AFC Wimbledon 2 Stevenage 2 (AFC win 4-3 on pens)
Boro knocked out of Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on penalties
AFC Wimbledon 2 Stevenage 2
AFC Wimbledon win 4-3 on penalties
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Second Round
STEVENAGE were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on penalties as teenage goalkeeper Jack Turner saved Darius Charles’ and Lawrie Wilson’s spot kicks.
Wimbledon won 4-3 on penalties after a sensational Mark Roberts volley at the end of the normal 90 minutes had sent the game to spot kicks, but although Wilson had earlier scored a freak goal at The Tempest End he could only watch on as his, and Boro’s fifth, penalty was saved by Turner.
It was a cruel blow – this way of ending a game always is for the losers – but both manager – Graham Westley – and player – Wilson – said afterwards that it was a draw, and an end to their run of three straight defeats.
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In reality it was a defeat, but mentally it is important for the team to build confidence ahead of this weekend’s trip to Huddersfield, and from that point of view they must salvage what they can and, as they say, after 90 minutes it was two goals apiece.
Boro made four changes to the side which lost to Scunthorpe United on Saturday with Michael Bostwick and Robin Shroot coming into midfield, Alan Julian replacing Chris Day in goal and Chris Beardsley starting up front in place of Ben May.
Wilson gave them the lead on seven minutes in rather fortuitous circumstances when a ball played into the Wimbledon box, for Wilson, was cleared by defender Brett Johnson onto Wilson’s leg before it pinged straight into the goal from 16 yards. Turner, who had come out to collect, was left in limbo with his head in his hands.
The goalkeeper’s hands were soon in action, however, as he palmed Craig Reid’s 25-yarder out for a corner, and moments later the same player saw another effort blocked as Boro looked to take advantage of their fortunate start.
Sammy Hatton shot wide just before the half-hour mark while Boro were awarded, and wasted, many a set piece. And when the crosses and corners weren’t going long and out of play they were being cleared easily with Wimbledon quite often counter-attacking from the knock downs.
At the other end the hosts had one meaningful set piece and showed Boro how it should be done, Hatton forcing a splendid save from Julian.
Beardsley headed over from a Wilson cross with 10 minutes to go in the first half, and perhaps could have done better from six yards, but the score remained 1-0 going into the break.
Both teams made changes at the break with Max Porter and Ricky Wellard coming on for Callum McNaughton and Sammy Moore while Darius Charles replaced Robin Shroot for Boro, and it was Porter who should have struck a minute after the break.
Hatton sent in a dipping cross from the right, but despite being alone six yards out Porter mistimed his first-time effort and the ball bounced comfortably to the Stevenage goalkeeper.
While Wimbledon’s changes had a positive effect Boro’s had the opposite as Charles’ uncharacteristically clumsy defending saw him bring down Ryan Jackson inside the Boro box and Hatton stepped up to equalise from the spot.
Stevenage found themselves under pressure as Wimbledon looked for a second and it did not take the home side long to get it. Rashid Yussuff was the scorer after finding himself alone in the area after good work down the right by former Boro man Jack Midson.
Now it was the turn of the home side to pile on the pressure and Charles Ademeno shot wide after some fancy ball juggling near Roberts in the Boro area.
Beardsley soon found himself taken off, along with Laird, as Josh Walker and Byron Harrison joined the fray, but it was two of the starting XI who combined for the next chance with Reid pulling the ball back for Wilson only for the wide man to get his foot under the ball and spoon over a glorious chance to level matters.
Julian kept the score down to 2-1 when he saved from Yussuff with a minute to go, and 30 seconds later, after Roberts had slipped to allow Jackson in on the right, the goalkeeper was forced to defend his goal again, pushing the winger’s effort out for a corner.
Roberts made up for that mistake with a stunning volley as the game entered its 90th minute. Mousinho and Byron Harrison combined well down the left before the former crossed for Roberts to hit a sensational volley into the top corner from 16 yards to send the game to penalties.
Two saves from Turner – Charles and Wilson – were enough to send AFC through, while for Stevenage Julian saved Yussuff’s effort.
Next up for Boro is Huddersfield, and the need to get back on track to end the mini slump.
AFC Wimbledon (4-3-3): Turner, Hatton, Bush, Johnson, McNaughton (Porter 46), Minshull, Yussuff, Moore (Wellard 46), Mulley, Jackson, Midson (Ademeno 59). Subs not used: Brown, Kiernan
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day, Henry, Laird (Walker 68), Ashton, Roberts, Wilson, Mousinho, Bostwick, Shroot (Charles 46), Reid, Beardsley (Harrison 68)