The decision by the Wimbledon board to loan David Nielsen, the Danish Under-21 international striker, to Norwich City against manager Terry Burton's advice came back to haunt them when the sides met at Carrow Road. After 17 minutes, Mark Rivers crossed from the right and Nielsen, 10 yards out, dived to head firmly past Kelvin Davis.
"We've seen it so many times before when a player turns out against his old club and gives it that extra 10 per cent," an exasperated Burton said. "I've washed my hands of the whole affair."
Seven minutes into the second half, Nielsen went down in the penalty area and Davis, who thought the Dane had taken a dive of a different sort, threw the ball at him and was sent off. Iwan Roberts converted the penalty.
Nine minutes later Wimbledon won a penalty of their own which David Connolly knocked in, but 18 minutes from time the revival ended when the Dons were reduced to nine men after Jermaine Darlington's second booking.
The Canaries manager Nigel Worthington was puzzlingly unimpressed. "We've got to learn how to win games," he said after the win. "They were still creating chances with nine men. There's been a lot naivety."
The 2-1 win lifted Norwich to fourth in the Nationwide First Division, overtaking West Bromwich Albion, who were held to a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns by Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls did not do it the easy way, having their captain, Trond Egil Soltvedt, sent off in the 31st minute. "I feared the worst," Gary Megson, the Albion manager, said. "We had already lost twice this season to teams reduced in the ranks." Efan Ekoku put the Owls ahead early in the second half but Ruel Fox's late goal earned Albion a point.
Birmingham City got their first win under manager Steve Bruce in their derby with Walsall. Darren Purse converted a retaken spot kick. Marcelo had missed the first.
After two successive defeats, a goalless draw at home with struggling Grimsby Town could be seen as an improvement for wobbling Preston North End. A string of saves by Danny Coyne goal kept Preston at bay.
Portsmouth brought their poor run of four losses in five games to an end with a 2-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Stockport at Fratton Park.
The improvement in Barnsley since Steve Parkin took charge is plain to see. They are unbeaten in four matches and a 4-1 thumping of Gillingham lifted the Tykes out of the bottom three. "It's encouraging but nothing to get carried away about," Parkin warned.
After a tight first half, the Yorkshire derby between Sheffield United and and Rotherham burst into life as goals by Patrick Suffo and Paul Devlin put the Blades 2-0 up. But Kevin Watson and Chris Swailes scored to give the Millers a share of the spoils.
Finally, Dagenham & Redbridge's FA Cup win over Exeter City took a lot out of them. They lost 5-1 at home to Telford, missing the chance to go top of the Conference.Reuse content