The Dons snatched a dramatic winner today with Rashid Yussuff’s injury-time strike earning a much-needed three points at Home Park.
It looked like Wimbledon would have to settle for a point in agonising fashion with a late Rhys Griffiths strike having cancelled out Byron Harrison’s fifth goal of the season.
However, Yussuff’s deflected shot deceived Plymouth goalkeeper Jake Cole to reward the 285 Wimbledon fans who made the marathon trip with a 2-1 win.
That was the least that the Dons deserved as it appeared they would be denied a much-needed win in the 89th minute when referee Keith Stroud adjudged that Yado Mambo had brought down Guy Madjo in the box. Though Seb Brown saved the subsequent penalty from Griffiths, the Plymouth striker slotted the rebound.
Simon Bassey made just one change from the side that started at Oxford on Tuesday night with Rashid Yussuff replacing Christian Jolley.
The Dons made a bright start and they were rewarded with the lead in the 14th minute. George Francomb, fresh from having his loan spell extended by a month on Thursday, was the instigator of the goal. The Norwich full-back sent over a teasing cross that Jack Midson failed to connect properly with, but Byron Harrison was in the right place at the back post to steer home his fifth goal of the season. With the home faithful growing increasingly restless after a slow start from their side, the Dons grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. Yussuff, in particular, caught the eye as he joined the attack at every opportunity and he almost doubled the advantage in the 26th minute with a powerful drive from 20-yards that Plymouth goalkeeper Jake Cole was at full stretch to stop.
Plymouth served notice of their threat though when Rhys Griffiths rose highest in the box to meet a Robbie Williams corner, but he headed over the crossbar. Paris Cowan-Hall then missed from close-range, though the flag was up for offside, and then Williams tried his luck from 25 yards with a free-kick, but Seb Brown was equal to it. However, it was all fairly comfortable at the back in the first-half for a Wimbledon side that had conceded 23 goals before this match, the worst defensive record in the Football League.
It was so nearly 2-0 on the stroke of half-time as the Dons created an excellent chance through a flowing move down the right side. It was that man Francomb at the heart of it again as he played a one-two with Jack Midson and powered down the right side, before picking out Harrison again at the far post, but this time Wimbledon’s top scorer headed wide. It was a case of so far, so good, for Wimbledon as they produced a first-half that was every bit as impressive as the 1-0 win at Wycombe in Simon Bassey’s first match in temporary charge.
The Dons finally came under some kind of pressure just before the hour after being barely troubled up until that point in the second-half. Knocking crosses in for Griffiths appeared to be Plymouth’s best chance of success and the striker headed over the crossbar from a Williams cross. It then needed the impressive Yado Mambo to produce a fine last-ditch block from Plymouth substitute Guy Madjo. However, the visitors were gifted a chance double their advantage when Durrell Berry made a hash of his clearance, but Midson dragged his shot wide. Wimbledon were so nearly the victims of a quick sucker punch though as they needed Seb Brown to pull off an excellent fingertip save to deny a curler from Conor Hourihane. Simon Bassey sent on Christian Jolley with 20 minutes to go with the aim of utilising his pace on the break in the closing stages with Harrison the man to make way for him after doing his job. Huw Johnson was also introduced for Luke Moore with eight minutes to go as the Dons looked to bolster up the midfield against a Plymouth side that were starting to turn the screw.
The Dons looked like edging home without too many concerns until Stroud pointed to the spot and Griffiths scored at the second attempt. However, Wimbledon were rewarded for going for the win when Yussuff’s drive took a wicked deflection to secure three points at the death.
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Sammy Moore, Byron Harrison (Christian Jolley), Jack Midson, Luke Moore (Huw Johnson), Jim Fenlon, Rashid Yussuff (Curtis Haynes-Brown), George Francomb, Steven Gregory, Will Antwi, Yado Mambo.