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Saturday 05 March 2005
Ryman League, Division One

Molesey    0 - 1    AFC Wimbledon
    (66) Leon McDowall
 Luke Garrard 1 Jake Cole 
( 41)  Matt Ottley 2 Antony Howard 
 Phil Caughter 3 Mark Jones 
( 67)  Paul Gower 4 Chris Gell 
 John Murphy 5 Lewis Hamilton 
( 11)  Danny Thomas 6 Mark Cooper ( 55) (sub 77) 
 Russell Pym 7 Michael Woolner ( 63) 
 Sam Lampard 8 Jon-Barrie Bates ( 22) 
 Ron Gibbons 9 Richard Butler ( 62) 
(sub 72)  Steve Beeks 10 Andrew Martin (sub 63) 
(sub 77)  James Goodwin 11 Andy Frost (sub 46) 
 Jamie Rodney 12 Leon McDowall (sub 63) 
  13 Paul Smith 
(sub 77)  Phil Williams 14 Gavin Bolger (sub 77) 
  15 Martin Randall 
 Chris Wales 16 Robert Ursell (sub 46) 
 Clark Gooding 17  

Match report

The second-half substitutes did the damage as Leon McDowall helped Wimbledon take another big step towards the championship. But the centre-back crisis deepened still further as Mark Cooper limped off to join Steve Butler and Matt Everard on the injured list.

Dave Anderson stuck with a 4-4-2 formation, but Rob Ursell was dropped to the bench as Lewis Hamilton made his debut at right-back. Jake Cole returned in goal as QPR deemed him fit enough to continue his loan spell.

The game started in a tentative fashion, with the first Dons? effort on goal a shot over the bar from a newly shorn Jon-Barrie Bates, sporting a severe if aerodynamic haircut. A boggy pitch negated any attempts at flowing football as Wimbledon controlled the game without carving out many further chances.

Richard Butler had one header easily held by Garrard. Bates and Thomas were both booked for late challenges but there was little else to report in the opening period. Woolner won a corner as he was pushed over in the box, but Jones curled it into the side netting. Butler then headed wide after a good cross from Cooper.

Ottley became the third home player to target Frost, who one can only assume must have angered the home side on a previous visit. The full-back was booked for a late tackle.

Good work just before half-time by Butler and Martin on the break won the Dons another corner, but it came to nothing.

Rob Ursell replaced Frost at the interval. Butler set up Martin at the start of the second half, but he took one touch too many and sent a shot well over the bar. Richard Butler was certainly tripped in the Molesey area, but his slightly acrobatic tumble failed to impress the referee and he was booked for simulation for the second time in a week. Woolner then had his name taken for a late challenge.

Molesey grew in belief as the game wore on and Goodwin sent a shot over the bar, while Pym blazed a volley over the bar.

But the Dons? second substitution brought immediate dividends as the two replacements combined to devastating effect. Leon McDowall replaced Martin and his first touch was a deft header from close range to send an Ursell cross into the net for 1-0.

Gower then attempted to sever Butler?s legs without the aid of an anaesthetic and became the seventh player to be booked in an increasingly fractious game. But the drama was replaced by comedy as Molesey?s defence panicked as McDowall and Butler ran at them, with a series of increasingly hurried backpasses eventually resulting in a panicked clearance by Garrard. Gell set-up Ursell, but he was blocked.

But yet another injury headache resulted from the corner, as Mark Cooper ended up on the floor clutching his knee. The impressive centre back limped off in obvious discomfort. Micky Woolner dropped into the back four and Gavin Bolger came on in midfield. Molesey huffed and puffed, but could find no way through, while Garrard clawed a cross away from under his bar in injury time.

That was pretty much that as Wimbledon secured another three points to continue their relentless march to Ryman League glory. Dave Anderson spoke in Wednesday night?s programme about winning the war even if a battle is lost ? this was an afternoon where the battlers did the hard work and the win was their reward.

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