BY DANIEL MARSH
A late Tom Hopper goal was enough to condemn AFC Wimbledon to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of high-flying Lincoln City at Plough Lane.
Tayo Edun gave the visitors an early lead, before Ollie Palmer drew the Dons level in the 31st minute. A defensive lapse saw Hopper strike late on to seal the points for the Imps in the 83rd minute.
There were doubts over the fixture going ahead due to Covid cases in both camps, with the Dons’ request for a postponement ultimately falling on deaf ears.
With the game on, it took Lincoln left-back Edun just eight minutes to break the deadlock at Plough Lane. A Jorge Grant corner was nudged out to the edge of the box where the former Fulham man was waiting to steer a strike into the bottom corner.
The Imps seemed to grow in confidence after the opener but they failed to turn their attractive build-up play into any sustained goal threat.
The Dons should have been level midway through the first half, but Joe Pigott headed wide from point-blank range. He went close again from the resulting goal-kick, with Alex Palmer at full stretch to push his low effort around the post after Lincoln had been caught trying to play out from the back.
But Wimbledon did go in at the break level. A fine, deep cross from Shane McLoughlin was headed home emphatically by Palmer – his first goal since his summer move from Crawley Town.
After the interval, Jack Rudoni went close to finding his first ever Wimbledon goal on the hour mark, but he could only watch as his low effort trickled wide of Palmer’s far post.
The Dons were almost made to rue that miss 10 minutes later. Brennan Johnson was away on the left after a long ball forward evaded Terell Thomas, but the Lincoln wideman’s teasing low cross somehow avoided a flurry of bodies in the middle.
The Imps rediscovered their goalscoring touch seven minutes from time. A defensive miscue from Paul Kalambayi inside the box saw Hopper teed up, and the striker made no mistake from eight yards to confirm a third defeat in a row for Wimbledon.
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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