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Match Reports

Walsall 2-3 AFC Wimbledon

14 April 2018

The Saddlers squandered a two-goal half-time lead to lose at home to fellow relegation strugglers AFC Wimbledon.

First-half goals from Jack Fitzwater – his second in as many matches – and Julien Ngoy put Walsall in total control.

Efforts from Joe Pigott and Lyle Taylor drew the Dons level before Dean Parrett crashed home a 96th-minute penalty to complete a stirring fightback.

The result leaves Dean Keates’ men in 19th place, three points above the relegation zone.

Dean Keates’ Saddlers began the game with real attacking intent, Luke Leahy unleashing a fierce second-minute drive which Dons keeper George Long parried away.

And the hosts’ bright start was rewarded as Erhun Oztumer’s curling sixth-minute free-kick was touched home by Jack Fitzwater for his second goal in as many matches.

The Dons grew into the contest after that rip-roaring start, with Liam Trotter sending a half-volley wide and Tom Soares lashing an effort off target.

But the Saddlers’ lead was doubled just before half-time thanks to an excellent individual goal from Julien Ngoy.

The Stoke loanee chased a ball down the right and cut inside two Dons defenders before coolly rolling a left-footed shot beyond Long.

Wimbledon flew out of the traps at the start of the second half, winning a penalty on 48 minutes when Nicky Devlin recklessly brought down Andy Barcham.

Lyle Taylor’s spot-kick was brilliantly blocked by the legs of Liam Roberts, who then saved the follow-up, but Joe Pigott pounced to hammer home the loose ball from close range.

With Walsall rocking, the Wombles almost levelled when a long throw was flicked on for Taylor to crash a venomous volley against the foot of the post.

Neal Ardley’s men were well on top; Roberts kept out Taylor’s firm near-post strike with his legs and Barcham curled a right-footed shot inches past the far post.

The inevitable equaliser duly arrived on 65 minutes as Long’s clearance released the influential Taylor, who drilled a delightful volley beyond Roberts.

The Saddlers threatened briefly against the run of play, with Ngoy turning well before curling a tame effort into Long’s midriff.

Goalmouth incident dried up until the final minute of stoppage time, when Wimbledon were controversially awarded their second penalty of the afternoon.

Kory Roberts was harshly penalised for holding Taylor and Dean Parrett rifled the subsequent spot-kick into the roof of the net to send the travelling fans into raptures.

 

Team (4-1-2-1-2): L Roberts; Devlin, Fitzwater (K Roberts 59’), Guthrie, Leahy; Chambers; Cuvelier, Dobson; Oztumer (Shaibu 85’); Bakayoko, Ngoy.

Subs not used: Gillespie, Kinsella, Flanagan, Morris, Kouhyar.

 

Attendance: 4,663 (733 Wimbledon supporters).


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