Hartson's class shines through

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The Independent Football

The Wimbledon striker John Hartson may have found himself unexpectedly back in the shop window after his aborted move to Rangers, but there is no better way of impressing potential purchasers than harassing defenders, showing full fitness and banging in goals for fun.

The Wimbledon striker John Hartson may have found himself unexpectedly back in the shop window after his aborted move to Rangers, but there is no better way of impressing potential purchasers than harassing defenders, showing full fitness and banging in goals for fun.

A fierce diving header in this match brings Hartson's total to five in three matches, and shows that he is more than capable of prospering in a league higher than this one.

The second half saw Wolves introduce a new striker of their own in the Saudi Arabian international Sammi Al Jaber, a move which heralded their resurgence after they had fallen behind to Hartson's opener. Al Jaber showed a good turn of pace and some neat touches, but it was the teenage defender Joleon Lescott who earned Wolves a point by looping a header into the top corner from an Andy Sinton corner.

Wimbledon looked the more likely to open the scoring throughout the goalless first half but could have been a goal behind within five minutes when Wolves' Michael Branch nipped in front of his marker and rifled a close range drive against the near post. Kevin Muscat hit the rebound sweetly but Dons' keeper Kelvin Davis tipped over at full stretch.

From then on, apart from some lively runs from Wolves' pacy Guinean winger Mohammed Camara, Wimbledon took control of the midfield under the experienced direction of Michael Thomas. Neil Ardley produced a series of accurate long crosses from the right to provide ammunition for the aerial threat of Hartson and Jason Euell.

The Dons' best first-half chances predictably fell to Hartson, who gave Lescott an uncomfortably physical afternoon. To Lescott's credit he did not buckle, but Harton let three good chances go astray.

On eight minutes, the Welsh international's shot from a tight angle flew across the face of goal. After 20, the ball was nicked off his toe as he prepared to strike a Euell nod-down and, on the half hour, a looping header was tipped over the bar. It was midfielder Trond Andersen though, who squandered the easiest chance of all, scooping over a low Peter Hawkins cross from six yards.

Wolves again started brightly in the second half with Camara making an immediate impact with a dangerous cross. The midfielder Carl Robinson had made a good late run but his glancing free header was directed well wide.

It was Hartson who finally got his head in the right place to break the deadlock after 57 minutes. This time Ardley's curling free-kick from the right was met at pace by Hartson in a crowded penalty area and the ball rocketed into the top corner.

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