Clarke cleans up

Wimbledon 2 Leonhardsen 40, Clarke 74 QPR 1 Hateley 57 Attendance: 9,123
Click to follow
WIMBLEDON scraped their first home Premiership win since September hard on the heels of their Cup defeat of Watford. They did it the hard way, labouring for over 30 minutes with 10 men after Mick Harford was sent off for what looked like an elbow in Mark Hateley's face.

This was no classic but referee Steve Dunn did not help with a display of authoritarian ped-antry which brought 10 bookings in addition to Harford's dismissal. Rangers were 6-4 ahead on that scoresheet, but the game was scrappy rather than dirty.

Rangers could feel aggrieved about Andy Clarke's 74th-minute winner. The Wimbledon striker was offside when he ran on to substitute Efan Ekoku's stabbed through-pass. Clarke took the ball beyond Jurgen Sommer and stuck it into the empty net.

The Dons had taken the lead through Oyvind Leonhardsen in the 48th minute, after surviving a shock 15 minutes earlier when Nigel Quashie smashed Trevor Sinclair's cross straight into Neil Sullivan's midriff, then hit the crossbar with the rebound.

Dean Holdsworth provided the opening for Leonhardsen's goal with an accurate cross from the right. Steve Yates' intervention fatally played the ball into the Norwegian's path for the shot to be placed behind Sommer.

It was 1-1 in the 56th minute when Simon Barker found Hateley, 15 yards out, with enough space to swivel and drive his first Rangers' goal beyond Sullivan.

With Wimbledon down to 10 men, the odds seemed to lie with Rangers until Clarke notched that highly suspicious-looking winner. It was a close-run thing, and the power and energy of Robbie Earle and Leonhardsen were decisive factors in the Dons' favour. Trevor Sinclair's disappearance after threatening great things for most of the first half didn't help either.

But Ray Wilkins must have been warmed by the contributions of Quashie and Matt Brazier, although the youngsters' inexperience told against them in the end. At 17 years old, Quashie especially is one to watch.

Comments