Dons undone by two quick-fire counter-attacks to lose unbeaten league record 2-1 to Stockport
By Paul Lagan at Plough Lane
AFC Wimbledon 1 v Stockport County 2
AFC Dons suffered their first league defeat of the season, losing 2-1 at home to Stockport County thus afternoon at Plough Lane.
That unbeaten run of games was built on solid defensive play and quick-fire counter-attacks and executing set-pieces.
The visitors, who had not won a point on the road all season, did their homework.
By keeping possession longer, they cut out the transitions and reduced the frequency of set-plays anywhere close to the final third.
But that did not stop them taking advantage of the first one – a regulation corner saw Josh Davison slot home the first half opener.
County were content to keep to their game plan and it worked as Louise Barry and Will Collar breached the Don rearguard to take all three points up to the North West.
Despite AFC's better start, it was the visitors who had the first chance, albeit, quite speculative, and from distance, and from an angle – so it was no real surprise that Barry's effort went high and wide of Alex Bass.
Stockport continued in the half, the better drilled side, and kept possession for longer.
Lots of excellent one-touch play, while advancing on the Dons defence almost reaped dividends on 30 minutes, but the final cross into the area was expertly headed wide for a corner by Alex Pearce.
But set pieces are a feature of Dons' play, and on 32 minutes, straight from a corner, up popped Josh Davison to hammer home the opener.
Set-pieces are aided by the quick counter attack, and the Dons did well on 37 minutes when Josh Neufville won the ball in his own half, raced 60 metres, before sliding the ball to his left to James Tilley.
The wide man continued to run, cut in from the left and let fly with a fine right-footed shot.
However goalkeeper Hinchcliffe was on the spot to snaffle the goal-bound effort.
There were no changes by either side at half time, and the Dons could be satisfied with their restart.
But like the home side in the first half, it was a zinger of a break that saw the away side level on 51 minutes.
Barry, who had the very early effort, made amends when he picked the ball up on the edge of the Dons penalty area, on the left. He took one touch before expertly planting the ball past Bass and into the stopper's left hand corner o the net.
A bit of a curler by Neufville on 56 minutes, while getting the crowd a little excited was never really going to trouble Hinchcliffe, and so it proved as the ball veered away for a goal kick.
The Dons were done again on 62 minutes as they failed to deal with a build-up on the left. The ball was drilled across to the edge and central part of the penalty area where Collar swept home a venomous left-footer to put Stockport 1-2 up.
Dons boss Johnnie Jackson decided something needed to be done to turn the situation around – on came a triple substitution on 66 minutes - Omar Bugiel for Harry Pell, Morgan Williams for Lee Brown and Jack Currie Charlie Lakin.
County missed a golden chance to increase their lead when, on 76 minutes Barry whacked the ball over the net.
Not much improved for the home side, so Jackson decided to bring on more players – this time, it was Ryan McLean and Aron Sasu – they replaced Pearce and Neufville on 79 minutes.
But County were resolute in defence, nullifying the slightly anaemic attacks at will and saw out the additional nine minutes quite happily.
Teams Dons, Bass, Brown, Johnson, Tilley, Pell, Davison, Neuville, Pearce, Ball, Lakin, Ogundere
Subs: Tzanev, McLean, Bugiel, Sutcliffe, Currie, Williams, Sasu
Stockport: Hinchcliffe, Horsfall, Southam-Hales, Sarcevic, Powell, Collar, Pye, Croasdale, Barry, Pond, Olaofe
Subs: Smith, Wright, Richardson, Bailey, Mee, Johnson, Jones
Referee: Alan Young