Wimbledon suffered late heartbreak this afternoon with a goal in the fourth minute of injury-time from Danny Mayor condemning them to a harsh defeat.
The Dons had produced a much-improved home display against Bury, but there was a sting in the tail for Neal Ardley’s men when Mayor struck to earn a 1-0 win for the visitors.
Danny Hylton came closest to making the breakthrough for Wimbledon and on the balance of play it was tough to take for the hosts as they dominated for large spells of the second-half.
Neal Ardley made two changes to the side beaten narrowly at Portsmouth with the most significant being a home debut for Michael Collins just two days after his arrival on loan from Scunthorpe United. Barry Fuller was handed an instant recall after shrugging off a knee injury with Will Antwi missing out on the squad due to a hamstring injury.
The hosts made a bright start and Hylton, who had a loan spell at Bury earlier this season that included a goal in the corresponding fixture, threatened to this time score for Wimbledon after just 50 seconds when he got on the end of a George Francomb cross, but Brian Jensen got down to save well. However, Bury began to show just why they had lost just once in the last eight games by providing stubborn resistance and a quick break from the visitors resulted in a decent opening for Danny Mayor, but he blazed over the crossbar.
There had been little goalmouth action by the midway point of the first-half, though the Dons could be pleased that their high-tempo pressing game had stopped Bury getting a passing game going that Neal Ardley had praised in the build-up. Indeed, Wimbledon had looked the more likely side to break the deadlock in the first-half with Hylton, in particular, offering a decent outlet. A feature of the striker’s play was that he dropped deeper to get involved and he almost put Sammy Moore through with a defence-splitting pass. It was the kind of idea that Wimbledon were going to need more of against a Bury side that defender in numbers.
Bury fired a warning shot to the Dons eight minutes before half-time when Daniel Nardiello broke through Wimbledon’s defence and struck a venomous effort across the face of goal. However, both sides had struggled to find a cutting edge in a tight first-half with neither goalkeeper really being tested in the first 45 minutes.
However, it was a completely different story in the second-half with the introduction of Harry Pell for Jim Fenlon sparking Wimbledon into life. The Dons had their best chance so far five minutes after the break when Hylton got in behind his marker Frederic Veseli to go clean through, but Bury goalkeeper Jensen reacted smartly to save with his feet. Hylton had his head in his hands again just minutes later when he got on the end of teasing cross from Francomb, but his header was just wide. Hylton was unlucky not to net a first goal since his debut against Hartlepool when he turned smartly to latch onto Charlie Wyke’s flick-on, but his well-struck shot was beaten away by Jensen.
It had been a much-improved second-half from Wimbledon as they pushed Bury back with a display after the break that was full of energy and attacking verve. Neal Ardley attempted to press home Wimbledon’s superiority further by introducing talented winger Kevin Sainte-Luce in the 63rd minute with Francomb the man to make way. However, Bury’s first foray into the Wimbledon half resulted in Ross Worner having to make a decent save to beat away a swerving long-range effort from Bury substitute Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
Jack Midson was introduced in the 71st minute with Wyke forced off injured and another vital goal from Wimbledon’s talismanic number 10 would certainly come at a great time with the Dons having lost three on the trot before this. Hylton attempted to take matters into his own hands when he turned inside and let fly with a powerful drive that just missed the far post. With Wimbledon committing so many bodies forward in search of an equaliser, they were so nearly hit by a late sucker-punch when Akpro got behind their defence and beat Worner, but his effort rattled against the crossbar.
It appeared that Wimbledon would at least get a morale-boosting point after that let-off, but Mayor changed all that when he got behind the home defence before slotting home emphatically – and there was no coming back from that.
AFC Wimbledon: Ross Worner, Barry Fuller, Jim Fenlon (Harry Pell), Aaron Morris, Darren Jones, Alan Bennett, Sammy Moore, Michael Collins, Charlie Wyke (Jack Midson), Danny Hylton, George Francomb (Kevin Sainte-Luce).