Dons seek to secure safety at Stanley after record signing breaks duck
Thirteen, they say, is unlucky for some. Not AFC Wimbledon’s Byron Harrison. Although, the ex-Stevenage striker could be forgiven for thinking it was, as team mate Gareth Gwillim placed the ball in the quadrant for an injury time corner against Burton Albion.
Harrison had done everything in his thirteenth league game, provided an assist, stretched the defence, and even hit the post, except what the club had principally broken their transfer record for him to do: score goals.
The corner deflected off Jack Midson’s head and into Harrison’s path. Three yards out. There would be no mistake this time.
The result had been secured long ago, but as the ball hit the net, the relief for manger Terry Brown, the home support and Harrison was palpable.
Harrison said: “It’s good to get off the mark. I was saying to a lot of people, that’s all I’ve been thinking about doing since I came here. I put a bit too much pressure on myself at the beginning to do that. I’m glad it came, and to get the three points.
I’ve always been used to scoring goals and when you don’t for a little while you a few little doubts get in your mind, just like any player in my position. Hopefully this is the start of quite a few goals for me.”
The 4-0 win against Burton Albion has now all but secured a place in League Two next season for the Dons, with seven games left in the campaign.
Harrison said: “It was a good performance against Burton. It’s about getting points now, we’re at the business end of the season were these points mean a hell of a lot to us.”
AFC will be hoping that breaking his league duck will spur Harrison on to a goal scoring run to finish off the season, starting this Saturday at 3pm, away at fellow mid-table revellers Accrington Stanley.
Harrison said: “Accrington is another team in and around us so we’ve got to go there and do a job. We hadn’t scored in the last couple of games until Burton so we’re riding high in to the game. Hopefully we can put on another good performance.”
The Dons currently sit in 15th position on 47 points, having played 39 games. Before Saturdays result, Wimbledon’s form had been mixed.
In their previous nine league games they have followed three draws with two losses, two wins and a further two losses.
After a superb start to the season, the play-offs were a distinct possibility, however, the teams form tailed off, coinciding with manager Brown stepping away temporarily for personal reasons.
Successive promotions now seem unlikely as AFC sit 18 points from Cheltenham in the final play-off position.
Harrison, echoed Browns recent comments, regarding the teams aims for the rest of the campaign.
He said: “I’m just glad were looking up rather than looking behind us on the way down. Realistically we were just trying to firstly secure our place in this league, but anything is possible.”
Accrington will see Saturday's match at the Interlink Express Stadium, as a chance to revive their similarly slim playoff chances, as they currently stand in 13th position, three points ahead having played the same number of games.
Paul Cook will want his side to bounce back from successive defeats, most recently a two nil loss at home to Oxford United on Wednesday night, despite having more attempts on goal and 70 percent of the possession.
Like their opponents on Saturday, Accrington started the season brightly, with play-off ambitions. However, since the turn of the year their form has dropped dramatically.
In their last ten games, Stanley has recorded just one victory to go along with five defeats and four draws.
Stanley’s home form before the loss to Oxford was reasonable, having won half of their games at the Interlink Express Stadium.
Unlike the Dons, who can rely on a steady stream of goals from top scorer Midson (20), no player has broken double figures for Accrington this season, Irish man Padraig Amond leads with 7 for the campaign.
Accrington will be without the influential defensive duo of Sean Hessey and Dean Winnard, who could be out for the rest of the season.
AFC’s main worry is over on-loan Brentford defender Pim Balkestein, who suffered a suspected broken nose in his previous game. If needed former captain Jamie Stuart can fill the void.
Accrington will be intent on completing a season sweep over Wimbledon after their two nil victory at the Kingsmeadow on December 10th, when Armond and Winnard were on the score sheet.
The bookmakers feel that a sweep is likely as they have Stanley at even money to prevail, while the Dons have been given more than a two to one shot to win.