BY SAM SMITH
A freakish late goal by Fleetwood Town’s Barrie McKay condemned AFC Wimbledon to a second-successive League One defeat.
McKay charged down goalkeeper Nik Tzanev’s kick as the New Zealander tried to set the Dons away on a counter-attack in the 88th minute. The ball struck the attacker and bounced into the net.
It was agonising for the South Londoners, who had been the better side and could have won. Instead, Mark Robinson’s side have relinquished another opportunity to move away from the relegation zone.
Three points would have moved them up to 19th with games in hand over most teams around them. However, Bristol Rovers’ 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers means Wimbledon drop a place to 22nd. It is those fine margins that will decide the fate of the Plough Lane outfit
Tzanev did well to save a long-range effort in the first half. Cheye Alexander blocked Gerard Garner’s rebound.
The 19-year-old winger Ayoub Assal was starting successive Wimbledon matches for the first time and caused plenty of problems for the visitors. Callum Connolly was fortunate to escape with only a yellow after he tripped Assal, who appeared to be through on goal. Joe Pigott curled wide from the resultant free kick.
Ben Heneghan headed off target from an inviting Alexander delivery. Wes Burns then forced Tzanev into a good save from a set piece.
Wimbledon had plenty of possession in the second half but the familiar story remains. They have generally played well in the last 10 matches but that run has amounted to just one win and only six goals. Turning those positive displays into wins has now become a necessity.
Ryan Longman curled wide midway through the second half and also had a strike blocked. Pigott had the ball in the net soon after – only for play to be brought back for a foul by Jack Rudoni.
It seemed that this was moving towards a fifth draw in that run of 10 games. A point would not have been a terrible result – but to lose in such a manner was particularly disastrous.
Tzanev was the hero in the last fixture at Plough Lane. His late penalty save against Northampton preserved Wimbledon’s only win since February. However, the 24-year-old failed to avoid McKay closing down his kick two minutes from the end to gift Fleetwood all three points.
IMAGE: Keith Gillard
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