Southend United 0-1 AFC Wimbledon
It must be something to do with the sea air.
AFC won by the same score as they did last year at Roots Hall. They scored in almost the same minute as 2013 – and again it was dead ball that did the trick.
Ade Akinfenwa got a Southend boot in his face, and from the resulting free-kick George Francomb sent the ball over the wall and into the far corner.
In fact, it was a hat-trick of wins for Dons at Southend following Jack Midson's winning penalty last season.
They won 3-1 the campaign before last, but keeper James Shea was as much as a hero as Francomb with a pair of top drawer saves that saw AFC rocket up the league with three games gone.
Early on, Myles Weston skewed wide for the hosts after only a couple of minutes when it was easier to score.
But Southend keeper Dan Bentley was called into action soon after when he two-fisted a pile-driver from Francomb around the post.
Two-way action resumed with a Connor Clifford that had Shea scrambling to his left to gratefully see the ball shave his far stick.
The moment of the match so far arrived on 21 minutes when a magnificent drag back from Weston left him space to fire from 15 yards only to bring a terrific stop from the Dons keeper.
Shea got lucky again when a diagonal pass picked out Shaquille Coulthirst only to see the teenager slash a shot wide on the left with more time than he thought.
Bolger had a header from a corner blocked on the line, but as frenetic as the first half hour the next 15 minutes was drably devoid of goal action.
Francomb took out Clifford to earn a yellow minutes into the second period.
But joy was unconfined when Sean Rigg’s touch from the free-kick to Francomb curled over the wall and into the far corner just shy of the hour with the keeper rooted.
Dannie Bulman flashed a shot from distance as AFC stepped on the gas, but Shea’s point blank save from sub Lee Barnard’s header was bettered seconds later by Barry Fuller’s toe off the line – and there couldn’t have been more than an inch in it.
There wasn’t even that when Ryan Leonard’s free-kick slammed the bar and over, but the Essex Riviera holds magical properties for Dons and their 542 fans who made the trip.
Dons: Shea, Buller, Barrett, Bennett, Kennedy; Francomb (Pell 68), Moore, Bulman, Rigg; Akinfenwa (Azeez 82), Tubbs (Saint-Luce 68); subs not used: Worner, Phillips, Nicholson, Beere