Rugby union: Rock-bottom Dons punished as wait for first league win continues

Wimbledon suffered a 12th straight defeat in National League Two South as they lost 32-23 to second-placed Cinderford, writes Tony Mann.

The Dons, bottom of the table, paid the price for shipping two soft tries in the first 10 minutes, the first straight from the kick-off. They also gave away possession at several key moments of the contest.

Cinderford’s defence was excellent, out wide and particularly on their own goal line, where Wimbledon’s forwards camped for long periods, but to no avail.

Fifteen minutes after going 12-0 down, the Dons pack drove deep into Cinderford’s 22 which brought a penalty. They opted to scrum again and drove over for wing Alex Cane to dive in and get the touchdown, centre James Doe adding the extra two points.

The visitors retaliated immediately with some poor Dons’ tackling letting them in for a third try, also converted.

Doe’s penalty made the half-time score 21-10.

Ten minutes into the second half, almost all of which belonged to Wimbledon, Doe got another three-pointer and the gap closed to just six points.

A Cane break nearly led to a try, but a simple error gave Cinderford’s speedy backs what seemed to be a clear 80-metre run to the Dons’ goal line, but for a heroic chase and tackle by skipper Dylan Flashman.

Wing Josh Charles sped over in the corner to make it 26-18 with 10 minutes remaining. But another mistake was pounced on by Cinderford to nudge the score to 31-18.

Wimbledon came back strongly yet again and a superb scrum gave the pack a thoroughly well-deserved pushover try. They earned a penalty too in the last minute of the game but Doe’s normally reliable boot failed him as the Dons were denied even a losing bonus point.

Wimbledon travel to 10th-placed Tonbridge Juddians on Saturday.

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