Reeves' Wonder Strike Keeps Dons In Play-Off Hunt

Wimbledon 2 v York City 1

Jake Reeves scored a spectacular injury-time winner to keep Wimbledon’s play-off dreams alive as they came from behind to beat York City 2-1 on Saturday (19 March).

The midfielder struck in the 93rd minute, chesting down the ball outside the area before unleashing a curling, dipping half-volley that whizzed into the top left corner of the net with York keeper Scott Flinders clawing thin air.

The dramatic moment gave the Dons a win that was no less than the Dons deserved as they dominated this match only to find Flinders in fine form to keep the relegation scrappers in contention.

‘The ball came out perfectly onto my chest and I thought, “Let’s hit it”,’ Reeves told the club’s website. ‘You never know what’s going to happen and I was aiming for that back corner.’

Wimbledon took the game to their struggling visitors right from the off, with on-loan striker Rhys Murphy turning on the edge of the area to test Flinders following a long Barry Fuller throw and Murphy then being set up by Lyle Taylor only for his effort to be blocked.

Taylor had a golden opportunity in the 18th minute as a wayward York pass on the halfway line released him one-on-one with Flinders but the goalkeeper charged out to reduce Taylor’s options and then stood up well to block his effort at the expense of a corner.

Reeves’ clever pass then found Taylor on the edge of the area, only for his effort to be another drawn into Flinders’ gloves. Then Dannie Bulman’s hustling won possession on the edge of the York area, released Fuller and, after Taylor’s effort was blocked, Murphy’s looping header was again seized on by Flinders.

The visitors also survived a strong penalty shout as former Wimbledon loanee Dave Winfield went to ground and blocked Taylor’s cross with his arm.

So it was completely against the run of play – and typical of Wimbledon’s form against lower-placed teams – when the visitors took the lead through a rare attack. A long ball fell to Vadaine Oliver on the edge of the area and, when his effort was blocked, it rebounded to Russell Penn whose effort lacked pace but was perfectly placed to beat Kelle Roos a little over five minutes before half-time.

After the break the Dons struggled to make much headway and boss Neal Ardley was on the verge of a double attacking substitution when his team got the slice of luck they deserved. Fuller’s header released Bulman down the right and his low cross was deflected in by Winfield’s leg, with Murphy pressurising him into the mistake.

The goal didn’t deter Wimbledon from immediately switching to three up front, and the introduction of Tom Elliott’s aerial threat started tipping the balance of play back in Wimbledon’s favour.

Yet still Flinders was in outstanding form, thwarting an Elliott header and watching as substitute Ade Azeez blasted into the side netting after using his strength to win possession.

York were sitting deeper and deeper, giving Bulman a rare licence to roam just behind the front three, and he almost got the goal his play deserved when he unleashed a drive from the edge of the area, only for that man Flinders to again get his body behind the ball.

But Flinders saved the best until – almost – last as, with the clock ticking down, he somehow got down to palm away Fuller’s header from a Francomb corner when it appeared destined to cross the line.

When the York keeper was finally beaten deep into injury time by that Reeves wonder goal, it was no less than the Dons deserved: the statistics showed the Dons had had 14 shots compared with the visitors’ four, and 12 corners to their one.

The Dons face a busy Easter weekend as they travel to Hartlepool United on Good Friday before entertaining Portsmouth on Easter Monday, a game that kicks off at 12:45 for TV coverage.

Wimbledon: Roos, Fuller, Robinson, Charles, Meades, Francomb, Reeves, Bulman, Barcham (Elliott 70), Murphy (Azeez 81), Taylor. Subs not used: Shea, Kennedy, Rigg, Fitzpatrick, Gallagher.

Goalscorers: Winfield (o.g.) 68, Reeves (93).

Booked: Barcham 52.

York City: Flinders, Satka, Winfield, Boyle, Ilesanmi, Summerfield, Penn, Bennett, Alessandra, Galbraith (Fewster 86), Oliver. Subs not used: Berrett, Carson, Riordan, Dixon, Ingham, McEvoy.

Goalscorer: Penn 38.

Booked: Satka 55.

Att: 3,883.

By Rob Crane

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March 21, 2016