Southall 0 - AFC Wimbledon 4
WITH several players sidelined, Wimbledon produced an excellent performance to outpass and outplay third-placed Southall for a comfortable and impressive victory.
Jamie Taylor and Kevin Cooper sparkled in attack, with Seb Favata and Gavin Bolger working tirelessly behind them.
Taylor had the ball in the net on eight minutes, but an offside flag cut short his celebrations. He then set Gavin Bolger away, but the unconventional Samba raced out to save. At the other end, the linesman's flag intervened when O'Sullivan threatened.
A terrible late lunge on Ryan Gray went unpunished because the referee had already turned away, before Justin Roach found his way into the book for the next foul.
On 21 minutes, Cooper created the opening goal, if not from nothing, then at least from not very much. Collecting a Dobinson cross, he found his path blocked, but jinked and twisted before curling a low shot past the defender and inside the far post for 1-0.
Five minutes later, he then turned provider for the second, tee-ing up Bolger on the edge of the area, who calmly sidefooted home for 2-0.
2-0 up before the half-hour mark, the Dons relaxed and began to play some very impressive football. Everard headed over from a corner, Seb Favata saw a fizzing drive tipped over by Samba and Taylor headed at the keeper, as the score stayed at 2-0 at half-time.
In the second half, Steve Gibson led the charge with some marauding runs. One dangerous cross was nodded behind for the first of two corners, so the tannoy announcer took the opportunity to announce the raffle results.
With 20 minutes remaining, Jones Bamfo replaced Cooper and was immediately in the thick of the action, setting Gray racing away and trying to collect his cross. It fell to Taylor, but he snatched at a close range effort and drove wide when it seemed easier to score. But one minute later, the ex-Aldershot man netted his maiden goal, taking the ball from Steve Gibson and calmly picking his spot with a low shot from outside the area.
Bamfo then exchanged a one-two with Taylor, but hit the side-netting. After that, he ran on to a looped ball, comfortably reached it ahead of Samba, touched it past him and was unceremoniously poleaxed by the onrushing Southall goalkeeper, but the referee ruled that no foul had occurred.
At the other end, substitute Edwards could only scuff at shot at Standen when free in the area. Lewis Taylor replaced Jamie Taylor and took up an unfamiliar position up front as the game drew to a close. He spurned one glorious chance, cutting inside from inside-left but blazing over, before latching on to a through ball, outpacing his marker, steadying himself and calmly siding the ball under Samba for 4-0 and his first ever Dons goal.
Against one of the best sides in the league, the Dons once more produced a polished performance and, as the fans enjoyed another excellent curry, the players ensured the recipe for league success was nearly complete.