Blue Square Conference South
Saturday 14 February 2009 - Cherry Red Records Fans' Stadium - kick off 3.00pm
||Perrin, G Jones, Rollo (c), Coupe (Simpson 69), Holland, S Jones, Hogg, Connolly, Edwards, Douglas (Gilroy 59), Badman
(R Evans 77). subs not used: Slocombe, Caldwell.
|man of the match:
||Gilroy (82), Edwards (89)
||Rollo (45), S Jones (45), Edwards (68), Connolly (69)
||R Kendall (Luton), R Hodges (Milton Keynes), A Piggott (High Wycombe)
|league position: 8th
||next match: Hampton & Rich (H)
Report taken from
Bath City's angry players had to be prevented from confronting the referee at half-time after the award of a controversial penalty, which proved to be the turning point in an exciting game against table-topping AFC Wimbledon.
The visitors looked to be going into the break goalless after a disciplined display, only for referee Richard Kendall to award a spot-kick right on the stroke of half-time following a foul by Steve Jones on Jon Main.
The decision infuriated the City players, who felt there had been no contact, and their sense of injustice was increased when Main picked himself up to score from the spot.
When the half-time whistle blew moments later, manager Adie Britton had to run onto the pitch to prevent his players remonstrating still further with the referee.
A Chris Holland own goal put City further behind on the hour before a barnstorming final 10 minutes saw substitute Dave Gilroy and Darren Edwards both score for City, only for Elliott Godfrey to net in between to dash any hopes of a comeback
It was desperately disappointing for City, who had frustrated the free-scoring league leaders and created some promising moments of their own during the first half.
Facing a team who had won 10 of their last 11 league games, City boss Adie Britton decided to clip the wings, pack the midfield and give the Dons no space to play in.
And the tactics worked perfectly in the opening minutes, with the hosts hardly having a touch of the ball as City did all the pressing.
Stuart Douglas produced the first moment of threat when he turned superbly in the box but could not pick out a colleague with his pass.
Jones fizzed a 25-yard drive just over the bar and Lewis Hogg's inswinging free-kick had to be tipped behind by keeper James Pullen, who then made an outstanding flying save to keep out Chris Holland's header from the resulting corner. However, the referee had already blown for a foul by the City centre-half.
As so often happens, though, it was Wimbledon who almost went ahead in the 14th minute from their first meaningful attack, Godfrey looping a header over the bar when he had more time and space than he perhaps realised.
But that was a rarity as a supremely well-organised City side comfortably kept the Dons at bay, setting up two rows of four when the opposition had the ball and challenging them to find a way through.
A measure of how well the visitors were sticking to their task was that it took until the 32nd minute before Wimbledon earned their first corner, which came to nothing.
Just as City were impressing on the pitch, so were the travelling supporters off it as they outsang the 3,000-strong massed ranks of the home faithful.
They were given a slight scare in the 35th minute, though, when Main - who already has 27 goals to his credit this season - managed to turn inside two defenders and fire in a shot from the edge of the box, which was deflected wide.
Sam Hatton tried his luck with a couple of free-kicks, both of which missed the target, but just as looked as if City would go into the break all square, they paid the price for a rare lapse in concentration.
A couple of overhit passes from Douglas and Jim Rollo down the City left led to the ball being given away to Main inside the penalty box, who took a touch before going down following an apparent clip by Jones.
It was an innocuous-looking incident but the linesman flagged immediately and the referee pointed to the spot, prompting protests from the City players - fuelled further when Mr Kendall mistakenly booked Jim Rollo for the foul, then booked Jones as well for pointing out his error.
Main stepped up to despatch his 28th goal of the season and put Wimbledon ahead, somewhat against the run of play.
Rollo was still complaining to the referee when the teams came out for the second period but despite their frustration, City were soon back into their stride and enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.
A good run by Adam Connolly led to an early corner, which came to nothing, while Lewis Hogg whipped in a free-kick from the left which was flicked to safety by Dons defender Jason Goodliffe.
Douglas had the ball in the net in the 57th minute but the whistle had already blown for a foul on keeper Pullen, who just about had both hands on the ball following a weak back header.
That was Douglas's last involvement as he was replaced by Gilroy but the striker had barely set foot on the pitch before his team were two goals down.
The danger looked to have gone when a ball down the inside-left channel clipped Main's heel and bounced back into midfield. However, the second ball released Godfrey, whose cross was deflected into his own net by Chris Holland with Main lurking behind him.
City's frustration threatened to boil over, with Edwards and Connolly both being booked within the space of a minute midway through the second half.
Having started without wingers, Britton sent on two - Sekani Simpson and Richard Evans - as City switched to 3-5-2 in a bid to get back into the game.
And they grabbed a lifeline with eight minutes to go when substitute Gilroy beat the offside trap and, after having his first shot saved, headed into the net from a tight angle.
But the game appeared to be taken away from City again within a minute when Godfrey calmly lobbed Steve Perrin to restore Wimbledon's two-goal cushion.
However, there was another twist in the 89th minute when keeper Pullen kicked the ball straight to Edwards, who coolly knocked the ball into an empty net from 35 yards.
That set up a grandstand finish, with Gilroy overhitting a cross when in a good position at one end and Perrin making a fantastic point-blank save from Danny Kedwell at the other.
But that proved to be the final action as City's comeback bid ran out of time.