AFC Wimbledon climbed off the canvas and out of League One’s bottom four thanks to a memorable comeback win at Charlton.
Dominic Poleon’s stunning leveller and Tyrone Barnett’s bullet header, his first for the club turned the game upside down in the final quarter of an hour after Dons had trailed to Ademola Lookman’s early strike for the Addicks.
Here are five reflections on a first away win for Dons at this level.
George Francomb’s latest injury woes ironically prove turning point
The luckless midfielder, just back from 18 weeks out with knee ligament trouble was stretchered off with a facial injury just before the midway point of the second half – this after getting a kick from teammate Darius Charles as both attempted a clearance.
His departure led to the gamble of introducing a third striker in Tom Elliott shortly followed by a fourth in Barnett. The extra physicality this gave the Dons brought a decisive change in momentum and three massive points.
James Shea reinstated
Just a fortnight after a staunch defence of summer arrival Ryan Clarke, boss Neal Ardley axed him in favour of former No 1 keeper James Shea in a bid to shore up a defence which has struggled thus far in League One.
It proved an inspired swap as though unsighted for the Charlton goal, the former Arsenal youngster produced a string of excellent saves to keep Dons’ hopes afloat before the late turnaround.
The value of four strikers
Boss Ardley opted to restore Lyle Taylor to the starting line-up as a loan striker with in-form Dominic Poleon employed out wide as part of a midfield five.
The experiment though failed until the introduction of Tom Elliott and Tyrone Barnett inside the last half hour.
The presence of the big boys created the space for Poleon to add to his recent goal-scoring spree before Barnett broke his duck for the Dons to seal the points with as good a target-man’s header as you will see.
Mixed homecoming for Barry Fuller
Back at the club where he was a junior, Fuller, a leader and warrior in last year’s promotion run will have nightmares about Charlton’s opener.
Too far off Ademola Lookman to begin with the Dons’ skipper then allowed the winger to cut inside to score.
However, he found redemption with a dream of a cross to set up Barnett’s late winner.
Dons fans see faith rewarded
There were 1,714 Wombles’ supporters at The Valley who out-sung the home faithful even during what at times was a torrid first hour.
No doubt some more tough days lie ahead for Ardley and his men at this level, but on this evidence they can count on the unstinting backing of some of the most loyal fans around.