First half goal is enough to get Dons back on track
The Dons deservedly completed a league double over Portsmouth this afternoon with a Ben Chorley own goal enough to earn the points.
Craig Tanner was the instigator of the first-half winner with his shot deflected in by Chorley and Wimbledon were full value for the 1-0 win after a dominant second half.
A crowd of 4,485 - Wimbledon’s highest home league gate of the season – watched their side keep Matt Tubbs quiet and earn a fine victory.
Wimbledon made two changes to their starting line-up after defeat at Mansfield and one of those involved a first start in over two months for Jake Goodman. Neal Ardley decided that now was the time to recall the towering defender with Dave Winfield having gone back to York City. Alfie Potter was back in from the start with Callum Kennedy missing out due to injury.
Portsmouth had the majority of early possession, but Wimbledon made the breakthrough in just the sixth minute. It was a lovely move that led to the opener. Barry Fuller picked out Craig Tanner down the right and his darting run in behind was rewarded when Ben Chorley diverted his shot into the net. A spirited response followed from Portsmouth and the Dons had to defend resolutely to deal with a succession of corners.
When Wimbledon did attack in the first half an hour, Potter was at the heart of their best moves. Potter showed signs of recapturing the wing wizardry that blitzed Luton last month and on one occasion he produced a lovely turn and cross that was only just cleared by Pompey. Though the visitors continued to have plenty of the play, Wimbledon looked threatening in attack and Potter forced Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones to get down well and save after a mistake by Nyron Nosworthy.
However, the Dons needed Ross Worner to make a fine save to preserve the advantage. Worner, who impressed in his first League 2 start of the season at Mansfield, reacted superbly to turn away a header from Matt Tubbs and the Dons just managed to scramble the ball clear. Indeed, that was the only real chance that Tubbs and his side had in the first half as Wimbledon defended resolutely. The other scare just before half-time came when Deji Oshilaja made a hash of a clearance, but he redeemed himself by getting back well to stop Ryan Taylor getting in.
Wimbledon were forced back at the start of the second half, but Oshilaja and Goodman renewed their partnership to good effect at the heart of defence and signs of frustration grew in the Pompey ranks as they struggled to make an impression.
With the Dons retreating deeper though, Neal Ardley decided to make a change to revitalise his side and Tom Beere entered the fray for Sean Rigg. Beere made an immediate impression as he latched onto a loose ball and struck a powerful drive that was just deflected wide. The Dons came even closer from the subsequent corner when Akinfenwa got on the end of a Jake Reeves delivery with a looping header, but Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones did brilliantly to tip it onto the crossbar.
Tanner, who had grown in confidence after making such a crucial first half contribution, came close to notching a crucial second when he tried his luck from outside the area, but Jones got down well to save. Though Portsmouth chances had been rare, Worner had to stay alert to save a flick from Taylor after a fine cross from Cole Kpekawa.
Neal Ardley made a further change with 13 minutes to play as he introduced Ade Azeez for Potter in an effort to stretch Portsmouth at the back. That did give the Dons extra impetus and Jack Smith had a fierce effort well saved by Jones, before an Azeez header was also turned around a post. Neal Ardley’s men finished strongly with Portsmouth offering little threat and Tanner was again denied by Jones, but one was enough for Wimbledon in the end.
AFC Wimbledon: Ross Worner, Barry Fuller, Jack Smith, Sammy Moore, Deji Oshilaja, Jake Goodman, Sean Rigg (Ade Azeez), Jake Reeves, Craig Tanner, Bayo Akinfenwa, Alfie Potter (Tom Beere).
The picture above of Craig Tanner helping the Dons to victory was taken by Pro Sports Images.