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  • By Charlie Stong at Plough Lane

Debutant Curtis hits 97th-minute winner as Dons beat Mansfield Town 2-1



AFC Wimbledon 2 (Bugiel 45+2, Curtis 90+7)

Mansfield Town 1 (Swan 63)

Att: 8,114


Substitute Ronan Curtis scored a 97th minute winner on his debut for Wimbledon, who beat 10-man Mansfield Town 2-1 at Plough Lane this afternoon,


Omar Bugiel’s strike from the edge of the box gave the Dons the lead in first-half stoppage time - after Stags’ Jordan Bowery was dismissed for hauling down Josh Davison when the latter was through on goal after 20 minutes.


Will Swan sent the traveling Mansfield fans wild when he equalised on 63 minutes, driving a shot past Alex Bass from 10 yards.


But Curtis stabbed home from six yards at the very end to give the Dons their first League Two win of 2024.


Wimbledon started the brighter of the two teams, the dribbling of John-Kymani Gordon causing problems for the Stags’ backline. 


Gordon set up Armani Little on 10 minutes but the latter’s control let him down as he bore down on goal.


Bugiel then tested Mansfield goalkeeper Christy Pym from just outside the box.


The Dons almost took the lead just seconds after Bowery’s dismissal, Little’s searing half-volley from about 12 yards out was deflected for a corner when it looked set to nestle in the net.


But just when Mansfield felt they were heading in at half-time 0-0, Bugiel struck.


He received the ball just inside the area to the right, got the ball out of his feet and struck a clean shot with his left which flew past Pym.


Unsurprisingly with their man advantage, the Dons made most of the running in the second half. 


But they were failing to test Pym, with the few shots they were managing ending up high and wide. 


Jake Reeves came closest to doubling the home team’s lead on 55 minutes but again his shot flew over the crossbar.


And they were made to pay for their profligacy after 63 minutes. A bouncing ball fell to Will Swan inside the box, he controlled it and drilled a shot past Bass at the near post.


It sent the traveling Stags fans behind the goal, who felt they had been on the wrong end of some harsh decisions, wild with joy.


Wimbledon pushed for a winner, defender Joe Lewis having perhaps the best chance - before the late drama - when he received the ball with his back to goal, turned and got his shot away, but it was just wide.


In stoppage time Mansfield were convinced they should have had a penalty, Davis Kellor-Dunn appearing to be pulled down. 


Nigel Clough was apoplectic - as were the Stags fans.


And salt was rubbed into the Nottinghamshire wounds when Curtis struck at the very last.


Teams: 

AFC Wimbledon: Bass, Brown, Reeves, Tilley (McLean 87), Davidon (Sasu 68), Little, Bugiel (Pell h-t), Currie, Lewis, Ogundere, Gordon (Curtis 68)

Mansfield Town: Pym, Cargill, Akins, Clarke (Lewis 72), Bowery, Maris (O’Toole 84)), Flint (McLaughlin 30), Quinn (Boateng 84), Brunt, Reed, Swan (Kellor-Dunn 72)

Referee: Will Finnie


(Picture: Charlie Stong)






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