Rampant AFC Wimbledon made a mockery of the League 2 table tonight as they stunned Burton Albion.
Bayo Akiknfenwa scored his first goals for Wimbledon with a memorable double to help the Dons to a brilliant 3-0 win, which was only soured by Matt Tubbs’ sending off late on. It could have been more as the Tubbs and Akinfenwa partnership pulverised Burton to earn just a fourth home win for Wimbledon in 2014.
Neal Ardley made just one change to his starting line-up with George Francomb making his first start since the match at home to Hartlepool on 23 August. That meant Tom Beere was on the bench, but fellow Dons academy product Ben Harrison retained his place at left-back.
The Dons produced a blistering start to this match that left League 2 leaders Burton struggling to hold on. Just a few minutes in and it could have been 1-0 when a lovely ball from Sean Rigg picked out Bayo Akinfenwa, but he headed just wide. Akinfenwa’s strike partner Matt Tubbs was everywhere in the early exchanges, his first meaningful contribution coming when he got round the back and sent over a teasing cross that just eluded everyone. Tubbs came even closer when he smashed a volley against the crossbar with Burton goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin well beaten.
Burton showed what they were capable of though just minutes later when a low cross was fizzed over from the right and Jacob Blyth got there first, but his shot was too high. However, Wimbledon maintained the high tempo that had caused the visitors so many problems and they deservedly took the lead in style in the 20th minute. Francomb was the instigator as he sent through a brilliant through ball that picked out Tubbs and he slotted home emphatically for his eighth Wimbledon goal in all competitions.
As the half hour mark approached, the only complaint from a Wimbledon perspective was that they had not secured the cushion of a second goal. Tubbs and Akinfenwa were rampant, well supported by the impressive Francomb, and Burton simply just could not cope. It was so nearly 2-0 when Francomb sent in another lovely ball, but Akinfenwa headed wide. All that had been missing from Akinwenwa’s performance was a goal, but that all changed eight minutes before half-time. Barry Fuller sent over a searching ball from the right flank and Akinfenwa headed home emphatically. A louder noise had not been heard around the Cherry Red Records Stadium for some time as “The Beast” saluted the delirious fans in the Chemflow End.
Wimbledon could be well pleased with their first-half display when the half-time whistle shrilled with their high-tempo football having stunned the League 2 leaders. Indeed, it had been the best half of football from Wimbledon at home for a long time.
With the Dons having produced such an impressive first-half, it was no surprise that Neal Ardley made no changes for the second-half. Burton finally started to show what they were made of at the start of the second-half and Wimbledon were forced into a sustained spell of defending. However, Wimbledon showed resilience at the back that had been lacking at times this season. Though Burton were starting to find a few gaps, they came up against a dogged Dons defence. In particular, Adam Barrett summed up Wimbledon’s spirit as he twice threw himself in the way of goal-bound shots from Alex MacDonald.
However, just when Burton were starting to exert belated pressure, came the killer third goal for Wimbledon in the 67thminute. Francomb, who was superb all night, won possession on the right and he delivered a perfect cross for Akinfenwa to stab home from close-range. It had been a great night for Akinfenwa as he showed the goal touch that had eluded him so far this season, but Neal Ardley decided to withdraw him shortly afterwards with Ade Azeez entering the fray. At this stage, the Dons were rampant and Sean Rigg headed over the crossbar from close range.
Burton threatened to at least get a consolation, but even that went begging when a powerful drive from Jacob Blyth came back off a post.
It had been a brilliant night for Wimbledon, but it was soured 12 minutes from time when Tubbs was shown a second yellow card for handball, which means a one-match ban for him. That never stopped Wimbledon from continuing their forward momentum and substitute Ade Azeez was denied by Burton goalkeeper Joe McLaughlin.
Three was well enough for the Dons though and what a way to earn their first home win of the season and certainly a platform to build on with Morecambe up next at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Ben Harrison, Sammy Moore, Adam Barrett, Alan Bennett, Sean Rigg (Callum Kennedy), Dannie Bulman, Bayo Akinfenwa (Ade Azeez), Matt Tubbs, George Francomb (Tom Beere).