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21 March 2015

Early goal downs Blues

Pompey slipped to defeat at AFC Wimbledon in a game that was severely lacking in any quality.

Craig Tanner grabbed the only goal of the game early on, but there was little else to excite those in attendance.

There was more excitement after the break as the Blues threw on more strikers, but they were unable to find an equaliser.

Andy Awford made four changes from the side that drew with Cheltenham on Tuesday night.

Nyron Nosworthy and Cole Kpekawa – who have been brought in on loan from Blackpool and QPR respectively – were handed debuts, in place of Adam Webster and Dan Butler.

Skipper Ben Chorley returned for the injured Jack Whatmough, while Andy Barcham – who hurt his knee against the Robins – made way for Danny East.

Pompey tried to create an early opening when Ryan Taylor flicked on Danny Hollands’ long throw, but Barry Fuller was able to hack the ball clear.

Instead it was the Dons who broke the deadlock after just six minutes when, with the Blues concentrating on Adebayo Akinfenwa, Tanner latched on to Sean Rigg’s pass and fired in a shot that Chorley was unable to keep out.

That failed to usher in an eventful half full of action, however, with the game passing by pretty much incident-free towards the interval.

The visitors were seeing plenty of the ball, but most of their moves eventually broke down in the final third.

They did win a series of corners in quick succession that troubled the Dons defence without keeper Ross Worner being tested.

Nosworthy got into a bit of tangle when the ball got caught under his feet on 36 minutes, with Paul Jones coming to the defender’s rescue by rushing off his line to smother Alfie Potter’s shot.

Pompey finally came close to scoring themselves moments later when Matt Tubbs met Jed Wallace’s teasing cross.

The striker glanced a header on target, but Worner got down to make a fine save and Jack Smith cleared before Taylor could reach the loose ball.

Half Time: AFC Wimbledon 1 Pompey 0

It was the hosts who came out stronger at the start of the second half, although none of their half-chances tested Jones.

The Blues then had an effort on target when Nosworthy met Hollands’ corner and his header was plucked from the air by Worner.

There was certainly more entertainment for the packed crowd to enjoy after the break and substitute Tom Beere went close for the hosts with a long-range effort that was deflected narrowly over.

The resulting corner from Jake Reeves was then met by Akinfenwa and Jones just about tipped his header onto the crossbar.

AFC Wimbledon then again went close from the following corner, as Tanner’s effort flew through a sea of bodies and was tipped around the post by Jones.

Awford decided the time was right to throw on an extra striker on 65 minutes, with James Dunne making way for Paul McCallum.

It was Taylor who had a chance moments later, however, meeting Kpekawa’s cross with a deft flick that could not quite beat Worner.

A fourth Blues striker then joined the action on 72 minutes, as Craig Westcarr was brought on for Nosworthy.

But the Dons soon went close to doubling their advantage with a thunderous Smith effort from distance that Jones did brilliantly to push clear.

Awford made his final throw of the dice on 77 minutes as Wes Fogden replaced Hollands in the centre of the pitch.

Pompey were looking vulnerable to the counter-attack, though, and Adebayo Azeez twice almost exploited gaps at the back.

The visitors kept plugging away in search of a leveller and caused a few nervy moments in the Dons defence, but they were unable to find a way through.

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Worner; Fuller (c), Goodman, Oshilaja, Smith; Potter (Azeez 77), Moore, Reeves, Rigg (Beere 61); Akinfenwa, Tanner
Goals: Chorley (og) 6
Booked: Rigg, Moore, Akinfenwa
Subs not used: McDonnell, Phillips, Harrison, Gallagher, Fitzpatrick

Pompey (3-5-2): Jones; Devera, Nosworthy (Westcarr 72), Chorley (c); East, Dunne (McCallum 65), Wallace, Hollands (Fogden 77), Kpekawa; Taylor, Tubbs
Booked: Taylor, Wallace, Westcarr, Kpekawa
Subs not used: Cornell, Passley, Butler, Atangana

Referee: Carl Berry

Attendance: 4,485 (908 Pompey fans)

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