Wimbledon started November in disappointing fashion as they slipped to their fourth League 2 away defeat of the season.
A Northampton goal in injury-time made the 2-0 full-time score slightly harsh, but the hosts had done enough to end their four-match losing sequence by then.
Neal Ardley selected an unchanged starting 11 once again as the Dons aimed to go one better after two successive League 2 draws. Former Cobblers striker Bayo Akinfenwa received a rousing ovation from home fans as he left the pitch following the pre-match warm-up, but there was little chance for him to make an impression against his old club.
Northampton’s main tactic was obvious from the outset as their direct approach attempted to test Wimbledon’s resolve at every opportunity. Only one chance was fashioned by the hosts in the first half hour though and that came from a long throw-in when Northampton captain Ryan Cresswell’s header was deflected wide.
Wimbledon had struggled to fashion a chance of note in the first third of this match, but they did have the ball in the net when Matt Tubbs finished smartly after a cross from Dannie Bulman, but the flag was up for offside. However, that did not signal a change in the pattern of play and Northampton grabbed the lead in the 32nd minute. Former Dons striker Kaid Mohamed showed the poacher’s instinct that served Wimbledon well in their promotion season by getting his head to a fierce cross from Lawson D’Ath and that left James Shea with no chance.
Wimbledon had offered fleeting moments of threat on the break and Tubbs struck a half volley just over after his strike partner Akinfenwa caused problems through the middle. However, they needed to offer more of a sustained attacking threat in the second half if they were to get anything out of this game.
The Dons started the second-half with more conviction and had a good spell of possession that threatened to provide something to shout about for the 468 travelling Wimbledon supporters in attendance. However, Wimbledon had struggled to make any impression by the hour mark with a lack of support for Akinfenwa and Tubbs. That resulted in a double change by Neal Ardley with 25 minutes left. Frankie Sutherland came on for his debut after joining on loan from QPR and Ade Azeez was also introduced with Sammy Moore and George Francomb the men to make way.
Wimbledon put together their best move of the match so far 20 minutes from time with Sutherland at the heart of it. The young midfielder picked out Dannie Bulman, who spread the ball out wide to Jack Smith and his cross was headed wide by Akinfenwa. With Wimbledon now committing more men forward in search of an equaliser, the gaps started to open at the back and Northampton threatened to seal it when substitute Emile Sinclair volleyed just wide.
Northampton offered little attacking ambition in the second-half, but they were resolute in defence and Dannie Bulman attempted to change matters with a long range effort that was just wide. Then Azeez put over a decent cross that was headed over by Adam Barrett. However, the Dons were unable to threaten again in the latter stages and Northampton substitute Alex Nicholls rifled home to make it 2-0 with the last touch before the final whistle shrilled.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller (George Oakley), Jack Smith, Dannie Bulman, Andy Frampton, George Francomb (Ade Azeez), Sammy Moore (Frankie Sutherland), Matt Tubbs, Bayo Akinfenwa, Sean Rigg, Adam Barrett.