Andy Frampton’s first goal for the Dons sealed a fourth successive home win this season for Wimbledon.
Despite wearing protective headgear after having stitches two weeks ago, Frampton powered home Wimbledon’s third in a 3-1 win against 10-man Burton.
Though Wimbledon had one man more for 72 minutes after Marcus Holness was sent-off, it was a day of so many positives for Wimbledon. Michael Smith added to his growing reputation with his fifth of the campaign and his strike partner Midson scored his first of the season. However, Chris Arthur’s introduction arguably changed the match as he was instrumental in Wimbledon’s improved performance in the second-half and he could be a real asset for the Dons this season.
Neal Ardley made just two changes from the side that started at Chesterfield with Midson and Callum Kennedy both returning in place of George Porter and Jim Fenlon respectively.
The Wimbledon manager had spoken on Thursday about protecting Fenlon by resting him on occasions and he chose this match to hand Kennedy his first start since the thrilling 3-2 win against Scunthorpe United. It was certainly an attacking formation for Wimbledon with Midson joining Smith at the head of the attack.
There had been no goalmouth incident until the match was sparked into life for all the wrong reasons in the 18th minute. Burton midfielder Marcus Holness left referee Michael Russell with little option but to send him off after he raised his hands to Sammy Moore. That offered Wimbledon an opportunity to really press home the advantage, but the incident had an adverse effect on the Dons and they found themselves 1-0 down just eight minutes later. It was a soft goal for Wimbledon to concede as Adam McGurk was left completely unmarked from Lee Bell’s clever corner and the shot took a deflection and went in via a post.
Though Wimbledon had struggled to gain any attacking momentum in the first-half, they had two great chances to equalise in close succession. The first came when Kennedy put Midson free down the left and his cross was headed just over by Luke Moore. Then Harry Pell’s 20-yard shot was too hot to handle for Burton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Smith dragged the rebound just wide. Wimbledon started to turn the screw in the period before half-time as they committed more men forward against the 10 men. Barry Fuller started to show more of the rampaging runs down the right that he is capable of and he set-up Smith for a decent chance that the striker blazed over the crossbar.
Neal Ardley decided to make a double change for the second-half with different players on the flanks as Chris Arthur replaced Kennedy and Porter came on for George Francomb. Arthur, who has so often made an impression as a substitute on the wing, was this time handed a left-back role. However, Arthur wasted no time making an impact and he sent over a teasing cross that picked out Midson perfectly, but the striker’s effort was too high. However, the home faithful did not have to wait too long for the opener and it was created by excellent approach play from the two substitutes. Arthur was the instigator as he sent over a searching ball that picked out Porter at the back post and his cut-back was guided home expertly by Smith.
It appeared to be all set-up for another memorable Wimbledon home win as the hosts had 36 minutes to find a winner, but they survived by the skin of their teeth just a minute later. McGurk got on the end of Jack Dyer’s corner at the near post and his header was just wide of the far post. However, Wimbledon laid siege to Burton’s goal after that with Smith again leading the charge. The towering striker almost notched his sixth of the season when he met Sammy Moore’s cross with a powerful header, but Pickford recovered well to make a fine save. Then Porter set-up a shooting opportunity for Luke Moore and Pickford had to make another decent save.
Wimbledon’s pressure paid off in the 69th minute when that man Arthur again created havoc down Burton’s right. This time his cross produced a handball appeal against Burton’s Jack Dyer, but referee Russell allowed play to continue and Midson was in the right place to guide home from close range. Wimbledon failed to rest on their laurels though after grabbing the lead for the first time and they were rewarded 18 minutes from time when Andy Frampton scored his first Wimbledon goal with a powerful header from Luke Moore’s corner.
That killed off Burton and Wimbledon were allowed the luxury of coasting to a victory that maintained their 100 per cent home record and raised hopes at the club that the Dons can stay at the right of the table during 2013/14.
AFC Wimbledon: Ross Worner, Barry Fuller, Callum Kennedy (Chris Arthur), Sammy Moore, Andy Frampton, Alan Bennett, George Francomb (George Porter), Harry Pell (Peter Sweeney), Michael Smith, Jack Midson, Luke Moore.