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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Watford 3-2 Wimbledon
Peter Hawkins (left) tussles with Watford's Neil Ardley
Both sides showed defensive frailties

Allan Nielsen sealed an improbable win for Watford over Wimbledon with a last-gasp goal at Vicarage Road.

The Dons looked to have done enough for a point when defender Wayne Gray slotted home with five minutes remaining.

But Nielsen netted a stunning volley from Tommy Smith's pass two minutes later to seal the points for Ray Lewington's men.

Watford should have opened the scoring after 10 minutes when goalkeeper Kelvin Davis mis-kicked a clearance straight to Smith but he fired wide.

Instead it was the Dons, without a win or a goal so far this season, who broke the deadlock in the 17th minute.

Neil Shipperley played in Adam Nowland and the youngster kept his cool to slide the ball past the advancing Alec Chamberlain.

Close-range effort

The Hornets equalised when Nielsen's throw was inadvertently flicked on by a Wimbledon defender, and Danny Webber was at the far post to head home.

Watford sneaked back in front in the 42nd minute.

This time Neil Ardley was the architect as his cross found the head of Paul Robinson and the defender converted from close range.

After the interval, the home side looked the more likely to score.

Against the run of play, Wimbledon scored through a simple Gray effort and it looked enough for an undeserved point.

But Nielsen smashed home the winner in the 87th minute for the three points.


Watford: Chamberlain, Cox, Dyche, Gayle, Ardley, Nielsen, Glass, Hand, Robinson, Smith, Webber. Subs: Vernazza, McNamee, Doyley, Foley, Lee.

Wimbledon: Davis, Darlington, Willmott, Williams, Hawkins, McAnuff, Francis, Andersen, Agyemang, Shipperley, Nowland. Subs: Heald, Gray, Leigertwood, Tapp, Karlsson.

Referee: S Baines (Derbyshire).

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Watford boss Ray Lewington
"A quick free-kick and we were undone"

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