STOCKPORT COUNTY 1, AFC WIMBLEDON 0
Stockport County boss Dave Challinor admitted his side enjoyed a lucky break after his newly promoted side chalked up only their second league win of the season.
AFC Wimbledon were screaming for a late penalty after Joe Lewis appeared to wrestle striker Josh Davison to the ground.
“It looked a penalty, and I would have wanted it if it had been for us,” admitted Challinor.
Dons’ manager Johnnie Jackson, who had words with referee Sunny Gill at the end of the game, said: “It was a penalty and one of the most blatant you will see,
“The referee was in a good position, and I cannot understand why he did not give it.”
The points were secured through an 11th minute goal from summer signing Fraser Horsfall.
The centre back, signed on a free transfer from Northampton Town, headed home an Antoni Sarcevic corner at the far post for his first goal for the club.
It followed a period of intense pressure when, in the space of one minute, Sarcevic had a shot well saved by Dons’ Nik Tzanev, a New Zealand international, and Ryan Johnson’s goalbound headed was blocked.
County dominated the opening period and would have been out of sight by half time but for wayward finishing and fine goalkeeping by Tzanev.
Will Collar failed to hit the target with two glorious chances while Tzanev denied Callum Camps and Kyle Wootton.
“The one criticism is that we did not get a second goal and at 1-0 the game is still to be won. At 2-0 you can control it,” explained Challinor.
After gaining promotion from the National League, Challinor added his side is having to get used to winning games again.
Jackson admitted there were “frank discussions” at the break after the Wombles had been completely outplayed.
“We were second best all over the pitch. The first half was uncharacteristic, and we were not recognisable,” he said.
They improved after the restart and Harry Pell would have equalised but for a fabulous save from Vitezslav Jaros, their Czech keeper signed on a season-long loan from Liverpool.
Pell also twice headed wide from good positions as the Dons were far more of a threat.
They were denied an 83rd minute penalty when Joe Lewis appeared to wrestle Dons’ striker Josh Davison to the ground.
County could have added a second goal and sealed victory in the dying seconds with the visitors committed to all-out attack in pursuit of an equaliser.
There was a two-versus-one break but Macauley Southam-Hales, who had Ollie Crankshaw completely free to his left, decided to go solo and his drive was tipped over the bar by Tzanev.