AFC Wimbledon 1 Crawley 0: Late goal decides derby battle

Crawley Town V AFC Wimbledon (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150815-191641008
Crawley Town V AFC Wimbledon (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150815-191641008

Crawley Town fell to their fourth successive defeat, settled by an 83rd minute goal headed in by AFC Wimbledon’s Paul Robinson.

It was a sad way to finish after Reds had looked on course to earn a valuable away draw against the promotion-chasers.

Crawley made five changes to the side which lost 5-1 to Oxford last weekend.

Matt Harrold had knee surgery this week which will rule him out for the rest of the season and was replaced up front by Lee Barnard, and Gavin Tomlin was out with a hamstring injury.

Jon Ashton, Charles Dunne, Andy Bond, and Jimmy Smith came in, Smith making his first start since breaking his ankle in January.

Josh Yorwerth, Simon Walton and Frankie Sutherland were all on the bench.

AFC made three changes with former Reds’ loanee from Oldham Rhys Murphy playing up front with the huge Adebayo Akinfenwa and Connor Smith prefered to Jake Reeves (injured), Andy Barcham (bench) and Tom Elliott (ill).

Mark Yates surprisingly filled the gap up front left by both Harrold and Tomlin being out skipper Sonny Bradley moving up from his usual position in central defence and playing alongside Barnard as striker.

It was odd to see him playing so advanced for the whole game but he posed a good threat in in the air and went close to giving Rreds the lead by heading a Lyle Della-Verde corner on to the bar.

Reds faced some familiar faces up against them in the form of fans’ favourite Dannie Bulman, who enjoyed two long spells at Crawley over an eight-year period.

They also were up against striker Rhys Murphy, who was so successful for them while on loan from Oldham before Christmas, now loaned to AFC.

Bulman had the first chance of the game, breaking clear and shooting from just outside the area, the ball held by West Bromwich Albion loanee Jack Rose playing his second successive game in goal.

Crawley’s defence stood firm in a scrappy first half, not helped by a badly rutted pitch.

Reds were dealing well with everything which came their way, typified by a good clearance by Dunne from the feet of the menacing Murphy.

Reds came out of the blocks fastest at the start of the first half and it took some alert action by keeper Kelle Roos to keep out Barnard from close-range.

Della-Verde had a shot fro the Dons from 25 yards out which flew just wide.

The action switched to the other end as a long ball found Dons’ man-mountain Akinfenwa who headed narrowly over from a few yards out.

Reds went close to scoring on 70 minutes when Della-Verde’s free-kick was nodded into the area by Bond and Joe McNerney’s back-header flew over the bar.

Wimbledon took the lead with seven minutes to go when Paul Robinson rose to head in a cross from the right to delight the sizeable home support to send home the 403 excellent Reds fans disappointed.

REDS: Rose, Oyebanjo, Ashton, McNerney, Bradley, Dunne; Edwards, J.Smith (Deacon 90), Bond, Della-Verde (Young 83; Barnard (Fenelon 78).

Unused subs: Preston, Walton, Sutherland, Yorwerth

AFC Wimbledon: Roos, Fuller, Robinson, Charles, Meades (Kennedy 62), C.Smith (Rigg 74), Bulman, Akinfenwa (Azeez 66), Murphy, Taylor, Francomb

Unused subs: Shea, Barcham, Sweeney, Gallagher

ATTENDANCE: 4,356 (403 away)

REFEEE: Lee Swabey

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