Football: Dons undone by Milosevic

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The Independent Online
Wimbledon 0 Aston Villa 2

Savo Milosevic scored his third goal in a week and Alan Wright struck only his third goal for the club as Aston Villa all but sealed their place in Europe for next season last night.

However, the result is put into perspective by the fact that Wimbledon's manager, Joe Kinnear, made no fewer than eight changes to the team which lost at Spurs on Saturday.

Kinnear left out Neil Sullivan, Robbie Earle, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Marcus Gayle and his captain, Vinnie Jones, as the Dons put Sunday's FA Cup semi- final against Chelsea well ahead of Premiership points in their list of priorities.

Milosevic gave Villa the lead after 26 minutes when he collected a through ball from Mark Draper 30 yards out. He ran towards goal shadowed by the Scottish international Bryan McAllister but found space just inside the penalty area to rifle home his ninth goal of the season. The Yugoslav striker had also scored for his country against the Czech Republic a week ago - and again in Saturday's win over Everton.

Wright chose a special way to open his account for the season when he wrapped up the game after 78 minutes with a stunning volley from the edge of the box after a knock-down from Dwight Yorke. Wimbledon's best chance had come after 57 minutes, when Efan Ekoku lifted the ball beyond the advancing goalkeeper Michael Oakes but just wide of goal.

The victory nudged Villa closer to another attempt at the Uefa Cup next season, but Kinnear's gamble could backfire. If Wimbledon lose to Chelsea in the FA Cup, they will have only slim hopes of reaching Europe via the League.

Villa could have won more comfortably but Yorke fluffed a volley after 55 minutes and Milosevic was just wide six minutes later with a shot on the turn. Villa extended their impressive run to one defeat in nine games but Wimbledon have now failed to win in their last nine League matches.

Wimbledon: Heald, Jupp, Perry, McAllister, Fear, Kimble, Ardley (Clarke, 84), Castledine, Euell, Harford, Ekoku (Cort, 70). Substitutes not used: Sullivan (gk), Goodman, Reeves.

Aston Villa: Oakes; Nelson, Ehiogu, Southgate, Wright, Townsend, Taylor, Draper, Hughes, Yorke, Milosevic. Substitutes not used: Bosnich (gk), Joachim, Farrelly, Murray, Curcic.

Referee: L R Dilkes (Mossley).