Harrow Borough 1 AFC Wimbledon 2
Dons crept back into the play-off positions for the first time since October with a reasonably comfortable victory at Earlsmead.
New signings Tony Battersby and Scott Curley both made debut starts, the former partnering Shane Smeltz up front and the latter alongside Wes Daly in the centre of a four man midfield.
Starting with the wind at their back, it took AFC Wimbledon only three minutes to get off the mark, Rob Ursell tricking his way forward on the left and laying the ball into Smeltz, twenty yard out with his back to goal. The New Zealand international dummied on the turn past the last defender and stroked the ball under the advancing Harrow keeper with his right foot from the ten yards. Ursell and Dwayne Plummer combined down the left from Plummer to drag the ball back to the penalty spot from the touchline, but Battersby could only sky the chance. With twenty minutes gone more magic from Smeltz should have doubled the score when he again beat the last defender, although pushed away from goal, hit the line then beat two men with one deft drop of the shoulder, and found himself on the edge of the six yard box, with only the keeper to beat, but elected to pass across goal, unfortunately straight at a Borough defender. Harrow replied with their one and only shot of note in the first half, a 30 yard effort that zipped wide of Andy Little's right-hand post. Wes Daly was taken out on the line but recovered to lay the ball into Smeltz, who again turned his man but shot over. With half an hour gone it seemed when, rather than if, and Battersby was the next to tee the ball up, latching onto a cleared free-kick and his attempt to chip the keeper cleared the bar. Seconds later Smeltz flicked on for Ursell, who controlled well and volleyed inches wide from the edge of the box. As half time approached the Dons were still well on top, good movement and passing created space for Daly to fire in two long range efforts that both went wide, then Ursell jinking his way for almost forty yards before his shot was blocked. As the half-time whistle blew it looked like plain sailing.
Indeed, as the game restarted, six minutes late, it looked like the vistors would pick up where they left off, Ursell finding his way to a rebound and crashing a shot at goal that took the keeper two attempts to hold. The danger signs were soon there though, when six minutes in Harrow whipped a free-kick in from the right that evaded everyone in the box when a touch would surely have resulted in a goal. Ursell and Smeltz then combined to set Battersby on goal, but stretching and under pressure his lob beat the keeper and the crossbar. Twenty minutes gone and Dean Brennan replaced Scott Curley, and almost immediately Ursell swept down the left, did his usual jig, then crossed from Smeltz to head wide. Three minutes later and the pressure finally paid off when Daly ran onto a sweet pass into the box before slotting the ball under the keeper from twelve yards. AFC Wimbledon were suckered just three minutes later, failing to clear the ball from a corner on the right and Victor Asombang bundling the ball over from six yards to half the lead. The home side spent the last twenty minutes pressing the ball forward at every opportunity, but Wayne Finnie and Antony Howard stood firm in the centre of defence, ably assisted by Luke Garrard and Dave Sargent in the full-back berths, and the final whistle saw all three points return to Kingsmeadow.