cup success, after they beat Ryman FA Cup heroes Yeading in midweek. They laid claim to being the strongest side in Ryman League Division One right now, with 8 wins in ther last ten games.

The Dons had Paul Smith back in goal for the injured Jake Cole and Gareth Graham back in the side at right midfield, taking over from Steve Gibson.

New signing Andrew Martin went straight into the starting line-up, with Leon MacDowall dropping to the bench.

The home side started well on a very cut-up pitch, with the Dons slow to settle. After just 6 minutes the Tanners took the lead. Steve Butler was penalised for a foul 20 yards out and Steve Sargent curled the resultant free kick over the wall and past Smith.

With little pattern to their play, the Dons were further disrupted on 20 minutes when Antony Howard, weakened from an earlier collision with team-mate Graham, had to be replaced by Jay Conroy. Wimbledon were fortunate not to go further behind on the half hour when Dave Stevens snatched at his shot when well-placed in the area.

As the game progressed, most activity was limited to tit-for-tat fouls from both sides, with Chris Gell and Leatherhead's Beer and Sargent all booked, the latter apparently for diving.

Finally the Dons sparked into life shortly before the break. On 41 minutes Richard Butler's cross found his new strike partner Martin in the area and as Martin was bundled over, referee Stephen Cook gave a penalty. Ryan Gray thumped the spot-kick home to bring the Dons level.

The second perios continued in equally niggly fashion, with the Tanners' Moorhouse and Hendry both cautioned for seeking retribution, as Gell and Jon-Barrie Bates ahd to fight for midfield supremacy. The best the Dons could offer in attack was an excellent through ball from Gray towards Gell, but despite a fine run, the midfield dynamo could not get a shot away.

Martin was coming more into the game too, despite the amusing comments offered about him by the travelling Dons faithfull. He went close to putting Wimbledon ahead when his header was deflected wide on 66 minutes.

Leatherhead hadn't offered much in the second half either up to this point, but substitute Dante Alighieri made Paul Smith sweat when he sent a looping header just over the bar. They should have re-taken the lead on 75 minutes when a looping free kick beat Smith, only for Conroy to clear bravely off the line under extreme pressure.

Richard Butler didn't stop running all day long, as ever, and went closest to a winner for the Dons, sending in a fizzing shot from 25 yards which Tanners keeper Tommy Dunn took two attempts to hold. As the game entered injury time, Butler had the ball at his feet in the area, but it was Steve not Richard who sent his effort high over the Leatherhead goal.

In the end, a 1-1 draw was a fair result for both sides, with the hard work and endeavour of the Dons cancelled out by a robust home side. Leatherhead now have to play all their playoff rivals in February, and good results in those games could end up helping the Dons' cause as Wimbledon remain well clear at the top of the table.

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