Wimbledon dug in for a hard-fought away point at the Globe Arena after Jake Reeves’ first goal for the club had threatened a more substantial return.
A 1-1 draw was probably fair on reflection as Morecambe edged the second-half following a Craig Amond header just before half-time, but there was a sense that this was perhaps a missed opportunity as Wimbledon took complete control in the first half.
However, Wimbledon had to defend resolutely after the break to earn a point at Morecambe that keeps them ticking over and rewarded the 261 Dons fans that made the long trip.
Neal Ardley unsurprisingly selected an unchanged starting 11 after victory against Accrington Stanley last Saturday. Will Nightingale retained his place in defence alongside Deji Oshilaja as the Dons once again put their faith in youth at the back.
Bayo Akinfenwa volleyed wide after just 30 seconds as the Dons made a bright start at the Globe Arena that forced Morecambe onto the back foot. It wasn’t long before Wimbledon’s attacking approach paid off with a well-worked short corner catching Morecambe napping. George Francomb sent over a lovely cross after a lay-off from Sean Rigg and the ball was touched on for Jake Reeves to crack home his first Wimbledon goal.
The Dons refused to rest on their laurels after that 13thminute breakthrough and promising striker Craig Tanner was almost through on goal after half an hour. Latching onto a pass from Rigg, Tanner beat his marker with a lovely turn, but he lost his footing and the chance was gone.
It had been an encouraging first third for the Dons as Morecambe made little impression as an attacking force. Reeves was enjoying arguably his best performance in a Dons shirt so far as he combined effectively with Dannie Bulman to take a grip on the match in midfield. It was noticeable that such commitment to the cause was reflected right throughout the team as Wimbledon won most of the 50/50 battles. Tanner was close to being in again after getting on the end of a flick from Akinfenwa, but he was just foiled by a last ditch tackle.
However, the hosts drew level against the run of play three minutes before the break. Alan Goodall swung over a cross that was headed home by Padraig Amond, a player who had been a thorn in Wimbledon’s side during his time at Accrington Stanley. Apart from that one lapse of concentration it had been an impressive away performance from Wimbledon in the first half.
Morecambe grabbed the initiative after the break as Wimbledon finally had to defend for a sustained spell. It needed fine defending from Barry Fuller to stop Jack Redshaw getting on the end of a cross from Shaun Beeley. The Dons had a chance to break out just after the hour and Reeves had a presentable shooting chance, but his effort was charged down. Nightingale was also required to show more of the admirable defensive qualities that had earned him the man of the match award against Accrington Stanley.
With Wimbledon having failed to repeat the attacking edge that they showed before the break, Neal Ardley made a change halfway through the second half with David Connolly replacing Tanner. The Dons did start to regain some measure of control and a fine move ended with a dangerous cross from Callum Kennedy, but Akinfenwa’s header was straight into the arms of Morecambe goalkeeper Andreas Arestidou.
Tom Beere made a welcome first-team return as a substitute with 14 minutes left, the attacking midfielder aiming to build on his promising early season form when he replaced Rigg. However, the Dons struggled to build any attacking momentum. In a frantic finale, Barry Fuller made a crucial clearance off the line and James Shea was forced to make a save from Andy Fleming in injury time to preserve a point for Wimbledon.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Dannie Bulman, George Francomb, Bayo Akinfenwa (Ade Azeez), Sean Rigg (Tom Beere), Callum Kennedy, Jake Reeves, Will Nightingale, Craig Tanner (David Connolly), Deji Oshilaja.