May 24 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe at the Lamex Stadium
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Capital One Cup round One: Stevenage 3 AFC Wimbledon 1
It was an evening to keep the Dubious Goals Panel busy, but there was little debate about the outcome as AFC Wimbledon began their campaign with a quick exit from the newly named Capital One Cup.
After a wretched pre-season in which they won just two of their eight friendlies it was always going to be a tall order to upset npower League One Stevenage but they were second best throughout.
Still, the Dons hardly needed to score for them nor gift a second into the bargain, but that’s what they did.
Pim Balkestein turned into his own net on 14 minutes before his Seb Brown made a goalkeeping gaffe of the most calamitous proportions to allow James Dunne the easiest of tap-ins.
There was brief hope for Wimbledon as Brendan Kiernan pulled one back virtually straight from the restart, but it was merely an anomaly in an otherwise fruitless night in which Boro’s Mark Roberts added a third before half time, though there were again questions as to who supplied the finish.
Nevertheless it was a deserved score after Stevenage made an assured, patient start. When they did get a first sight at goal on ten minutes Dunne’s 25-yard shot was too hot to handle for Brown and he was forced to push nervously wide.
His goal was soon breached as Luke Freeman centred to Marcus Haber who slid in with with Balkestein and the final touch was credited to the defender.
The Boro striker should unquestionably have got on the scoresheet and doubled the tally moments later when his team-mate again picked him out in the box but he headed just over.
Dons were under real pressure and Christain Jolley had to head off the line, but the visitors managed to steady themselves for a few minutes and it was the left winger who provided his side’s first chance on 24 minutes. A wonderful in-swinging cross found the head of skipper Mat Mitchel-King but the effort bounced harmlessly wide.
It was the same outcome from Stevenage forward Filipe Morais when he lashed a half volley off target as the half hour approached.
But Brown soon had some more work to do, though he probably knew little about it, as Haber thumped at his chest from an acute angle.
The former England C stopper knew plenty about Stevenage’s second when he made a hash of Mitchel-King’s pass back, swinging a leg at thin air for Dunne to slide into an empty net.
His blushes were partly soothed by his team-mates who went up the other end and pulled one back with Kiernan lashing a Luke Moore low cross into the roof of the net.
It was a breathless few minutes to end the half but the hosts had the last laugh in stoppage time. A deep Greg Tansey free-kick was steered past Brown by Haber only for captain Mark Roberts to slide in on the line and steal the striker’s thunder to make it 3-1.
Two early shots, though wide, signalled Boro’s superiority after the restart with Morais proving a difficult man to keep tabs on.
The number 10 was removed on 70 minutes, but that still left Wimbledon with the impressive Freeman to deal with and the winger forced Brown to turn a daisycutter around his post.
The midfield maestro then should have done better than sky over the bar after instigating some fabulous build up play, while, before that, Bondz N’Gala could only glance a header wide.
It highlighted the problems facing the London side as Boro were very much in cruise control yet still looked capable of adding a fourth, while in reply all the visitors could manage was a wayward shot and a tame header both from substitute Louis Harris.
Wimbledon must now pick themselves up and hope they give a better account of themselves when they play host to Chesterfield on Saturday to open their npower League Two account.
Stevenage: Chris Day, David Gray, Darius Charles, Greg Tansey (Robin Shroot, 70), Anthony Grant, James Dunne, Marcus Haber (Michael Thalassitis, 89), Filipe Morais (Luke Akins, 70), Mark Roberts (c), Luke Freeman, Bondz N’Gala
Unused subs: Steve Arnold, Jon Ashton, Anthony Furlonge,
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Warren MacDonald, Warren Cummings, Pim Balkestein, Mat Mitchel-King (c), Stacy Long, Brendan Kiernan (Byron Harrison, 79), Jack Midson, Christian Jolley (Louis Harris,58), Luke Moore
Unused subs: Jim Fenlon, Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz, Frankie Merrifield, Rashid Yussuff, Charlie Strutton,
Referee: Stuart Atwell