CON ARTIST IS A DONS HERO
AFC Wimbledon striker David Connolly scored his first goal since returning to the club to secure a thrilling injury-time victory over promotion-chasing Luton Town – to the delight of boss Neal Ardley.
The 37-year-old rounded keeper Elliot Justham before firing into the empty net with the final kick as the Dons secured a dramatic three points.
And after signing Connolly following his contract termination at Portsmouth in January, Ardley said:“I’m delighted for him as he’s had a tough year of his footballing life, for him to be able to do that in the last minute, hopefully he’ll enjoy it.
“We thought ‘let’s be brave and go 4-3-3’, play three centre forwards and that’s what Dave does, he plays on shoulders and reads those types of moments.
“It was a game of two halves, I thought first half we were brilliant, I really did.
“But second half to be fair to John Still he’s got them up and at it. They’ve changed their shape a little bit and caused us all sorts of problems.
“It was a car crash of a second goal we gave them though because momentum had swung, but we made some substitutions and brought it back.”
It had looked like Luton would earn a point after coming back from 2-0 down at Kingsmeadow.
The hosts went close early on Alfie Potter’s effort was saved by Justham, making his league debut for Luton after Mark Tyler was ruled out by injury.
Striker Adebayo Akinfenwa should have put Dons ahead on 13 minutes, when completely unmarked he fired against the post, with the woodwork also denying Sean Rigg midway through the half.
The hosts had the lead on 27 minutes when Akinfenwa’s sidefooter was parried by Justham, with the rebound tucked away by Alfie Potter.
AFC then made it 2-0 as Dannie Bulman thundered into the top corner on 42 minutes, but the Hat- ters were back in it on the stroke of half-time, Jayden Stockley turning in when Luke Guttridge’s effort deflected against the post.
After the break, Stockley was denied a clear penalty after being fouled by Dave Winfield, with referee Frederick Graham somehow deeming it a dive.
However, Luton did level on 67 minutes when Guttridge slid West Ham loan striker Elliot Lee away to side-foot home on his debut.
But in a frantic finale, with both sides missing chances, and after Justham saved superbly from sub Adebayo Azeez, Connolly showed all his years of experience to keep a cool head and win it.
Luton boss John Still was critical of his side’s defending though, as he said:“First half I didn’t think our back people coped at all, which was disappointing as they played together at Mansfield.
“Second half, they coped fantastic, absolutely fantastic, but made a mistake at the end, one punt down the middle, and that’s not good enough.
“I don’t want to do these players a disservice, but it’s about being the best and for some of the boys who have come in, it was their opportunity to stay in the team.”
STAR MAN ADEBA
NWA AFC Wimbl
edon BULLET: Dannie Bulman scores AFC Wimbledon’s second goal