“I fancy him to struggle this season. I just don’t think he’ll score enough goals.”
Paul Parker’s “expert” opinion on Jon Main’s prospects in the Blue Square Premier is looking less and less expert by the week. The prolific Dons marksman moved into double figures for the season with a tidy brace in a deserved 2-0 victory over Salisbury at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.
This third consecutive win saw AFC Wimbledon rise to sixth place in the table, with an away record equalled only by table-toppers Oxford United. If you consider that Steven Gregory and Luke Moore were both absent for this game, and that there are some very winnable-looking fixtures on the horizon, it could yet be a very happy Christmas for Terry Brown and his team.
A largely forgettable first half in the Wiltshire drizzle saw the ever-energetic Lewis Taylor catch the eye with some powerful runs at the Whites’ defence, but Danny Kedwell was being watchfully marshalled by the hosts’ Ryan Tafazolli. At the other end, Seb Brown, only out of his teenage years a week ago, was looking more assured with each game, and this third straight clean sheet can only boost his confidence further. He faced the little-and-large pairing of ex-Don Danny Webb and the waspish Matt Tubbs, but the resolute Wimbledon back four allowed neither striker to seriously test the young goalkeeper.
Both teams seemed prepared to up the ante in the second period – as Jay Conroy found out to his cost when he was caught by a reckless late tackle by Luke Ruddick and needed to be replaced by Sam Hatton. The Dons defender was seen hobbling around on crutches after the game; another injury is the last thing that Wimbledon’s stretched squad needs.
But just after the 60-minute mark it was a case of “Cometh the hour, cometh the Main”. Hatton set up the tireless Taylor down the right wing, and the midfielder delivered the perfect cross to the waiting Main to head beyond James Bittner and break the deadlock. Barely six minutes later, the Dons doubled their lead to an unassailable 2-0 as Will Hendry played a perfectly weighted pass to Main, who shot clinically low and left into corner of Bittner’s net.
Then came a yellow card for the returning Kennedy Adjei for a diving handball that no-one in the 1,157 crowd managed to miss, and finally a bizarre offside decision after Taylor simply ran at the Salisbury defence, and once he’d beaten two or three tiring defenders his goal-bound run was halted by a flagging linesman’s assistant – even though the ball hadn’t left his feet.
Hendry and Adjei were withdrawn towards the end, allowing Elliott Godfrey and Luis Cumbers the relative luxury of a pressure-free last 20 minutes. The only issue now was whether the visitors could see out the win without conceding – which they duly accomplished, to the delight of the 488 travelling Dons supporters.
With the ten-point deduction imposed for entering administration earlier in the season now dropping Salisbury firmly into the relegation dogfight, the Wiltshire club must be anxiously looking over their shoulders at the two excellent wins that Ebbsfleet strung together this week, but from the Dons’ perspective this victory completed the first of what will hopefully be many BSP doubles this season.
Anyone know what Paul Parker is up to these days?