Buoyant Dons Bury Bury

Wimbledon 3 v Bury 2

An Adebayo Akinfenwa brace – to take his recent haul to seven goals in six games – set Wimbledon on their way to victory as they beat table-topping Bury 3-2 on Saturday (11 October).

The big striker’s Wimbledon career had started impressively but without goals as he formed the fulcrum of the Dons attack after signing for the club this summer, but that changed when he netted a brace against Burton Albion in mid-September.

Since then he has been unable to stop scoring, with further goals coming against Morecambe, Newport and in the midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Milton Keynes, joining strike partner Matt Tubbs amongst the leading scorers in the division.

Bury arrived at Kingsmeadow with an impressive record but, once the Dons had weathered an initial flurry from the visitors during which Danny Mayor and Ryan Lowe shot wide, the match settled down into an end-to-end encounter that either side could have won.

Akinfenwa signalled his intent with a header that was straight into the arms of grateful Bury keeper Shwan Jalal, while at the other end James Shea was presented with a more testing save when he did well to deny Mayor at full stretch.

But it was the Dons who made the breakthrough in the 26th minute. Barry Fuller and George Francomb combined down the right for the latter to deliver a far-post where Akinfenwa, left in acres of space by his marker, still did well to guide home through the narrowest of gaps between post and goalkeeper to put the Dons 1-0 ahead.

Eleven minutes later the Dons were 2-0 ahead, but before then there was time for Akinfenwa to spurn another golden opportunity, heading wide when he really should have done better, and for Bury’s Ryan Lowe to strike the Wimbledon bar with a free-kick.

So Akinfenwa’s second provided a welcome cushion. Defender Adam Barrett, pushed forward for a long Shea free-kick, showed unaccustomed prowess for a centre-back to bamboozle two Bury players before spreading the ball out wide. From there, Sean Rigg delivered a far-post cross that Akinfenwa nodded home.

Wimbledon’s nerves were tested soon after the break as Bury started with a spring in their step and soon pulled a goal back. Mayor picked the ball up on the edge of the Wimbledon penalty area and cleverly created space by dragging the ball square before unleashing an effort that left Shea with no chance, pulling it back to 2-1.

But whereas earlier this season Wimbledon might have retreated into their shell, this time recently discovered confidence prompted them to push forward and try to restore the two-goal cushion.

And they got their reward in the 53rd minute with a well-worked corner routine. Francomb’s low ball in was dummied by Rigg and ran on to Tubbs, whose curving run culminated with a scuffed and deflected effort that was nevertheless sufficient to put the Dons 3-1 ahead.

Akinfenwa went close to grabbing a hat-trick, unleashing a fearsome volley that whistled narrowly over the bar with Jalal beaten, but it was following Bury’s introduction of former Dons favourite Chris Hussey that the next goal came.

Hussey embarked on a typical foraging run, cutting into the box along the goal line, but when Barry Fuller put in a challenge the wing-back fell theatrically to the floor, enough to convince the referee to award a spot kick that Lowe converted to make it 3-2.

Wimbledon withstood late Bury pressure even after losing Sammy Moore, pole axed by Clive Platt in a challenge that incredibly didn’t even bring a free-kick, with Andy Frampton coming on to sit in a deep-lying midfield role.

Delighted Dons boss Neal Ardley told the club’s official website: ‘It was always going to be difficult, but the boys defended the box well. We were up against a tough team who carry a lot of threat, and it was great that we were able to see it through.’

Having deposed Bury from the top of the table with this win, next week Wimbledon have the opportunity to do it to their replacements, Wycombe, as they travel to Adams Park on Saturday 18 October. They follow that up with a home game against Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday 21 October.

• Saturday’s match was preceded with a minute’s silence for Roy Law, Wimbledon’s 1963 FA Amateur Cup winning captain, who passed away the previous day. The defender represented the club from 1958–72 and made a record 644 appearances for the club. He remained a regular visitor to Kingsmeadow.

Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Bennett, Barrett, Smith, Francomb (Beere 78), Moore (Frampton 92), Bulman, Rigg, Akinfenwa, Tubbs (Azeez 78). Subs not used: Sainte-Luce, Kennedy, Nicholson, McDonnell.

Goalscorers: Akinfenwa 26, 37, Tubbs 53.

Booked: Bulman 60, Fuller 73, Moore 87.

Bury: Jalal, Cameron, Mills (Hussey 66), McNulty, Jones, Mayor, Soares, Etuhu, Adams (Platt 74), Lowe, Naridello (Rose 58). Subs not used: Tutte, Sedgwick, Lainton, Holmes.

Goalscorers: Mayor 49, Lowe 73 (pen).

Booked: Soares 82, Cameron 88.

Att: 4,268.

By Rob Crane

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October 12, 2014