An uncharacteristic mistake by Aaron Howe handed AFC Wimbledon an initiative which they never relinquished as Hayes & Yeading United went down 2-0 away to the Conference South leaders, writes Scott Newman.
On Tuesday the keeper, who has impressed this season most notably against Bognor Regis just two weeks ago, spilled a catch even easier than that which England's David James coughed up against Spain 24 hours later, but unlike James, Howe did not get away with it as it left the prolific Jon Main with one of the easiest goals he will ever score.
Until that 14th minute United were the better side, certainly in terms of possession although the only time they troubled their hosts was when they broke from a corner and Scott Fitzgerald went almost the length of the pitch before firing a yard wide. The hard working striker, a shock starter after nine weeks out with a dislocated shoulder, almost forced a mistake out of home keeper James Pullen when he charged down a clearance but the ball rebounded harmlessly wide.
The rest of the half was almost entirely forgettable as United failed to threaten and the Dons only did so from set pieces, one of which led to their second goal.
Josh Scott set in motion the chain of events when he reacted late to Tom Cadmore's call for a header and when he ducked out of it Cadmore's lunge brought down Chris Hussey near the corner flag.
United seemed to have cleared another excellent ball whipped in with pace until Steve Perkins, standing in for the injured Matt Ruby, spun around and punched it clear to concede a penalty that was as needless as the one he gave away against Chelmsford in the FA Trophy.
Main converted from the spot and Wimbledon, having done little to deserve a 2-0 lead, almost added a third early in the second half when another slice of luck went their way. The ball somehow ricocheted through to put Danny Kedwell on goal but Howe displayed excellent reactions to claw his shot away.
The hosts were content to sit back and work hard to shut down space and but for Scott's thunderous free kick United were going down with a whimper until Garry Haylock switched to 3-4-3.
Scott showed good strength to hold off two challenges and play in Omari Coleman but he fired against Pullen's legs. What United would have given for those roles to be reversed. Instead Wimbledon looked more likely to score on the break and Main was not far away from his hat-trick with a stab at the near post.
The Middlesex Senior Cup Quarter-final between Harefield United and AFC Hayes was again postponed due to a water-logged Preston Park pitch, as was North-wood's Middlesex Charity Cup clash with North Greenford both last Tuesday and when they tried to reschedule two days later.