BY SAM SMITH
Goals from Joe Pigott and Kwesi Appiah gave AFC Wimbledon an excellent 2-1 victory over Premier League Brighton at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
The visitors should have led within 10 minutes when Jurgen Locadia raced through but was denied excellently by Tom King.
And end-to-end start should have seen Appiah capitalise on a Shane Duffy error but the Dons forward hesitated as he bore down on David Button’s goal and was thwarted by Seagulls youngster Ben Barclay.
But Barclay would soon gift Neal Ardley’s side the lead. The defender’s headed clearance fell to Liam Trotter who found Piggott, and the former Charlton forward used his body to swivel past Barclay and finish low and across Button into the left-hand corner.
Appiah had another chance soon after for the impressive Dons. The Ghana international met Pinnock’s inviting cross but headed over.
It was a Pinnock cross that created the second goal. The new signing’s delivery was headed down by Piggott and Appiah deftly lifted the ball over Button and into the net.
Two excellent King saves preserved Wimbledon’s two-goal lead; the first denying Locadia again in a similar position to the Dutchman’s first chance, before the on-loan Millwall goalkeeper frustrated Anthony Knockaert from close range to keep the Dons in the lead at half-time.
Brighton were vastly improved in the early exchanges of the second half. Knockaert came within inches of halving Wimbledon’s lead when he cut inside and smashed an effort against King’s post.
And Chris Hughton’s side eventually got a goal back on 62 minutes. Will Nightingale was harshly adjudged to have brought down Albion sub Arron Connolly in the penalty area and Oliver Norwood stroked home the resulting spot-kick.
The Dons rode a spell of pressure after the penalty and had several chances to add a third. Debutant Anthony Wordsworth should have scored when the ball fell his way in the penalty area but he stroked agonisingly wide, before Pigott had two chances – first tamely shooting at Button before having another effort blocked. Wordsworth’s fellow debutant James Hanson shot straight at Button.
But the South Londoners would not need a third. They rode their luck at times late on; Connolly managed to work some space for a shot but fired straight at King – and the Dons held on to earn an extremely creditable victory.
PICTURES BY PAUL EDWARDS
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