AFC Wimbledon claimed a point in front of a bumper crowd, but it should have been so much more in a game that came to life second-half and ended 2-2.
Neal Ardley made two changes to the starting line-up on duty at Tranmere Rovers, with Ben Harrison coming in for Jack Smith and, with Dannie Bulman back from suspension, Sammy Moore dropped to the bench, where there was also a place for fit again George Francomb.
Ross Worner was forced into action making a double save from Ricky Holmes after six minutes. Northampton’s back-line proved resolute and hard to break down early on as Harrison and Sean Rigg (pictured) tried to get things moving down the left.
Midway through the first half Joel Byrom received the first yellow card of the afternoon for bringing down Craig Tanner in the centre circle. A furious Bayo Akinfenwa had words with the referee shortly after, having been penalised for a challenge on Zander Diamond.
Craig Tanner’s effort on the half hour found the side netting from distance. The first half ended goalless though, with Worner comfortable at the threat the visitors posed. Oshilaja looked his usual, solid self at centre back for the Dons.
Rigg required a half time fitness check with Jason Moriarty, before the start of the second half. Having come through it, he went on to claim the sponsor’s man-of-the-match after notching his seventh goal of the season.
On 48 minutes, Tanner brought the crowd to life by cutting in from the flank and stinging the palms of Matt Duke in the visitor’s goal, in front of a healthy attendance of 4,667.
The game finally sprung into life on 58 minutes when Rigg was left alone to net from close range past Duke. Dons doubled their lead just two minutes later when sustained pressure paid off and Jake Reeves fired low past Duke. The Northampton ‘keeper remained under-siege when Tanner hit the crossbar.
But shortly after, Northampton were back in it. James Gray lofted his shot from inside the area past Worner. With just over twenty minutes to go the Cobblers levelled from a free-kick as Gray headed in and doubled his and the visitors tally.
Neal Ardley then made the Dons first change switching Francomb for Beere and that was followed up by the referee booking Holmes for a challenge on Barry Fuller. Reeves joined the increasing numbers in the referee’s note book in the 75th minute.
With eight minutes to go Ade Azeez replaced Rigg and with two minutes left Ardley was left kicking the dug out as Francomb’s low cross shot was too easy for Duke to claim. The Dons move on to Dagenham & Redbridge on Monday looking to have learnt a lesson when it comes to protecting a two-goal lead.
AFC Wimbledon: Ross Worner, Barry Fuller (c), Ben Harrison, Dannie, Bulman, Deji Oshilaja, Jake Goodman, Sean Rigg (Ade Azeez), Jake Reeves, Craig Tanner, Bayo Akinfenwa, Tom Beere (George Francomb).