AFC Wimbledon 0 Fleetwood Town 1: Barrie McKay seizes chance as late strike gets Grayson's men back to winning ways
Barrie McKay came off the bench to score a last-gasp goal and get Fleetwood back to winning ways in the capital.
The Cod Army suffered late heartache against Peterborough on Good Friday – their second defeat on the spin – but the boot was on the other foot this time around as a horrendous error from Dons’ shot-stopper Nikola Tzanev gifted the visitors all three points at Plough Lane.
Winger McKay came off the bench in stoppage time against Posh for his first appearance since mid-February. Given half an hour to make an impact at Wimbledon, the Swansea City loanee did just that .
The visitors looked destined to go a third straight game without a goal but Tzanev’s howler meant the Cod Army ended their holiday weekend on a high.
Manager Simon Grayson made a solitary change after his side’s devastating 89th-minute defeat against promotion-seeking Posh last. Callum Camps made his first start for almost a month as Sam Finley was named on the bench.
Both sides struggled to create meaningful chances early on as they largely cancelled each other out in the first half.
It was the hosts who started the brighter, though, but the first real chance fell to Grayson’s charges in the ninth minute.
Wes Burns’ audacious 25-yard dipping effort was well saved by Nikola Tzanev before Ged Garner’s follow-up was blocked by Cheye Alexander.
Down the other end, Dons captain Joe Pigott curled a free-kick from just outside the box over Alex Cairns’ crossbar.
Cod Army defender James Hill did well to deflect Ryan Longman’s goal-bound strike for a corner.
The game sprang into life just before the break as both teams had decent chances find an opener.
A Cairns goal-kick caused chaos in the Dons defence, with indecision between Will Nightingale and Ben Heneghen almost gifting striker Kyle Vassell a clear run at goal.
Garner picked the ball up on the edge of the box but could only lash well wide on the turn.
Burns’ well-struck free-kick forced Tzanev into a punch.
And moments later Burns forced Tzanev into an even better save to turn his effort past the post as the hosts held on for dear life before the break.
But it was Dons’ Longman who squandered the best chance of the half when he headed over from point-blank range after being found by strike partner Pigott.
The second period also started quietly until Fleetwood were thankful the referee blew for a foul on Danny Andrew on the hour mark as Pigott stroked home from Rudoni’s knock on.
Grayson ushered on reinforcements as he searched for a winner, with McKay joining Vassell up front and Finley also emerging.
Longman kept threatening for the hosts as his left-footed chip went over.
Substitute Finley’s strike from outside the box flew over the bar after a well-worked corner routine between Andrew and McKay.
Finley nicked the ball in midfield and found Vassell, who forced Tzanev into a low save at his near post.
A disaster for Tzanev gifted McKay the winner when the keeper struck his clearance straight the winger two minutes from time, dashing the hosts’ hopes of climbing out of the bottom four.
Grayson had promised not to let the season fizzle out and was as good as his word, this win lifting Town up a place to 15th.
Wimbledon: Tzanev, Alexander, Heneghan, Nightingale, Guinness-Walker, Dobson, Rudoni, Oksanen, Assal (Robinson 90), Pigott (Palmer 69), Longman (Chislett 81); Subs not used: O’Neill, Robinson, Cox, Currie, Kalambayi
Fleetwood: Cairns, Hill, Connolly, Holgate (Donacien 66), Burns, Camps, Rossiter, Batty (Finley 63), Andrew, Garner (McKay 63), Vassell; Subs not used: Coleman, Saunders, Biggins, Baggley
Referee: Peter Wright
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here