BY NICK KITUNO
AFC Wimbledon’s unbeaten start to their League One campaign has come to to an end after Accrington Stanley fought back from behind to win 2-1.
Brighton loanee Ryan Longman handed the Dons an early lead with his second goal this season, but Stanley struck twice in five minutes to go in front at half-time.
Despite a late surge, the Dons could not find the target again.
The defeat is Wimbledon’s first in seven league games, a run which stretched from the back end of last season’s pandemic-shortened campaign.
Wimbledon began brightly and took the lead after 18 minutes when Longman followed in a Joe Pigott effort which came back off the post.
Goalkeeper Connal Trueman helped keep the visitors at bay, thwarting Ryan Cassidy during a promising counter-attack, but he could not prevent their equaliser after 41 minutes. A scramble in the box following a free-kick allowed Ross Sykes to smash home an equaliser into the top-right corner, erasing the Dons’ slender lead.
And Wimbledon would fall behind soon enough as Matt Butcher collected the ball on the edge of the area before angling a low, left-footed drive beyond Trueman’s reach on the stroke of half-time.
Callum Reilly and Steve Seddon both went close to restoring parity after the break, but Wimbledon struggled to break down a resilient Stanley.
After Toby Savin rushed off his line to deny substitute Ethan Chislett, the Dons came close to levelling the scores 10 minutes from time when Shane McLoughlin’s powerful strike smashed the post. Longman put the rebound wide.
Paul Kalambayi made a crucial late tackle, but the visitors would hold on for their first win away to Wimbledon since September 2012.
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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