MATCH REPORT: AFC Wimbledon 2 Stevenage 3
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage put their away day blues behind them after coming from a goal down to win on the road for the first time since March.
On that occasion Boro put Bradford City to the sword in front of more than 13,000 fans at Valley Parade with goals from Luke Freeman and Francois Zoko.
Both now operate at a higher level after leaving the club in the summer, but that should also be the case of the player who could turn out to be Graham Westley’s best acquisition in this transfer window – Charlie Lee.
For a man who operates so creatively in the opposition’s half, it is hard to imagine that at times during his career the man Boro brought in from Gillingham in July has been played at full-back.
Here, he worked just off new signing and fellow scorer Cameron Lancaster and his running from deep, his awareness to find team-mates’ runs and his ability to get into space between the defence and midfield caused the home side all sorts of problems all afternoon.
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Yet it was AFC Wimbledon who started the better of the two sides and they deservedly took the lead on 34 minutes.
Adebayo Akinfenwa and Matt Tubbs troubled Boro early on, and after the former had headed against the post and the latter had poked the ball wide when through on goal with one eye on the linesman, Tubbs put the ball in the back of the net when Kevin Sainte-Luce pulled the ball back for him to fire home.
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In the build up Sainte-Luce had robbed Darius Charles of the ball, but while Boro’s defenders tracked back to goal, Tubbs stood still to create the space from which he put the home side ahead.
And yet AFC Wimbledon failed to build upon their early dominance, and by half-time they were behind.
Boro’s first goal came from a free-kick – Simon Walton showing that when you keep it simple, and fire at goal, it can reap rewards as his effort was tipped on to the bar by James Shea and Dean Wells followed up to nod home.
Then came the moment Lancaster would have dreamt about the night before the game, but is also likely to leave Shea having nightmares tonight.
On the left of the pitch, the striker hooked the ball towards the box but it floated over Shea, six yards out, and embarrassingly for the keeper looped under the bar and into the net for 2-1.
The central midfield three of Lee, Walton and Andy Bond dominated the game in the second period, and when the third goal came it was just what Boro had deserved. Jerome Okimo claimed the assist as his perfect cross found Lee who headed in at the far post.
The game should have been over, but Sam Beasant still had to save from Tubbs before AFC substitute Adebayo Azeez smashed home a second for the hosts deep into injury time to make it a tense last minute until the full-time whistle blew.
AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Kennedy (Azeez 70), Moore, Barrett, Bennett, Rigg, Bulman, Akinfenwa, Tubbs, Sainte-Luce (Phillips 55), Subs: McDonnell, Nicholson, Pell, Harrison, Beere.
Stevenage: Beasant, Henry, Okimo, Charles, Wells, Walton, Bond, Lee (Deacon 79), Pett (Marriott 80), Whelpdale, Lancaster (Calcutt 69). Subs: Day, Ashton, Zola.
Ref: D Handley
Att: 3791 (280)