AFC Wimbledon 2 – 5 Crawley Town
A sold out crowd packed the Kingsmeadow on Saturday when table-topping local rivals Crawley came to town, intent on denting The Dons playoff ambitions.
A bright October afternoon saw the teams produce an enthralling first half but The Red Devils class eventually shone through.
Before the game settled in to a rhythm, Crawley had struck the first blow.
On three minutes, a low, inviting corner was sliced into his own goal by Wimbledon defender Chris Bush.
Excellent interplay between Barnett and Drury down the right side resulted in another corner. This time Davis powered a volley into the roof of the net.
Ten minutes in and two goals up, the vociferous away support were enjoying themselves.
The Dons fought back immediately. Superb skill and persistence by Porter on the left wing ended with a square ball. Davis, turned hero to zero, deflecting it past his own keeper.
The score was levelled on the stroke of half time.
A long punt up field was controlled by top scorer Midson. His first touch created a yard of space. His second was an arrowed low drive into the bottom corner.
The Dons were in the ascendancy. The Devils were glad to hear the whistle.
To compound matters, Steve Evans, Crawley’s outspoken manager was sent to the stands during the interval for dissent.
However, the away side noticeably upped their tempo to begin the second period.
The game was becoming increasingly stretched and the visitors exploited the space ruthlessly.
A period of sustained pressure culminated in a clumsy McNaughton hand ball. A penalty was correctly awarded which Tubbs confidently dispatched on 54 minutes.
Moments after the restart, an innocuous high ball towards the box caused confusion. Brown, the highly regarded young keeper, reacted slowly, flapping the cross into the path of a grateful Bulman, who finished easily.
The fourth goal saw a marked drop in the home side’s energy levels as they struggled to string consecutive passes together.
Bulman completed his brace in the 84th minute, finishing the game as a contest.
A thrusting run and clipped cross from impressive substitute Neilson was neatly tucked away at the front post.