VERDICT: AFC Wimbledon 0 Bury 1
DANNY Mayor’s late, late show provided the perfect hangover cure following a frustrating few weeks for Bury and their manager David Flitcroft.
The Shakers boss believes Mayor’s stoppage-time winner at AFC Wimbledon – their second match back following three consecutive postponements - could well have blown away any remaining cobwebs.
After being pinned back for large periods by a determined Dons side they burst into life in the final 10 minutes to complete a smash and grab victory.
And Flitcroft is confident the dramatic finish, which helped open up a seven-point cushion over the League Two drop zone, will have drawn a line under their enforced mid-season break.
“I think the lads were still suffering a hangover,” he admitted, after going one step further than their 0-0 stalemate at Accrington last Tuesday.
“There was a bit of tiredness there from the lay-off and the heavy training we have been doing, but I am hoping this is the game that has really got it out of our system.”
Former Shaker Danny Hylton was a thorn in their side all afternoon, forcing Brian Jensen into a decent save to keep out his header in the very first minute.
Bury found it difficult to get their passing game going on a dry, bobbly pitch, with Daniel Nardiello flashing their only real chance of a tight first half across goal.
Hylton and co looked to be gaining the upper hand after the break.
Jensen had to be on his toes to block a shot from Hylton at his near post before turning another effort around his far post with a fingertip save.
The on-loan Rotherham striker also headed narrowly over and beat Jensen hands down with a fierce drive on the turn in the 78th minute that flew just wide.
Bury then seized control of the game, thanks mainly to the introduction of midfield veteran Chris Sedgwick and strikers Clive Platt and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
Akpa Akpro could easily have scored a quick-fire hat-trick, blasting over from 10 yards before hitting the crossbar with a shot and then losing control of the ball after running in behind the Dons defence.
It looked like their chance to claim an unlikely victory had gone before Mayor stormed on to a Platt flick-on in the 94th minute and calmly slotted past the onrushing Dons keeper.
While delighted by the impact of his substitutions, Flitcroft dedicated the victory to his defenders following their fifth shut-out in seven matches.
“Jean-Louis stretched them with his pace, so they had to drop (deeper) and that gave us space,” he said.
“They became disorganised and Clive Platt won every ball that came into him, while Sedgy just sat with a calm, cool head and dominated the centre of the pitch.
“So we had three or four chances late on, but you work for that in the other 80 minutes you have had to graft.
“I thought the defence was incredible, they have really stood up to the task.”
WIMBLEDON: Worner; Fuller, Bennett, Darren Jones; Francomb (Sainte-Luce 65), Collins, Morris, Sammy Moore, Fenlon (Pell 46); Wyke (Midson 73), Hylton.
Not used: Arthur, Brown, Luke Moore, Sheringham.
BURY: Jensen 8; Veseli 8, Mills 8, McNulty 8; Jones 8, Miller 7, Tutte 6 (Sedgwick 7 74), Carroll 7; Mayor 7; Nardiello 6 (Akpa Akpro 7 63), Forrester 6 (Platt 7 54).
Not used: Charles-Cook, Hinds, Procter, Nasseri.
Goals: Bury – Mayor 90+4.
Yellow cards: AFC Wimbledon – Moore 13, Hylton 41, Collins 58. Bury – Tutte 34, Veseli 41, Platt 90.
Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire).
Attendance: 3,740 (381 visiting).
Star man: Danny Mayor – The on-loan midfielder was not the best Bury player on the pitch - that honour would have to be shared between goalkeeper Brian Jensen and defensive lynchpin Pablo Mills. But Mayor’s composed injury-time finish could well have a lasting impact on the course of their season. The Sheffield Wednesday winger admitted to be treading water after his late run took him in behind the Dons’ defence, but it didn’t show as he slotted the ball past keeper Ross Worner. It proved decisive in the match, and, as manager David Flitroft hopes, it could well provide the impetus for a late-season push away from danger and possibly even towards the play-offs.