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Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Wimbledon 3-1 Birmingham
Mark Williams
Williams scored a great header

Goals from David Nielsen, Michael Hughes and Mark Williams inspired the Dons to a win over the Blues.

Danish striker Nielsen won a host of new admirers with a spectacular goal on his home debut for Wimbledon.

Then, to add to his growing fan club, he produced the best goal celebration seen at Selhurst Park this season with a dramatic somersault.

Nielsen's opener gave the Dons an early advantage before an inspired substitution by manager Terry Burton brought Northern Ireland winger Michael Hughes into the fray to wrap up the points.

It is hard to know who will be the most delighted at the turn of events as Nielsen is anxious to make a quick impression after his deadline week move from FC Copenhagen while Hughes, who scored one goal and made another, is only a month into his comeback after a year out of the game with a broken leg.

Dons, now unbeaten in nine games continue to close in on a First Division play-off spot. Two more home games in the coming week could confirm that.

Birmingham, on the other hand, are suffering a crisis of confidence with no win now in six games, though they should still qualify for the play-offs.

The combative Nielsen, who was later booked following a scuffle with Michael Johnson, gave Dons a 15th minute lead with a goal right out of their route one past. He raced onto a clearance from goalkeeper Kelvin Davis to flash a low shot past Ian Bennett's right hand.

Birmingham briefly threatened when Dele Adebola came on as an early substitute, but he lasted only 15 minutes when he was clearly short of full match fitness and had to be replaced.

Hughes scored the second Wimbledon goal, his first of the season, with a curling free-kick that crept in off a post after 71 minutes.

Four minutes later he took another free-kick that gave Mark Williams a clear header for the third goal.

The game was all but over long before Marcelo scored a consolation for Birmingham with four minutes remaining.

Wimbledon: Davis, Cunningham, Williams, Holloway, Hawkins, Cooper, Andersen, Roberts, Ardley, Nielsen, Agyemang. Subs: Kimble, Heald, Hughes, Gray, Gier.

Birmingham: Bennett, Eaden, Grainger, Holdsworth, Michael Johnson, Hughes, Lazaridis, Gill, Woodhouse, Andrew Johnson, Marcelo. Subs: Burrows, Horsfield, Poole, Bass, Adebola.

Referee: S Tomlin (Lewes)

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