OSBORNE SEES RED FOR DONS
AFC WIMBLEDON boss Neal Ardley refused to criticise referee Brendan Malone after his side had to play with ten men for almost an hour in defeat to Luton Town.
Visiting centre-half Karleigh Osborne was dismissed for two bookings inside five minutes on 35 minutes, with the second caution branded ‘soft’ by Ardley.
And Luton eventually took full advantage late on through substitute Jack Marriott’s clinical double.
Ardley said:“I thought the first one was a booking. The second one, the only argument I might have is if we just send people off for two fouls, the first two fouls they make in the game, we’ll probably have eight men left on the pitch.
“Maybe a warning might have been in place as it looked soft and if you know someone’s had a booking, you sometimes see referees use common sense. But he’s done it and I’m not going to criticise.”
Hatters boss John Still agreed, adding:“The sending off, it is a sending off, if it was my player, I probably wouldn’t have any complaints about it, but the sendings off now are soft.
“The letter of the law says he’s got to go, but we came in at half time and I said they’re going to defend even deeper, and narrow, so we’ve got to try and use our width, don’t kick it down the middle, try and pass.
“We were definitely going to get Jack on, as we think Jack’s got a goal in him and he’s got one goalscorer’s goal and also one that was a very, very composed finish.”
When it was 11 v 11, the visitors looked the more likely to score as George Francomb shot straight at Mark Tyler and Adebayo Akinfenwa’s header looped over the top.
Jake Reeves then took aim from range, forcing Tyler to claw away from underneath his own bar, while the Luton stopper also made an excellent stop from Andy Barcham’s shot that threatened to sneak in.
Craig Mackail-Smith shanked well wide from a rare opening, before Osborne picked up two bookings in the 29th and 35th minute to see red as Dons went down to ten.
Paddy McCourt shot over the top, while in the second period Luton still struggled to break down a disciplined visiting defence.
Tyler was called upon to make a full-length stop from substitute Sean Rigg, while the Hatters’ best chance saw defender Scott Griffiths’ low drive touched behind by James Shea.
However, with 78 minutes gone, the Dons resistance was finally broken as Alex Lawless fired into a crowded area and Marriott was on hand to stab over the line.
Wimbledon almost drew level as Akinfenwa’s header drew a fine tipover from Tyler, but Luton then sealed the points in stoppage time. McCourt broke clear once more and fed Cameron McGeehan, but after he fluffed his lines, Marriott slammed home the loose ball with real aplomb to seal the victory.
JACK THE LAD: Jack Marriott celebrates breaking AFC Wimbledon’s resistence
WHO ME?: Wimbledon’s Karleigh Osborne sees red
STAR MAN PAUL ROBINS
ON AFC Wimbl