DONS PICK UP A RARE HOME WIN

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Ross Marti­novic AFC Wim­ble­don (4-4-2): Shea 6, Fuller 7, Robin­son 6, Os­borne 6, Meades 7, Fran­combe 6, Beere 5, Reeves 6, Bar­cham 7 (Rigg 76 6), Ak­in­fenwa 5 (Tay­lor 67 9), El­liott 7 (Azeez 67 8). Subs not used: McDon­nell, Nightin­gale, Fitz­patrick, Gal

AFC WIM­BLE­DON man­ager Neal Ard­ley was re­lieved af­ter Ade­bayo Azeez’s late header gave the Dons vic­tory over Ex­eter City and a first win at Kingsmeadow since March.

Wim­ble­don took the lead through Ge­orge Fran­comb, who hooked the ball past Bobby Ole­jnik from Jon Meades’ throw-in.

Ryan Har­ley drew the visi­tors level five min­utes later as he showed great com­po­sure to stroke home from 15 yards.

Ard­ley’s side dom­i­nated a turgid sec­ond pe­riod but had to wait un­til the 82nd minute for Lyle Tay­lor to cross for Azeez’s win­ner.

“I thought we started brightly but lost our way a bit and Ex­eter are the sort of team that can pick holes in you when you’re stretched,” said Ard­ley.

“They’re al­ways tricky op­po­nents and I don’t en­joy play­ing against them be­cause they cause prob­lems.

“We needed to up the tempo in the sec­ond-half and we didn’t. We couldn’t press high enough up the pitch, so we brought fresh pace and energy on and it made a dif­fer­ence.

“De­spite play­ing av­er­age, we found a way to win the game. When peo­ple read the pa­per, they don’t see who played well and who didn’t – they see that Wim­ble­don won and that’s the most im­por­tant thing.”

The best chances of the open­ing quar­ter fell to the hosts, with Andy Bar­cham and Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa go­ing close.

The Dons went in front when Ex­eter’s Matt Oak­ley in­ad­ver­tently flicked Meades’ long throw into the path of Fran­comb, who ad­justed his body sharply to score on the halfvol­ley.

But City soon re­stored par­ity as Har­ley col­lected Will Hoskins’ deft touch from Oak­ley’s right-wing cross, tak­ing the ball un­der con­trol be­fore calmly slid­ing the ball left-footed be­yond James Shea.

The visi­tors thought they had their sec­ond when Barry Fuller glanced another Oak­ley cen­tre into his own net, only for the ref­eree to pe­nalise Troy Brown for a foul.

Wim­ble­don mo­nop­o­lised pos­ses­sion in the sec­ond pe­riod, but it wasn’t un­til Ard­ley in­tro­duced Azeez and Tay­lor that the home side be­gan to threaten.

And it was the two sub­sti­tutes that com­bined for the decisive goal, with Tay­lor out­muscling Jor­dan Till­son on the right be­fore whip­ping in a vi­cious cross to the on­rush­ing Azeez.

Ex­eter man­ager Paul Tisdale ad­mit­ted that the Gre­cians’ mid­week Cap­i­tal One Cup de­feat at Sun­der­land had drained his team, but was nonethe­less left an­gered by their dis­play and that of ref­eree Dar­ren Eng­land.

Tisdale said: “We’re giv­ing two con­ces­sions to­day. One is that we had a long week and the op­po­si­tion haven’t.

“I don’t think the ref­eree helped us too much, but I thought we were way be­low par to­day and I’m clutch­ing at straws with those ex­cuses.

“That cer­tainly wasn’t the per­for­mance we needed.”

PIC­TURES: Pro Sport Im­ages

KEY MO­MENT: Ade­bayo Azeez dives in to head Wim­ble­don’s late win­ner against the Gre­cians

STARTER: Ge­orge Fran­comb opens the scor­ing for Dons

STAR MAN LYLE TAY­LOR AFC Wimbl

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