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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 21:19 GMT 22:19 UK
Norwich 3-2 Wimbledon

Norwich held off a late fight-back from 10-man Wimbledon to claim victory in a thrilling match at Carrow Road.

Damien Francis opened the scoring against his old club, and a brace from Mark Rivers put Norwich 3-0 up, before Dean Holdsworth and Mikele Liegertwood hit late consolation goals for the visitors.

The Canaries dominated the early exchanges and after Iwan Roberts had missed the target with a close range header, City took the lead on 10 minutes.

Rivers delivered a cross from the right and the ball fell to ex-Wimbledon midfielder Francis, who turned swiftly to blast the ball home with a left-footed shot from six yards.

With 27 minutes gone, the Canaries doubled their lead.

Gary Holt surged into the penalty area only to be pulled back by Leigertwood and Rivers coolly dispatched the resulting spot-kick for his third goal of the new campaign.

Ten minutes after the restart, Rivers scored his second goal of the evening to seemingly put the result beyond doubt.

McVeigh cleverly released Adam Drury on the left and his excellent cross was nodded in by Rivers from six yards.

Wimbledon desperately tried to salvage something out of the game and Alex Tapp forced Robert Green into a brilliant reflex save as the Norwich goalkeeper tipped his close range effort over the crossbar.

Six minutes from time the Dons' efforts were rewarded when Nigel Reo-Coker released Holdsworth who fired the ball into the top left corner of the net from 20 yards.

A minute later Wimbledon were brought back down to earth though when Peter Hawkins took his protests too far with the referee, who sent off the Dons defender for a second bookable offence.

Deep into stoppage time the visitors were given an unlikely lifeline when Tapp played in Liegertwood, who blasted the ball into the top left corner with his right foot from 25 yards.

But it proved to be no more than a consolation as the full time whistle was blown seconds later.


Norwich: Green, Edworthy, Mackay, Fleming, Drury, Rivers, Francis, Holt, Easton, Roberts, McVeigh. Subs: Crichton, Mulryne, Jarvis, Hammond, Henderson.

Wimbledon: Banks, Gier, Leigertwood, Chorley, Hawkins, Tapp, Reo-Coker, Nowland, Darlington, McAnuff, Agyemang. Subs: Heald, Holloway, McDonald, Holdsworth, Gordon.

Referee: P Prosser (Gloucestershire).





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