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Match Reports

Report: AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Crystal Palace

27 July 2016


Freddie Ladapo scored the winning goal as Palace edged out AFC Wimbledon by the odd goal in five to stretch their unbeaten pre-season campaign to five matches.

Connor Wickham headed the visitors in front before Lyle Taylor equalised before the break, but Ladapo turned provider for Yannick Bolasie and notched himself to put Alan Pardew’s men in control.

However an own goal 60 seconds later by the returning Pape Souare made the ending slightly nervier than needed, however the Eagles clinched their second win in three days since returning back to England following their North American tour.

In contrast to the rest of the game, the first half an hour saw very little in the way of goalmouth action but Wickham nearly found an unconventional way of breaking the deadlock when he charged down Dons keeper Ryan Clarke’s clearance but the ball spun well wide, and soon after Jason Puncheon, playing against the club he made his professional debut for 12 years ago, lashed a volley well wide in the first quarter.

But on 28 minutes the first moment of quality in the game came from the rejuvenated Zeki Fryers and it produced the opening goal. The left-back received the ball on the left and put in a pin-point cross for Wickham who gleefully headed the chance powerfully down into the turf and watched it beat Clarke before nestling into the roof of the net.

That goal seemed to help raise the standard and 10 minutes before the break Sullay Kaikai and Martin Kelly linked up nicely on the right and a lovely body swerve by the winger got him away from Jon Meades but his shot from the corner of the box was comfortable for Clarke, but three minutes later the home side got back level again with their first effort.

Damien Delaney was dispossessed in his own box by a sliding tackle by the determined Dean Parrett which won the ball cleanly and the midfielder unselfishly passed up the chance of a goal for himself to square for Lyle Taylor who saw his deflected effort find the far corner.

That made the scoreline 1-1 at half-time but only after Wickham saw a central free-kick attempt from 30 yards flash just wide of the mark, and at the break Souare was introduced for his first taste of action this pre-season but a minute later Pardew was forced into another change when Fraizer Campbell limped off with a muscular injury.

Mile Jedinak then had two attempts from range including a free-kick fail to hit the target but midway through the second 45 the Eagles did get themselves back in front. Freddie Ladapo chased a lost cause and forced a mistake out of the Dons defence, and he managed to get to the byline before centring for Bolasie to tap home from a couple of yards out.

And on 76 minutes the striker had seemed to wrap up the win by scoring his first goal in a Palace shirt. Ben Wynter had come on at right-back and like Fryers in the first half put in a brilliant cross that stretched the hosts backline and Ladapo managed to guide the ball past Clarke and into the bottom corner.

However less than a minute after the restart the two goal lead had evaporated when Julian Speroni came out of his goal to collect a stray pass but unaware Souare decided to nod it back towards his keeper who was nowhere to be found, and the ball trickled agonisingly over the line with the Senegalese international just unable to hook it off the line.

Despite the mishap Pardew’s men remained untroubled for the final stages and nearly added a fourth when Andros Townsend forced Clarke into a late save with the final action of an entertaining game.

Wimbledon: Clarke, Fuller, Meades (Gallagher 74), Robinson, Charles (Nightingale 74), Fitzpatrick (Bulman 67), Parrett (Sweeney 74), Reeves (Whelpdale 67), Taylor (Poleon 67), Beere, Barcham. Subs not used: McDonnell.

Palace: Speroni, Kelly (Binnom-Williams 79), Dann (Wynter 72), Delaney (Croll 67), Fryers (Souare 46), Jedinak (Boateng 72), Puncheon (Mutch 79), Kaikai, Bolasie (Lee 72), Campbell (Ladapo 47), Wickham (Townsend 60). Subs not used: Perntreou, Ward, Berkeley-Agyepong.

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