Mansfield 2 v Wimbledon 1
A late goal condemned Wimbledon to defeat as they lost 2-1 at Mansfield Town last Tuesday (17 March) to leave them still seeking their first away win of 2015.
The Dons started with Ross Worner in goal for the first time this season, boss Neal Ardley living up to his pledge to take rookie keeper Joe McDonnell out of the firing line after just a few games, while Sammy Moore replaced the suspended Dannie Bulman.
The home side pressed forward from the off and were unlucky not to take the lead after just five minutes when Billy Kee broke through the defence only to see his shot hit the bar before heading the rebound over.
But Wimbledon also fashioned chances of their own, most notably when Dave Winfield – playing his last game before being recalled from his loan period by York – forcing a tidy save from Stags keeper Lenny Pidgeley.
But the home side took the lead ten minutes into the second period. A simple free-kick played into the box was only partially cleared and fell kindly for Lee Beevers on the edge of the box, and his deflected shot through a crowd of players nestled into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
But Wimbledon were back on equal terms with little over 20 minutes remaining when Ryan Tafazolli handled a bouncing ball in the penalty area. With Bayo Akinfenwa having missed his last two spot kicks, responsibility was handed to substitute George Francomb and he made no mistake to level things up.
Now it was Wimbledon who seemed most likely to score, with substitute Ade Azeez twice going close, first forcing a save from Pidgeley and then firing over from a narrow angle.
But in the cruellest of fashions it was the home side who got the goal as Winfield skied an attempted clearance and Rakish Bingham capitalised, firing beyond Worner with just three minutes left on the clock.
‘I can’t fault the effort and competitive edge we showed,’ Ardley told BBC London 94.9 afterwards. ‘All I can fault is the little bit of know-how and poor finishing, because we should have won.
‘We lost the game because we missed three one-on-ones at 1-1 and should really have been out of sight.’
Mansfield: Pidgeley, Beevers, Tafazolli, Riley, Elder, Lambe, Clements, McGuire, Brown (Monakana 75), Oliver (Rhead 75), Kee (Bingham 76). Subs not used: Studer, Sutton, Ravenhill, Heslop.
Goalscorers: Beevers 56, Bingham 87.
Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Winfield, Oshilaja, Smith, Kennedy (Francomb 31), Moore, Reeves, Rigg (Azeez 68), Tanner (Potter 74), Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Phillips, McDonnell, Fitzpatrick, Gallagher.
Goalscorer: Francomb 69 (pen).