Wimbledon 1 Derby County 0

Last updated : 09 May 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Wimbledon said farewell to the first division on a high against Derby providing ample evidence that they can bounce back next season.

"It showed people we are not dead and buried," said manager Stuart Murdoch, who emerged from the post-match press conference fresh from some old Crazy Gang-style shenanigans.

He and the team had just thrown kit-man Chris Perry into a skip.

"The old Wimbledon spirit is still there and we're not going to go out with a whimper," he added.

Derby could have done with some of that spirit. They were abysmal.

Without some fine goalkeeping by Lee Grant in the second half the margin of defeat could easily have been three or four.

And up front the Rams' three-pronged attack lacked any real edge.

Only the tireless Paul Peschisolido showed any real purpose. His Brazilian strike partner Junior was full of tricks and flicks but nothing of any substance.

All in all Derby did not nothing to bolster George Burley's hopes that they can challenge for promotion next season.

Wimbledon's talented wingers Jermaine Darlington and Malvin Kamara switched flanks to give ageing fullback Jeff Kenna a torrid time down the right.

And Darlington made and scored the only goal in the 25th minute after carrying the ball from the halfway line.

He slipped it to Wade Small on the right before popping up in the box to slot home the return pass from six yards.

Burley admitted his team had been second best and was just pleased to see the end of the season where Derby have flirted with relegation throughout.

"From the first game onwards it's been a battle to stay in this League," admitted the Derby boss.

"We've got the nucleus of a decent squad but I'll need to strengthen it in the summer if we are going to mount a proper challenge next season." Murdoch meanwhile promised that the Dons would be back. "There is no way this club is going to sink down the divisions," he added.