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    MATCH REPORT
Saturday 02 December 2006
Ryman League, Premier Division

AFC Wimbledon    0 - 0    Horsham
 
 Andy Little 1 Alan Mansfield 
 
 Simon Sweeney 2 Stuart Myall 
 
 Michael Haswell 3 Nigel Brake 
 
 Chris Gell 4 Eddie French 
 
 Steve Butler 5 Kevin Hemsley 
 
 Lee Kersey 6 Jacob Mingle 
 
 Jermaine Darlington 7 Lewis Taylor 
 
 Wes Daly 8 John Westcott 
 
 Scott Fitzgerald 9 Jamie Taylor 
 
(sub 72)  Paul Barnes 10 Carl Rook 
 
 Lewis Cook 11 Gary Charman 
 
  ---  
 
 Wayne Finnie 12 Tom Graves 
 
 Paul Smith 13  
 
(sub 72)  Stephen Goddard 14 Matt Gead 
 
 Casey Maclaren 15 Jose Goncalves 
 
 Byron Bubb 16  
 
  17 Rob Frankland 
 

Match report

Horsham are known as a gung-ho team, always likely to score a few but sometimes unable to keep them out at the other end. However, over the two games this season, 180 minutes of football between the two sides have only produced one goal - but two engrossing games of football.

Wimbledon came into this game with a heavy injury list. Darren Grieves was missing after picking up a knock to the stomach during the Eastleigh FA Trophy match and very late on the Dons lost Roscoe Dsane to a heavy cold. This meant the starting front pair were Paul Barnes, who was a long way from match-fit, and Scott Fitzgerald. Good news came in the form of Jermaine Darlington being available again after getting over the tight hamstring that kept him out of the midweek replay.

Jamie Taylor was expected to be playing his last game for the Hornets before making the switch to full-time football with Woking. The former Wimbledon man has always looked bright and lively when playing against the Dons but has never scored and yet again this was the case today.

Carl Rook could have done better with an early effort but didn?t make a great contact and it looped up and made for an easy catch for Andy Little. Wes Daly too could have done better when well placed but he scuffed the ball wide. At this stage the game was a pretty even affair with Horsham looking to get the ball into Taylor?s feet and his striker partner Carl Rook as always a handful in the air. Fitzgerald recorded the Dons? best chance of the half when he flicked a header from a Lewis Cook free kick over Alan Mansfield in the Horsham goal but the ball also cleared the crossbar. Daly continued his recent improved form and was getting the Dons to tick more in midfield. Horsham probably finished the half the brighter with Stuart Myall driving a fierce shot over the bar and Little saving well from Taylor.

If the first half was edged on points by Horsham the second half saw Wimbledon battering their opponents but unable to land a knock-out blow. As with many of the Dons? better performances this season one of the contributing factors seems to be the tempo and the home side started the second half at a pace. Barnes was first to look dangerous on breaking into the Horsham box, but his left-footed cross was easily gathered. Darlington was picking the ball up and running at the defence and more often than not the only way the back four could deal with him was to bring him down. With the visitors being forced further back the Dons were getting good possession around the edge of the box. Horsham?s only outlet was Taylor and despite him holding the ball well he was isolated which allowed Steve Butler and Lee Kersey to control him with relative ease.

Barnes drove over after a Chris Gell shot was blocked, and later volleyed at the keeper after Darlington had picked him our with a delightful 40-yard ball. Despite it being close to him, Mansfield did well to push the shot away and that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. The Dons hammered at the Horsham goal but Mansfield was equal to them. He saved a Daly drive low to his left then was brave at the feet of Fitzgerald when played through by Sweeney. The Horsham keeper?s last two saves were of the highest quality, diving at full length to his right to push a goal-bound Kersey header wide, and then with the last touch of the match pushing a vicious Gell drive away to ensure things finished all square.

The draw left Horsham top of the Ryman League Premier Division, and the Dons in ninth place, albeit with games in hand over the teams above them.

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