FULL-TIME: Bristol Rovers 1, AFC Wimbledon 3
AFC Wimbeldon 3
Bristol Rovers 1
BRISTOL Rovers slipped deeper into trouble last night as their three-match unbeaten run was brought to a shuddering halt by a first-half collapse at fellow League Two strugglers AFC Wimbledon.
Having appeared to weather an early storm, injury-hit Rovers shot themselves in the foot on 20 minutes when Garry Kenneth put through his own net before Rashid Yussuff broke clear to beat Neil Etheridge nine minutes later.
17th Edition 8 way fuse boards prevent fires & improve electrical safety. Save £28 on 8 way fuse boards for a limited time only with A & D Electrical.
Terms: Bristol and Bath areas.
Contact: 0117 2448240
Valid until: Monday, May 20 2013
As if to illustrate his shortage of bodies, manager Mark McGhee started with Adam Virgo in attack but it was in defence where they were again exposed before the break when Will Antwi claimed the final touch from a cross which also looked to have caught Kenneth.
Staring defeat in the face, on-loan striker Tom Eaves pulled one back with a superb second-half strike but Tom Parkes collected his second yellow card soon after to kill the comeback.
The game began in frantic, if scrappy, fashion but it was AFC Wimbledon, who began the game three points behind Rovers, that should have taken an early lead.
Jack Midson broke from midfield and his dangerous cross looked to have fallen perfectly for Byron Harrison but the club's record signing failed to finish from just six yards out.
Worryingly for Rovers the warning didn't appear to have been heeded just moments later when another dangerous delivery saw defender Antwi waste an equally fine chance to grab the opener.
Harrison was proving a real danger to the Bristol Rovers defence and only a fine challenge from Garry Kenneth prevented the striker from testing Neil Etheridge, the on-loan Fulham goalkeeper who extended his stay at the club until December pre-match.
The pressure had grown from the first minute and by the 20th it was too much as a cross from Harrison was diverted into his own goal by Kenneth.
At least the goal appeared to spark Rovers into life with Eliot Richards shifting David Clarkson's pass onto his left foot and firing just wide.
The revival was short-lived though as a clipped ball from Midson found Yussuff who slotted the ball under the onrushing Etheridge to double the Dons' lead.
If that was bad worse was to follow as Tom Parkes was booked for clattering into Byron Harrison before Rovers found themselves 3-0 down with only 33 minutes gone.
A cross from Rashid Yussuff look to have escaped everyone before nestling in the corner as Antwi took the plaudits for the home side despite suspicions it could have taken the final touch off the unfortunate Kenneth.
The interval saw Virgo withdrawn for Joe Anyinsah but it was the Dons who threatened again when Yussuff cracked the ball against the post.
Etheridge was forced to produce a fine save from Midson to keep it a three before the AFC Wimbledon striker fired over.
Eaves finally gave something the travelling support something to shout about after a superb left-footed strike flew past Seb Brown and into the top corner on 73 minutes, but the fight-back was ended when Parkes collected a second yellow for a foul on Midson ten minutes later.