The Dons were knocked out of the Capital One Cup at the first time of asking at the Lamex Stadium tonight.
There was little improvement on the defensive slackness that blighted Wimbledon's pre-season as the visitors conceded three times before the break.
Terry Brown picked an attacking 4-3-3 formation with Christian Jolley and Brendan Kiernan supporting Jack Midson in attack. However, the Dons struggled to get any attacking momentum going as Stevenage started the brighter of the two teams. Seb Brown was called into action for the first time in the 10th minute when he pushed away a 25-yard drive from James Dunne after Filipe Morais had opened up the space with a quick free-kick. It was no surprise when the hosts took the lead in the 13th minute with another attack down the right from the hosts catching out Wimbledon. Flying winger Luke Freeman again got behind the defence and delivered a cross that Pim Balkestein diverted into his own net under pressure from Marcus Haber. There was little response from the Dons to that setback and they were fortunate to survive when Haber took the ball around Seb Brown, but he took the ball too wide and could not find the target.
Wimbledon did steady the ship though midway through the first-half and they finally put together their first spell of decent football. That ended with their best chance so far when Christian Jolley’s cross was met by Mat Mitchel-King, but his header was just wide. The Dons were almost 2-0 down just before the half hour when Mitchel-King only half cleared a cross and the ball fell nicely for Morais, but his well struck shot just missed the far post. The visitors almost conjured up something out of nothing in the 32nd minute with what would have been a sweet moment for Stacy Long. The ex-Stevenage man struck a fierce volley after an Angus MacDonald effort was only half cleared, but Dunne got a vital block on his 25-yard effort.
The Dons gave themselves a mountain to climb in the 38th minute when they conceded a catastrophic goal. Warren Cummings put Sammy Moore in trouble and he sent back a testing back pass that Seb Brown completely missed and Dunne was left with a simple task to tap into the empty net.That finally stirred the visitors into action and they halved the deficit in fine style less than two minutes later when Luke Moore sent over a cross from the right that Kiernan met with a superb first time strike that beat Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day before he could even move. The Dons paid the price for sloppy defending again on the stroke of half-time when Marcus Haber was left completely unmarked from a free-kick and Mark Roberts got the final touch to make it 3-1.
It was all Stevenage again from the re-start as Wimbledon failed to gain a decent share of the possession. Terry Brown decided to change it on the hour by introducing Louis Harris to the midfield in place of Christian Jolley. Kiernan tried his best to make things happen on a night when it just never looked like happening for the Dons. The young attacker was Wimbledon’s most effective player in a match the saw the Dons struggle as an attacking force. It almost got worse for Wimbledon when the impressive Luke Freeman cut inside and unleashed a powerful drive that Seb Brown scrambled across and saved at his near post. Freeman also blazed over the crossbar from close range as Stevenage threatened to put the game beyond Wimbledon’s reach.
Byron Harrison was sent on with 10 minutes to play and he received a generous ovation from the supporters of the club he played for with such distinction. But he never had a chance to help turn it around for the visitors as Wimbledon bowed out of the League Cup at the first hurdle for the second successive season.