Wimbledon produced an impressive attacking performance at Bootham Crescent this afternoon to secure a first away league win since 19 August.
Goals from Jake Goodman, Sean Rigg and Matt Tubbs earned a 3-2 victory that built on last Sunday’s FA Cup victory at Adams Park. Winger George Francomb’s display was particularly praiseworthy as he claimed three assists on the day.
With the Dons having performed so well last time out at Wycombe Wanderers, Neal Ardley decided to select an unchanged starting 11. Of course, Wimbledon emerged with credit from their last visit to Bootham Crescent with a battling draw in the FA Cup that ultimately led to victory in the replay. However, since those cup clashes York had produced a positive response with four points out of six from their last two games.
Wimbledon produced an encouraging start that suggested they could cause York problems. The Dons threatened when George Francomb picked out Callum Kennedy in space and his cross found Bayo Akinfenwa, but he was unable to get enough contact on his header to trouble York goalkeeper Alex Cisak.
The first quarter suggested it was going to be a similar contest to the last meeting between these two sides at Bootham Crescent with few chances created. However, Jake Goodman changed all that by scoring his first Wimbledon goal in fine style. The 21-year-old centre-back rose highest in the box to meet a George Francomb corner and his powerful header found the bottom corner with Cisak well beaten. It was just the tonic Wimbledon needed as they sought to get back to winning ways in the league.
York produced a good response to going behind and Dons goalkeeper James Shea was required to make a decent save to deny Russell Penn. However, the best was still to come from Wimbledon’s impressive goalkeeper. Shea reacted superbly moments later to save a fierce shot from Wes Fletcher and Barry Fuller did well to stop Jake Hyde from converting the rebound.
Wimbledon continued to cause problems and a Dannie Bulman drive was almost deflected in by Matt Tubbs, before Akinfenwa headed a cross from Francomb wide. Goodman produced a commanding performance for one so young in the first-half with his aerial ability proving particularly useful. However, Lewis Montrose did have a good chance to equalise but he headed wide. The Dons could be very satisfied with the first-half as they were resolute in defence and offered plenty of threat going forward.
With York struggling for confidence in front of their own fans, one felt that a second Dons goal could potentially seal the three points with the hosts having failed to win at home all season. However, York drew level in the 55th minute with a goal that was poor from a Wimbledon perspective. The Dons switched off from a short corner routine and Diego De Girolama struck a fierce shot that left Shea with no chance.
It threatened to be a completely different game now with York’s fans really getting behind their side and Fletcher could have lifted them even more minutes after the goal, but his fierce drive flashed just wide. However, Wimbledon responded superbly to the challenge and grabbed the initiative once again in the 62nd minute. Akinfenwa was the instigator as he held up the ball brilliantly near the touchline before finding Francomb and his lovely ball across the face of goal was steered in by Sean Rigg. Less than two minutes later it was 3-1 with Francomb claiming another assist as his cross looped over Cisak and Matt Tubbs was in the right place to finish.
York continued to show spirit though and their tails were up again when Stephane Zubar scrambled the ball home from close range to reduce the arrears with 15 minutes left. Following Dannie Bulman’s earlier withdrawal for Harry Pell, Neal Ardley made two more changes with 10 minutes remaining. Wingers Francomb and Rigg both came off with Ade Azeez and Frankie Sutherland entering the fray.
Wimbledon were forced to defend in the latter stages against a spirited York side, but Shea was only forced into action one more time as he denied Jake Hyde and the Dons held on for a valuable victory.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Dannie Bulman (Harry Pell), George Francomb (Frankie Sutherland), Sammy Moore, Matt Tubbs, Bayo Akinfenewa, Sean Rigg (Ade Azeez), Callum Kennedy, Adam Barrett, Jake Goodman.