THE Dons made it 16 out of 16 in a proverbial game of two halves. Cobham set their stall out to defend and an impressively organised performance kept the scoresheet blank at half-time.
A 5-4-1 formation stifled the Wimbledon width and closed down attacks at source in midfield. Longley and Merkett led the way with some strong challenges. Following a volley high and wide by Jamie Angell, first-half chances were few and far between. Matt Everard headed over from a Ryan Gray free-kick and Kevin Cooper broke free but dallied and saw his shot blocked. Just before half-time the best chance of the half fell to Cooper, but his low shot from close range after good work by Sidwell was blocked. Steve Gibson dispossessed Ben Newby and fed Joe Sheerin after a storming run, but the skipper lost his footing at the crucial moment.
In the second-half, the Dons kept their composure and continue to keep plugging away. Cobham flashed a free header just wide of the goal, which served as a wake-up call. Almost immediately Cooper pounced to power home an Everard knockdown from a Michael Harvey free-kick on 53 minutes.
Tooley replaced Mesyer upfront for the home side, but they kept their defensive 5-4-1 formation. And as they began to tire, Terry Eames sent Paul Scott on to exploit the growing spaces in front of their defence.
A succession of corners brought the cushion of a second goal. As keeper Brawley came out into no-man's land, Everard looped a header home from 15 yards out. Cobham's heads appeared to drop and there was a spring in the step of the Dons attackers. Harvey and Scott both seemed anxious to respectively open and add to their Dons accounts.
On 72 minutes, Sheerin beat Reid, took the ball wide and laid it back to Frankum, who flicked it to Ryan Gray. From his cross Paul Scott attempted an audacious over-head kick but succeeded only in diverting the ball back to Sheerin. His cute ball gave Sidwell an easy chance and he nodded home at the back post.
Had the game been a fight, the referee would called a halt at that point. Instead Michael Harvey marauded forward, appeared to be granted the freedom of Sutton in the region of the penalty box and attempted to fire home his maiden goal. But his mis-cued effort sliced across the face and Sheerin tapped almost apologetically home.
Lee Carroll has now played 450 minutes of football for the Dons without picking the ball out of the back of the net, surely a record from debut? He appears to lead a charmed life. The ball fell kindly for Tooley as Angell slipped but he was only able to dribble a low shot which Carroll gathered easily to his left.
Thereafter the game petered to a satisfactory conclusion. Some sections of the crowd appeared unhappy with the performance but in all honesty credit must be given to Cobham. Their two lines held firm in the first-half and Wimbledon had the composure and guile to wait for them to tire before pressing home their advantage.