Wimbledon kept alive hopes of making the play-offs in dramatic fashion with a fantastic 30-yard volley from Jake Reeves earning victory in the third minute of injury-time.
The Dons came from behind to win it 2-1 with Reeves’ last-gasp strike earning a vital victory, especially with Neal Ardley’s men having not won a game in five previous matches.
It was reward for perseverance as the Dons kept going in search of a winner that just never looked like coming.
There was just one change to the Wimbledon starting line-up with centre-back Darius Charles coming straight in for his debut in place of the suspended Ryan Sweeney.
Taking on a York side bereft of confidence after five defeats in six matches, Wimbledon attempted to take the game to the visitors early on. Rhys Murphy tested York goalkeeper Scott Flinders with a well struck effort after getting on the end of a Barry Fuller throw-in, but it was well saved. Then came a very promising moment when Lyle Taylor set-up strike partner Murphy, but his goal-bound effort was blocked.
York had defended resolutely in the first 20 minutes, Jackie McNamara’s side showing little ambition to attack. However, they should have been behind in the 18th minute. A defensive lapse sent Lyle Taylor racing through one-on-one, but his shot lacked conviction and Flinders saved low to his left. Determined to make amends for that missed opportunity, Taylor was popping up everywhere and he struck a powerful effort that Flinders did well to hold.
Link-up play in attack between Murphy and Taylor looked very promising as York struggled to contain their movement, but the visitors had managed to survive intact as we approached the half hour mark. Barcham headed straight into the arms of Flinders after fine play down the right from Fuller and Paul Robinson was far from happy with himself after heading over from a well delivered George Francomb corner. However, with former Dons loanee Dave Winfield looking solid at the back, it was far from easy for Wimbledon.
What was proving to be a difficult task for Wimbledon became even harder in the 38th minute when York scored with their first meaningful shot on goal. There was still a lot of work to do when an initial York shot was deflected into the path of Russell Penn, but he looked up and struck a fine low effort that left Kelle Roos with little chance as it arrowed towards the bottom corner. Despite Wimbledon mounting several attacks in response, it remained 1-0 to York until half-time.
Wimbledon had played well in spells, but the pressure had not been sustained enough and there needed to be more urgency to get the goals required to keep alive play-off hopes. However, York were far too comfortable as we hit the hour mark with Wimbledon having created nothing in the second-half so far. There was a worrying moment shortly afterwards when Penn came close to notching his second, but his volley from an acute angle flashed just wide.
The Dons finally earned the goal they had so desperately been searching for in the 64th minute. Fuller's header picked out Dannie Bulman down the right and his fierce cross was bundled home at the near post with Murphy appearing to get the final touch under pressure from Dave Winfield. Tom Elliott was introduced for Barcham as Wimbledon went all out for a winner. With Wimbledon now peppering the York area at every opportunity, Elliott came close to forcing the ball over the line, but Flinders just managed to get a hand to it.
Neal Ardley made another change 10 minutes from time with Ade Azeez on for Murphy, but the next big chance fell to Francomb. A lovely flick from Taylor put Francomb through at an acute angle on the right, but he took too long and a York defender managed to get back and deflect it wide. As pressure started to grow in the latter stages, a goal again eluded Taylor as his shot from outside the area was cleared off the line. Then Azeez shot into the side netting after another flick from Taylor. Bulman was everywhere in the second-half, his energy driving Wimbledon forward, and he almost got the goal he deserved with a powerful shot that Flinders gathered at the second attempt.
It appeared that Wimbledon’s final chance had gone when Fuller’s header was cleared off the line from a Francomb corner. However, there was still time for late drama and it was delivered in superb style with a brilliant 30-yard volley from that man Reeves. It was a goal worthy of winning any game and what a way to keep Wimbledon in play-off contention.
AFC Wimbledon: Kelle Roos, Barry Fuller, Paul Robinson, Darius Charles, Jon Meades, Jake Reeves, Dannie Bulman, Andy Barcham (Tom Elliott), Rhys Murphy (Ade Azeez), George Francomb.