AFC Wimbledon were left stunned by a rampant Burton Albion side tonight as Terry Brown’s men conceded six for the first time since promotion to the Football League.
It was a nightmare from start to finish for the Dons as they were 3-0 down inside 14 minutes and it did not get much better as the hosts proved far superior on the night as they ran out 6-2 winners. Late goals from Byron Harrison and Pim Balkestein put a gloss on the scoreline, but the late flurry will not have kidded Terry Brown after a poor first-half that saw the Dons 4-0 down at half-time.
The visitors were put under pressure virtually straight from the start and they could barely get out of their own half in the opening 10 minutes.
Burton were able to cut through the Wimbledon defence seemingly at will and they came so close to taking the lead in the seventh minute when Billy Kee struck against a post. However, the home faithful did not have to wait too long for the opener as Cleveland Taylor struck first blood just a minute later, the pacy winger allowed to run and run, before he fired home emphatically from an acute angle. It got worse for the Dons in the 13th minute when Louis Harris gave away a free-kick 25 yards out and Kee struck a free-kick that deflected off the Wimbledon wall and into the bottom corner with Seb Brown left completely stranded. The visitors were left stunned when they conceded another goal barely 60 seconds later. Though Warren Cummings cleared a cross from the left, the ball fell nicely for Justin Richards and his powerful drive across the face of the goal was diverted in for number three by Jacques Maghoma.
Wimbledon struggled to respond with only a Mat Mitchel-King header over the bar threatening to turn it around. And it could have been 4-0 when Richards was put clean through by a long ball from Anthony O’Connor, but the striker was denied by Seb Brown. However, the Dons did concede a fourth in the 27th minute when Richards blasted home after Seb Brown had saved Taylor’s initial effort. At this stage, Burton were on course to exact revenge for last season’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium. The visitors simply had no answer to the pace on the flanks of Taylor and Maghoma, the pair creating the chances to have made the scoreline even worse for the visitors. Wimbledon did threaten to get one back on the stroke of half-time and, unsurprisingly, it was that man Jack Midson as he struck a goalbound effort that was deflected just over the crossbar. Luke Moore then produced a smart flick that put Midson behind the Burton defence, but his cross was just cleared by Damien McCory.
Terry Brown made a triple substitution at half-time with Jim Fenlon, Byron Harrison and Rashid Yussuff on for Warren Cummings, Louis Harris and Brendan Kiernan respectively.
The Dons produced their best passage of play five minutes into the second-half when good work down the left by Stacy Long set-up a shooting chance for Sammy Moore and his shot was well saved by Ross Atkins. However, with Wimbledon now pushing up with increasing numbers, they were caught on the break to devastating effect in the 53rd minute. Maghoma broke down the left and though he was initially stopped by MacDonald, he picked out Robbie Weir and he left Seb Brown with no chance with a great strike into the top corner. Wimbledon fashioned a rare chance when Long found Midson in the box, but the striker’s shot was too close to Atkins. It was 6-0 in the 68th minute when Chris Palmer’s corner found Zander Diamond completely unmarked and he headed home from close range.
Wimbledon did get one back in the 79th minute when substitute Harrison steered home after a smart pull back by Sammy Moore. And less than a minute later, the travelling Dons support had another goal to cheer when Balkestein produced a looping header that found the roof of the net.
Seb Brown, Warren Cummings (Jim Fenlon), Louis Harris (Byron Harrison), Pim Balkestein, Mat Mitchel-King, Stacy Long, Sammy Moore, Jack Midson, Luke Moore, Angus MacDonald, Brendan Kiernan (Rashid Yussuff).