Adebayor Akinfewa pulled AFC Wimbledon back from Steven Gerrard’s opening strike with a first-half effort of his own, but the departing Liverpool skipper helped the Premier League side edge a hard-fought duel in an FA Cup third round on Monday.
Gerrard, one of internationals including Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and Ricky Lambert in Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI, placed the ‘Reds’ in ascendancy, when he met a delightful Javier Manquillo delivery from the right and headed home with precision.
Liverpool dominated the game after the opener, but 5-11, 220lb Nigerian striker Bayo Akinfenwa remained a thorn in their defence, threatening on aerial balls in his bid to steamroll the ‘Dons’ into the game.
Akinfewa finally did in the 36th minute, after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet missed George Francomb’s corner and Mamadou Sakho headed against the crossbar, for him to pounce on the loose ball and steer home an equaliser.
The Cherry Red Records Stadium crowds were almost treated to a lead goal after the break, only for Gerrard to clear Adam Barrett’s header off the line.
Gerrard later broke the Championship club’s heart with a well-taken free-kick from just outside the box into the top corner.
Substitute Ade Azeez almost grabbed a late equaliser but his powerful drive was deflected wide.