BY DANIEL MARSH
AFC Wimbledon saw their five-game unbeaten run end following a 2-1 defeat at Gillingham.
The hosts made an early breakthrough via Kyle Dempsey, but his strike was cancelled out midway through the opening period by Ben Heneghan’s glancing header. Dominic Samuel would strike the decisive goal early in the second half to ensure the Dons left empty-handed.
Wimbledon were looking to build on Saturday’s last-gasp triumph at Rochdale, but any hopes they had of recording rare back-to-back victories were dealt a blow after just three minutes in Kent.
Gills winger Jordan Graham showed excellent awareness to slip a subtle pass into the path of skipper Dempsey, who lashed beyond Connal Trueman to finish a slick passing move.
The hosts could and perhaps should have doubled their lead a couple of minutes later as Graham’s corner bounced up into the path of Vadaine Oliver, but his looping header drifted just wide of the far post.
The Dons took their time to settle but did manage to fire back in the 28th minute. Heneghan, making his first Wimbledon start, was lurking in the Gillingham penalty area and was in the right place at the right time to deftly guide Callum Reilly’s superb floated delivery from the left-hand side into the far corner.
Wimbledon looked the more comfortable after drawing level, and they started the second period relatively well. A powerful header from Ryan Longman just after the break forced Jack Bonham into early action.
But after just 12 minutes of the second half, the visitors found themselves behind again. A whipped delivery from the Gillingham left was volleyed home emphatically from six yards by the unmarked Samuel.
It almost got even worse for the Dons just a couple of minutes later, as Dempsey smashed a 25-yard free-kick against the post with Trueman well beaten.
Glyn Hodges responded by bringing on Jack Rudoni and Ollie Palmer for Alex Woodyard and Joe Pigott, and it almost paid off instantly. The duo combined well before first Rudoni and then Palmer were both thwarted by Bonham.
Longman and Rudoni both went close again for Wimbledon but they rode their luck at times down the other end of the pitch. They had Trueman to thank for denying Samuel with his legs after he was played in behind.
As time ticked away, the Dons had one final chance to get something from the game, but Will Nightingale could only watch his free header from six-yards trickle agonisingly past Bonham’s far post.
PHOTOS: PAUL EDWARDS
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