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Saturday 03 December 2005
Ryman League, Premier Division

AFC Wimbledon    0 - 0    Leyton
( 33)  Andy Little 1 James Hasell 
 Wes Daly 2 Ian Bass 
(sub 89)  Dave Sargent 3 Vas Soteriou 
 Wayne Finnie 4 Scott Honeyball 
 Wes Beckles 5 Dean Chandler 
( 79)  Simon Sobihy 6 Scott Curley ( 29) (sub 84) 
( 89)  Barry Moore 7 Simon Preddie 
( 33) ( 33) ( 25)  Chris Gell 8 Mark Sophocleous 
 Richard Butler 9 Leli Bajada 
(sub 71)  Matt Fowler 10 Shaun Batt (sub 69) 
( 89)  Dwayne Plummer 11 Spencer Knight 
 Sonny Farr 12 Roy Parkyn 
 Josh Lennie 13 Dave Horgan 
(sub 71)  Shane Smeltz 14 Albano Correia (sub 69) 
(sub 89)  Michael Harvey 15 Rio Alderton 
 Jon Boswell 16 Des Thomas (sub 84) 

Match report

AFC Wimbledon went into the game with regular centre back pairing Steve Butler and Antony Howard both serving suspensions, forcing Dave Anderson to shuffle his pack once again. Wayne Finnie and Simon Sohiby both returned to the starting line-up, while on-loan youngster Wesley Beckles made his debut after impressing for the reserves earlier in the week. Dave Sargent started the game on the left after missing the Dartford replay through illness, while Shane Smeltz had to settle for a place on the bench having been ruled out of the previous game with a knee injury.

With the teams sizing each other up, and the Dons finding their shape and formation, neither side a managed a notable attempt on goal. But while both sides were finding it difficult to carve open their opposite defence, Wimbledon were having the best of the possession, and Barry Moore and Chris Gell were both making their presences felt in the heart of the battle. In fact, the first real incidence of note was Gell going in the book on 25 minutes for two mistimed - if relatively harmless - tackles within the space of a minute.

But the crowd had their mind on other things. Dons hero Matt Everard had the previous day announced his retirement from the game due to injury, and it was he who got the crowd excited as he took his seat in the stand to rapturous applause with half an hour gone.

The upturn in atmosphere seemed to momentarily inspire the Dons, with Plummer's edge of the box effort forcing an acrobatic save from keeper Hasell. Sohiby then connected with the resultant Moore corner kick, only to see his effort cleared.

But, just as the Dons were beginning to impose themselves, the game was to turn on its head with 33 minutes gone. Chris Gell slid in from the side to tackle Leyton forward Bajada - seemingly winning the ball but following through with his trailing leg. However, even the Leyton bench must have been surprised to see Gell get his marching orders and furious Dons players surrounded the man in black to protest.

With a man down, Wimbledon were forced to see out the half with Butler and Fowler playing wider, and with Plummer playing deeper - a move which served to nullify any Leyton impetus but removed any real cutting edge from the Dons attack.

As the second half kicked off, it was the 10-man Dons who took the game to the 11 men of Leyton. Plummer created space for himself on two occasions, but blazed high and wide both times when in good positions on the edge of the visitor's box.

For Leyton, petite left back Sorteriou proved to be his side's best attacker, with several runs up the pitch which carved open the stretched Dons midfield.

Shane Smeltz replaced the hard working but luckless Matt Fowler on 68 and proceeded to carve out several half chances, shooting wide and seeing his shot blocked, before playing Butler clean through only for the Dons Player of the Year to be hauled up for offside.

By now the Dons were dominating play again and looked the only side likely to break the deadlock. And the Dons' Kiwi international looked odds on to score in injury time, as he closed in on goal from short range. But it wasn't to be as Hasell once again rescued his side as he dived low to save at the near post.

Despite playing the last hour with 10 men, the Dons looked to be on top of things, and travel to Wingate & Finchley reflecting on two points lost, rather than one point gained.

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