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Saturday, 9 December, 2000, 17:50 GMT
Birmingham 0-3 Wimbledon
Damian Francis
Damian Francis scored twice at Birmingham
Wimbledon's amazing away form continues to dumbfound critics, after a rousing 3-0 victory over Birmingham at St Andrews.

The Blues have not lost at home since their first league game this season, when they crashed to top-of-the-table Fulham.

The Dons achievement was all the more impressive, as they had John Hartson dismissed after 65 minutes.

By the time Hartson was sent-off, the Dons were already two goals ahead and looking comfortable with their midfielders running the show.

First booking

The Londoners took the lead in the match when young midfielder Damian Francis popped up to put them ahead after 30 minutes.

Neal Ardley created the goal with a cross from the right but it was a clean left-footed shot from Francis which beat Birmingham's keeper Ian Bennett.

A couple of minutes later Hartson received his first booking when he appeared to elbow Darren Purse.

The former Arsenal and West Ham player was fortunate to remain on the field and referee Dermot Gallagher appeared to show great leniency over the incident.

Wimbledon prospered as a result just three minutes before half time when Hartson headed the ball down into the path of Jason Euell for his fellow striker to notch the crucial second goal.

Drafted in

Euell very nearly added a third goal a couple of minutes later and it was only a desperate tackle by Purse which prevented the Dons's striker adding to Birmingham's woe.

In the second half Birmingham drafted in David Burrows and Mark Burchill and played with more attacking purpose but still failed to penetrate Wimbledon's solid defence.

After 65 minutes an incident close to the halfway line resulted in Hartson being sent off. He clashed with Burrows and as soon as the referee whistled for the infringement the striker turned on his heel and headed for the dressing room without even speaking to the official.

Despite facing only 10 men Birmingham were still unable to create a breakthrough and were defiantly denied on a couple of occasions by goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.

After 81 minutes, with Birmingham's defence stretched, Francis popped up to score an easy third goal when he converted Per Karlsson's left-wing cross.


Birmingham: Bennett, Edghill, Purse, M. Johnson, Grainger, Eaden, O'Connor, Hughes, Adebola, Horsfield, Lazaridis. Subs: Poole, Burrows, A. Johnson, Burchill, Gill.

Wimbledon: Davis, Roberts, Holloway, Ardley, Hartson, Euell, Andersen, Williams, Francis, Karlsson, Gier. Subs: Feuer, Gayle, Agyemang, Willmott, Owusu.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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