Wimbledon were beaten 28-27 to Guildford in the London & SE Premier League on Saturday.
Losing lock Jack Cooke to injury during the pre-match warm-up and hooker Bradley Ugodulunwe after just 15 minutes was not a great start for the Dons.
But while the enforced changes clearly disrupted the pack they did not really account for the poor passing and handling errors that constantly gave hard-won possession back to a well-drilled home side, who took full advantage of their visitor’s generosity.
Lock Rob Louw powered over for a try and a fine conversion by fullback Freddie Hooper gave Dons a 7-3 lead which lasted all of three minutes.
Wimbledon went in to half-time with a slightly flattering 19-8 lead after Louw won a lineout, the pack drove forward and prop Jordan Saunders peeled off to score, Hooper again converting.
He could not manage a third conversion after a similar move moments later ended with no. 8 Kane Alboni touching down.
Guildford cut the lead to 13-18 10 minutes after the re-start having been gifted the ball following yet another fine forward drive from a lineout.
Another good Dons drive on 25 minutes somehow ended with the ball in Guildford’s hands and lock Nick Brown was bundled over to take the score to 18-19.
Hooper extended Don’s lead to 22-18 with a well-struck penalty against the run of play.
Wimbledon produced their best move of the game following a Louw lineout win, a half-break by replacement centre Gav Tusani before a finely-timed pass from flanker Shawn Renwick ended with Hooper diving in at the corner.
Dons looked to have escaped with another five-point win at 27-18, but managed to concede a penalty in the last five minutes.
Then, on the stroke of time, there was a try under the posts for lock Brown who burst through from a ruck 10 metres out, and Kyle Brown easily kicked the match-winning conversion.
Dons are home to Dorking tomorrow.
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