January Conquered

Comfortable win last night. Fair play to those who managed to make the journey, the noise you made translated well from the TV coverage. I say ‘TV’, it was of course a dodgy feed on my laptop. Obviously this is a legally grey area, and I have to say I’m glad it was the first and possibly last time I’ll have to do it, normally being actually at the game. Having said that I did watch half an hour of the Luton-Grimsby game on Tuesday night in order to test the technology in case it was required, and the game came through clear as a bell. Last night I had the frustration of having to put up with the picture freaking out for twenty seconds or so every other minute. I could have made the ten minute walk down to Kingsmeadow to watch in the bar, but not feeling 100% I gave it a miss, a decision I thought I would regret…

Its worth remembering this was the first time I had watched a Dons game via any kind of televisual transmission for almost a decade, and made the kind of sofa based error we all have at some point of another, I got caught up watching a QI repeat and turned the laptop back on slightly late… late enough to miss Christian Jolley’s opener. This had followed a frustrating first half (and not just because of the stream-related interruptions) where the Dons had started to look as though they would boss it, missing a couple of chances including Mulley hitting the post, before Gateshead got back into it as the break approached, hitting the post themselves.

Jolley’s effort was an example of what he can do when he’s at his best, cutting inside and sneaking his effort in at the near post. From that point on there was only one side in it, and you thought the Dons might stretch their legs. Chances were created and missed, it took until fifteen minutes from time for Wimbledon to put the game beyond the hosts. Was it really a controversial free kick? I can understand the Gateshead manager being frustrated, but had it happened at the other end we would probably be feeling a little disappointed with our goalkeeper right now.

The fact the defender was stretching is a little bit of a red herring, the reason he had to stretch was in order to get a decent connection so the ball died off his boot, and suggesting there was an element of luck in that is probably a bit of an insult to him. Quite why the keeper didn’t just hack it clear is a mystery, and if there was any doubt in the referees mind it was probably made up by the keepers dallying. Still, you don’t see a lot of those kind of free-kicks given these days, I can’t remember the last time we were given one, let alone scored from it… CCL maybe???

When I saw Kedwell shaping up to hit it I had an idea it was only going to end up in the back of the net. The dummied effort before helped, checking the blockers, and the skipper did brilliantly to target the bottle job guarding the post… there were probably a few Gateshead players who would have taken one in the face in order to keep their side in it, but Kedwell’s effort flew into the top corner via the back of the defender.

The result capped off what has been a wonderful month for the Dons. Forget the drawn games, I know we were disappointed after dropping two points against Bath, but to go through what had looked a pretty intimidating series of games taking at least something from each has been impressive. Our only problem has been that our promotion rivals have been equally tought to break down over this period, some lengthy unbeaten runs are being put together as the top four start to stretch their legs in the run in.

We find ourselves top again, at least while Crawley go on a bit of a Cup adventure. As I write they look like progressing at Torquay, good luck to them as they attempt to navigate a fixture backlog that allows us, for the time being, to remain a thorn in their side. In reality it wouldn’t surprise me if Crawley’s games in hand would see them gain the sort of lead we couldn’t overcome simply by winning our game against them and hoping Luton do us a favour. Yet there are still plenty of games to play, and despite their resources a run of poor form could see the race turn in our direction.  If that happens of course, we will still have Luton to worry about… lets just say the next three months could be quite exciting…

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