Arsenal tumble to Earle

Arsenal 1

Wright 27

Wimbledon 3

Earle 38, 67, Holdsworth 50

Attendance: 37,640

MINUS the presence - and more important the inspiration - of their captain, Tony Adams, for the second Saturday in succession, Arsenal were well and truly flattened by their visitors, whose demeanour throughout showed that they were well aware that they were fighting for Premiership survival.

Wimbledon, lacking in what some consider the finer points of the game, were not deficient in the vital areas of communal effort and a willingness to die for each other. It paid off, brought their 1995 to a happy end and should have imbued them with enough spirit to see off the ghost of relegation in the New Year.

Arsenal should have known what was coming by the manner in which Wimbledon surged eagerly towards David Seaman's goal from the kick-off. Robbie Earle had the keeper scrambling to save at the foot of a post within five minutes and Dean Holdsworth was not far away with a header from the first of many laser-guided crosses delivered by Alan Kimble's left foot.

Wimbledon's pressure may have been akin to using a hammer to open a tin can and in the 28th minute Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright sliced open the visitors' defence with almost surgical precision. Nigel Winterburn's dash into enemy territory saw the full-back stab his pass towards Wright, who had the presence of mind to leave it to Bergkamp and run into space for the perfectly weighted return which he stroked into Hans Seager's net.

Wimbledon's typically bloody-minded resilience was to pay off handsomely in the second half, but had started with their equaliser in the 39th minute. Vinny Jones was fouled wide on the right, took the free-kick himself and found Earle sneaking in to head firmly past Seaman.

Within minutes of the restart Holdsworth was flicking a header from another inch-perfect Kimble cross just wide. Arsenal had been warned but were caught out in the 49th minute when Kimble again found Holdsworth's head rising beyond Keown and Andy Linighan to direct the second goal beyond Seaman.

It was all hands to the Highbury pump now and their manager, Bruce Rioch, decided that Paul Dickov might be more up to the task than John Jensen whom he replaced in the 57th minute. Dickov did add a bit more bite to a flaccid Arsenal midfield where the England captain, David Platt, was anonymous.

But the game was put beyond recall when Earle scored his fifth goal against Arsenal in two seasons in the 67th minute. Chris Perry hoofed a clearance out of defence towards the right wing where Holdsworth beat Winterburn to it to nod the ball into Earle's path. Seaman saw the danger but could not get off his line quickly enough to block the Wimbledon man's lob and the ball bounced into the empty net.

Throughout Mick Harford seemed to unsettle Arsenal's central defenders and created the space others exploited. At the other end Bergkamp was noticeably not firing on all cylinders after a couple of early strong, but fair, tackles. But Arsenal must solve what has become their perennial deficiency in the middle of the field. Platt's failure to make the slightest impression on the flow of events must concern his managers, both at club and national level.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?