Football: Roberts strikes lucky for Dons
Wimbledon 2 Leicester City 1
Monday 16 March 1998
Wimbledon 2 Leicester City 1
ANDY ROBERTS made the shortest move in English football when he was transferred for pounds 1.6m by Crystal Palace to their Selhurst Park tenants, Wimbledon, last week.
It seemed that the 23-year-old Roberts had simply swapped one relegation struggle for another, but he set the Dons on their way to a vital home win over Leicester on Saturday, while Palace's problems deepened with defeat at Aston Villa.
Roberts scored Wimbledon's 14th-minute opener - his first goal in the Premiership in only his second game for the Dons after failing to hit the mark in 30 games with Palace - but he needed a great deal of luck.
"Michael Hughes got the ball about 30 yards out and he played it in front of me," Roberts said. "Spencer Prior got there first with a block tackle and I just stuck my foot there and he booted it on to me. But it was nice to see it loop over the keeper."
Robbie Savage pulled a goal back for Leicester when keeper Neil Sullivan dropped a hanging free-kick as he collided with his team-mate Alan Kimble. The midfielder Michael Hughes struck the winner on 62 minutes, with Leicester having a last-minute penalty appeal for a foul on Emile Heskey turned down.
"It's a pity the home victory wasn't with Palace but hopefully I've moved on to better things," Roberts said. "At Palace, the problem was just confidence. The players still have a laugh on the training ground but you need confidence and a bit of luck."
"Here I was told it was just one big family, which it is and everyone sticks together."
The family welcome included being stripped and thrown into a training- pitch puddle on his first day.
"He's going to get better and better,"Joe Kinnear, the Wimbledon manager, said. "I was a bit surprised that Palace were willing to sell him, but you just keep knocking on doors and sometimes they open for you."
Goals: Roberts (14) 1-0; Savage (57) 1-1; M Hughes (62) 2-1.
Wimbledon: Sullivan; Cunningham, Kimble, Blackwell, Roberts, Gayle, Perry, M Hughes, Ardley, Euell (Earle, 46), Leaburn. Substitutes not used: C Hughes, Heald (gk), Reeves, Clarke.
Leicester City: Keller; Walsh (Watts, 14), Lennon, Claridge, Heskey, Savage, Prior, Ullathorne, Marshall (Wilson, 81), Guppy, Zagorakis. Substitutes not used: Campbell, Fenton, Arphexad (gk).
Referee: M Riley (Leeds).
Booked: Wimbledon: Roberts, Blackwell. Leicester: Savage.
Man of the match: M Hughes.
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